Love Art in Calgary Tour: We Visit Harry Kiyooka and Katie Ohe

To try to adequately write about my experience yesterday, attending the Kiyooka Ohe Arts Centre, will be a challenge.  I think that I was engaged at a very personal level to this experience and so these few posts will be informative, but with a smattering of heart felt connection.  What the heck!  My readers know me and my obsession with issues of identity, memory and sustainability.  You will understand.

The ‘getting there’.  Wendy Lees has opened up so many opportunities for Calgarians through her offer of Love Art in Calgary tours.  I highly recommend them.  She is inspiring, connected and driven in this venture and I’ve become more aware and more linked in to my arts community because of these experiences.

P1140192We gathered at Wolf Willow Studio, where the air is filled with the rich smells of evergreen. Presently, the studio is home to Michelena Bamford‘s Rocky Mountain Wreaths where, on December 8, my readers are invited to take in a marvelous day of creative wonder.  Michelena, a profoundly inspiring mosaic artist provided that sort of comfortable space where we could gather and connect, in preparation for the car pool to our art experience.

P1140185 P1140187 P1140194Thanks, Bill, for driving.  I shared the road with Conrad, Doreen and Suzanne.  It’s always fun to connect with new people and it was especially interesting to learn from Doreen that they had hosted Lawrence Hill, near the onset of his writing career.  Lawrence had shared a narrative at his One Book/One Calgary launch about a Calgary couple that he treasured deeply for their long friendship and somehow I ended up sandwiched between them on our ride out to KO Arts Centre.  God has a way of pulling the pieces of our lives together.

I am ending this first post with some photographs.  Upon arrival, we stepped out into a warm bright day, facing a vast expanse of mountains on the horizon…tall stands of trees…stunning architecture and a sense of anticipation.  The twenty acres that is dedicated to be the KO Arts Centre was charged with magic.  A feature article, as an introduction, can be found in the Calgary Journal here, Giving it All Away.  Please scroll down to the video.

Air. Breath. Expanse. Beauty. Anticipation. Mentorship. Generosity of Heart. Opening.

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Changing the Landscape, One Bag at a Time: Meeting Erin

Erin, of the City of Calgary, came to my place on Wednesday and dropped off some supplies, as well as officially registered me as crew leader for my volunteer position at Frank’s Flats.  I will be receiving support now, from the city, where the maintenance of this park land is concerned.  Since the city crew came out, I’ve been able to keep the park in good shape, one bag full of litter every single day.  It will never be pristine, given the public’s casual disregard for the environment, but at the very least, I am able to keep most of the garbage from making its way to the pond.  One area I am unable to maintain edges on the slope from the sports fields and Bishop O’Byrne high school.  There are huge ant’s nests in that section and I’m sporting bites again after trying to pick litter in that area.  I told Erin that I’m unable to go in there, even with my rubber boots on.

P1100961A few words to the wind…

“To those of you who play football and soccer on the fields and those of you who are spectators:  you need to learn that there is a consequence for the world when you pitch your plastic slurpee cups and straws and your Tim Horton’s latte cups down onto the ground.  What do you suppose is happening with those?  Do you even think?  This has been a week of Lucky Beer at the pond.  Tin cans have been pitched the entire perimeter.  But don’t fret guys…I’ve got your backs!  I wish that you might observe the animal and bird life that makes its home in this very same environment.  I wish you could see the number of different species that depend on this particular wetlands area.  When you look into my eyes as you walk past me, do not look at me as though I am a marginalized person.  Know that I am educated.  Know that I am a steward.  Know that my mission is NOT hopeless, but hopeful.

To those parents who have tail gate parties on the south end of South Fish Creek Recreational Center, while your kids are playing games and practicing inside, please walk the twenty meters to the garbage dispenser to ditch your chip bags, your Tim Horton’s coffee cups and your beer cans.

To those dog owners who run to your car with your dog when I ask if you will pick up your own dog poop, why not walk down the hill instead, to pick up?

If you wish to join me in this mission,  please take a small container when you go for your walk and stoop down to pick up the plastics and packaging that you find along the way, even if it is just a small bit, it will make a difference.  Find a place in your own neighbourhood and become a steward of that place.  Make it your own.”

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The Gyre

gyre [dʒaɪə] Chiefly literary

n

1. a circular or spiral movement or path
2. a ring, circle, or spiral

vb

(intr)to whirl

[from Latin gȳrus circle, from Greek guros]
I went back to the location where, for three months or more, I picked up a bag of trash a day; mostly plastics and fast food containers.  While drinking my coffee this morning, I spent time watching a couple of TED talks.  They got me wondering about the landscape that I had tended.

After listening to the artist, Dianna Cohen, I then moved on to Capt. Charles Moore.  By the time I had finished these two films, I became determined to make a conscientious effort to minimize my consumption of plastic even though the globe is deeply entrenched in its production, use and thoughtless discard.

Unfortunately, when I went back to Frank’s Flats, an idyllic place for many ecosystems and a harbour for waterfowl, I found so much plastic and waste that it brought me to tears.  I just find our community so detached from its actions.  I don’t really know what steps I can take to contribute to a change.  I pick up one bag of garbage every time I visit this special location.  It is a piece of land that I hold dear.