By Trevor Busch
A chance for regional artists to strut their proverbial stuff, the Taber Area Artists Get Inspired Art Show will be adding some cultural enhancement to the community on June 11.
“It’s just something that we’re putting on to get the community inspired to do arts,” said co-organizer Kevin O’Grady.“We have a lot of talent in town, but the only thing is, nobody really knows who to connect with, so here’s a chance. I’m the one that’s actually spearheading this, trying to get something going for the arts.”
Hosted at the Taber Legion Hall on Saturday, set-up for the event commences at 10 a.m., followed by the Visual Arts Show at 11 a.m., an open mic portion from 1-5 p.m. and a meet and greet/take-down from 5:30-6:30 p.m.
The event is free to enter for participants and also features free admission for patrons.The all-ages event is open to any art genre, including music and performing arts, but must be appropriate for a public event.
“You have to remember it is a public place, so it has to be publicly acceptable,” said O’Grady. “We’ll have all the visual arts — painting, drawing, photography, sculpture. We’re also looking at the music side of it. If it’s really nice, we want to have music outside on the grass.”
O’Grady feels there is a lack of co-ordination between area arts groups that could benefit from forging closer inter-relationships.
“I’m hoping to get a good draw from the kids at the schools. I’m hoping to get some of the teachers involved as well. I’ve talked to a few places around town, and that’s what they find — there’s a lack of co-ordination for something for the arts. This is the first art show the town’s having in I don’t know how many years.”
More than just an arts show, O’Grady indicated the event is intended to serve as an informational platform for various individuals and groups in an effort to generate enhanced interest in the arts among Taber-area residents.
“I don’t want to re-create what’s already in town, I just want to give the artists in town a chance to show their stuff for free, and free to get in — but at the same time, contact information, so people know who to contact, when you’re having your meetings.”
There will be no restrictions or guidelines on the sale of artwork for participants.The open mic portion of the day will be open to virtually anyone, for anything — including poetry readings, playing an instrument, or vocalists — rather than just bands or musical groups.
“It’s not about how good of an artist you are, it’s that chance to come out and do it. Somebody who wants to get a little experience playing their instrument in public — this is the chance to do it. Open mic, just come on in and just play. Artists that want to try selling their work, like a photographer, so if somebody wants to buy it, they can. If everybody put four or five pieces in there, we could have quite an art show in town,” said O’Grady.
Growing up in Montreal, O’Grady indicated there was more opportunity to be exposed to many facets of the arts in Eastern Canada than he has experienced in rural Alberta.
“I grew up with that advantage. I come out here, and I see nobody really knows about it. We do have some students that will go on to the University of Lethbridge to take some art classes, or music, but that’s the thing, they have to go away, there’s nothing here for them. If we could get something going in town, it’s a chance to get some interest generated.”
Without a strong arts and culture community to build a foundation, O’Grady questioned plans to construct a new performing arts theatre in the community in future without the development of a more vibrant arts scene for Taber.
“They want to build this new theatre. Well, if you want a build a theatre, you have to get the arts involved, unless what’s the point of building a theatre? You want to have shows, you want to do stuff. The town has to first start thinking arts. We have so much talent here, it would be great to see us promoting some of the stuff that we do have, and let people realize, hey I’m not alone here.”
O’Grady wants a cross-section of all ages to participate in the event in order to foster a more wide-ranging appreciation for local artists and their work.
“The schools, quite a few are interested in putting in some stuff, and the kids are interested. I’d like to get more adults to show some of their stuff, the little bit more experienced artists to come in and get involved, so that way they’re encouraging the younger ones to pursue their art. Even seniors — you’d be surprised how many seniors are into painting.”
Interested artists can visit the event’s Facebook page, Taber Area Artists Get Inspired, or contact O’Grady at 403-223-8766 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, while interested musicians can contact “Bossman” Topilko at 403-634-5584.