Northwest Calgary Art Tour
August 25, 2022 by University District
Community art is so much more than an aesthetic enhancement to our neighbourhoods. Art evokes emotion, stimulates dialogue and gives people a reason to hit pause on life. Northwest Calgary is home to a number of public art features and murals. Let’s take a closer look at a few of them.
University District already has some unique art installations throughout the community. We’ve compiled a list of five community art installations that are worth a visit, including a sneak-peek at what’s to come!
Stop One – The Argyle Installation
The first installation worth checking out is the #EverythingArgyle exhibit. This series of custom, interactive backdrops provides the perfect spot for you to fill your Instagram feed with bright colours and bold designs. If Instagram isn’t your thing, you can capture some great memories with friends, family members or even your pets to look back on for years to come.
Local artists Cory Bugen, Sarah Lamoureux, and Vince Lau created the installation, bringing the sidewalk along the construction zone to life. The #EverythingArgyle exhibit located along 39th St NW & University Ave NW was developed by Homes by Avi and University District in conjunction with Park Productions.
We asked these local artists what inspired their design choices for the backdrops.
Cory and Sarah said, “We’re constantly inspired by the weird side of history, odd things about our province that kind of make you go “huh?”, with dinosaurs and UFO sightings being two of our favourites. Being home means embracing the good and strange parts of where we live, which was the inspiration for this project, standing in the shadow of an Albertosaurus, licking a giant ice cream, or heading to infinity on a bistro set.”
Vince told us, “My inspiration came from my muse, Pixel my dog, who loves to go to the University District’s dog park, where he enjoys making new friends and fetching balls. Recently, I have been into illustrating all kinds of pets, and I thought this project would be a perfect fit.”
During this limited-time exhibition, a weekly contest by Homes by Avi is running on Instagram. Contests will include and highlight local University District retailers. You’re invited to visit and pose with these beautiful backdrops, tag @homesbyaviyyc and use hashtag #EverythingArgyle for a chance to win (limited time only). For more information, visit their website here.
Stop Two – Mindful and Vibrant
If you’ve driven down University Avenue in the last year, you’ve probably seen the 32 foot-long Mindful Vibrant Mural at the base of the future home of Alt Hotel. This unique piece was developed by another local artist, Rhys Douglas Farrell. While simple in nature, the piece was actually painted by the community, as an interactive paint-by-number project completed in Summer 2021. Allowing residents and visitors to pick up a paint brush was a great way to engage the community and encourage them to have some fun. This piece was designed to be bold and spark positivity, using colours and powerful words that reflect the essence of U/D.
Says Farrell, “Using the words ‘mindful’ and ‘vibrant’ communicates to the viewer that the world is moving forward. The purpose of this piece is to brighten and highlight this new area while still being mindful of each other’s personal space and comfort.”
This exhibit also makes the perfect stop to fuel up! University Avenue is home to Monogram Coffee, The Canadian Brewhouse, Freshii, and many more restaurants and eateries.
Stop Three – Studio Luma
Art doesn’t need to be in a gallery to be a beautiful addition to a space or community. Studio Luma is creating a playful and alive experience, with a concrete jungle theme where nature emerges through traditional and digital art. The whole concept is based on “passion for people to feel connected by animating nature and its beauty; giving the land a voice.” This installation will take people on a journey from the parkade, into the elevators and then spill out into Central Commons Park with an immersive experience. Stay tuned for details on this exciting mixed media piece and an opening date later this fall.
Stop Four – Nickle Galleries
A short walk from University Avenue you will find the University of Calgary’s Nickle Galleries.
Founded in 1979, this institution in fine arts has been home to more than 739 exhibits. If you plan on stopping by before September 10, you can expect to see an exhibit called, There’s Nothing Strange Here. Presented by the 2022 University of Calgary Master of Fine Arts graduates, visitors will enjoy everything from oil and acrylic painting to digitally immersive experiences.
Stop Five – ‘Roger That’ Community Installation
Completed in 2017, this City of Calgary Installation was developed to be enjoyed by pedestrians, cyclists and drivers who pass the Tuscany LRT station. Its striking height can be enjoyed at all hours of the day thanks to glowing lights that emerge off the sculpture after dusk. No matter which angle you view the piece from, visitors will always be able to see something new.
Even More Art to Love
We know U/D residents and neighbours love their dogs. What better way to capture this than a Dogs of U/D Mural! At this year’s Tails & Treasures event (which is all about dogs), local chalk artist Rozzie Lee joined us for an interactive art experience. She captured local pooches throughout the event and has been working hard to create a custom art piece that will be showcased in U/D . Keep your eyes peeled on our social media channels to see when and where it will pop up! Below is a preview of some of the furry friends who will be featured.
Rozzie also joined us at the University District Night Market in July. Visitors of all ages dropped by the Discovery Centre to add some colour to the walkways with beautiful chalk illustrations, reflecting favourite summertime activities. While these beautiful creations have slowly disappeared with time, you can always expect us to have something new up our sleeves when it comes to bringing art to the northwest corner of the city.
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