Saying goodbye is always tough, but if everyone involved throws a big party, it becomes a celebratory event that closes doors to the past and opens windows to the future.
Such is Former Neighbours, a visual arts exhibit that Arts Habitat Edmonton is mounting in conjunction with The Works Art and Design Festival from June 28 to 30.
For about the past 15 years, ArtsHab has functioned as a non-profit collective that sublets suites to visual artists and provides working space.
Not only has this collective nurtured many artists’ creative visions, but it also provided entrepreneurial know-how to help artists market their products.
Unfortunately for the group, the lease agreement is up and has not been renewed. The collective is singing its last hurrah with Former Neighbours, a three-day event of gallery showings and a ball.
“We’ve known about it for some time. It’s not something new. But there is still a kind of sadness around the space. People have accepted it’s time to move on and look for new chapters in life,” said longtime ArtsHab resident Jeff Collins.
Saturday and Sunday, about 20 exhibitors will display their work from noon to 6 p.m. And on Monday, the celebrations conclude with the infamous Sweaty Ball starting at 8 p.m.
“We usually have it before Canada Day and it’s usually very hot. Over the years it morphed from a hot show to a sweaty show,” Collins said.
Each artist will display up to three pieces in a variety of media from acrylics, oil paints and photo prints to woodcuts and functional ceramic pieces.
Collins describes the visual art as eclectic and current. The styles range from abstract and stream-of-consciousness thought to the more classically rendered.
“The artists are very independent. A lot of the artists don’t have commercial gallery exposure. Some of the work is very experimental. The artists are not necessarily looking for acceptance.”
St. Albert resident Tessa Nunn is exhibiting three figurative paintings.
“They are very layered with meaning. There are lots of levels they can be read at and they’re quite well rendered.”
In contrast, experimental artist Lynn Maylin’s abstract landscapes are painted on Mylar.
“It’s almost an aerial perspective painted with unnatural colours.”
Harold Pierce, former dean of the Nova Scotia Art and Design College, is adding his flair along with Tim Rechner, a stream-of-consciousness abstract artist that throws down colour on his canvas.
“Randall Stout, the architect for the Edmonton Art Gallery purchased one of Tim’s paintings and took it back to Los Angeles.”
For art lovers who appreciate being part of the current trends and enjoy edgy creativity, this show delivers a high calibre vocabulary of art.
“If you want to see some of the best art being created now in Edmonton, then this is where it is. And at the Sweaty Ball, you’ll meet artists and musicians.”
Arts Habitat Edmonton
10217 – 106 St.
No cover charge