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St. Albert 2023 Culture Days focuses on diversity

Culture Days features many arts and crafts from the literary, musical and dance to the visual, culinary and horticultural

The 2023 Alberta Culture Days celebration taking place September 22 to 24 in St. Albert is dedicated to expanding cultural diversity and celebrating the community’s rich tapestry of customs. 

St. Albert Cultivates the Arts Society, the festival’s organizing body, has planned more than 15 free family participatory events. They include African dance classes; Inuit cultural games; origami, the Japanese art of paper folding; Korean Hanji art class, fashioning mosaics, ukulele workshops and a photography walk to name a few. 

This year, horticulture and culinary arts are included. Afro-Jamaican author Marilyn McGreer tells stories about the foods she was raised with and the recipes that inspired her cookbook. Instead, Charlie Schroder, a long-time St. Albert horticulturalist passionate about increasing a garden’s productivity, will host two urban gardening workshops. 

“I know people tend to think of culture as made up of dance, music and theatre. But Charlie’s gardening practices are all part of humanistic culture and in a broad sense we’re presenting it as a cultural activity,” said Doug Campbell, chair for St. Albert Cultivates the Arts Society. 

St. Albert’s African Descendants kick-start the cultural festival by teaching an energetic African dance open to both children and adults on Sept. 22. Also on Friday, Jeanien Bell takes a step back in time telling Inuit stories and legends while showcasing different cultural artifacts and tools. 

One of Saturday’s big highlights brings out all the guilds — painters, potters, paper arts, floral arts and quilters. They will be showcasing art and giving demonstrations in St. Albert Place Lobby. Local sculptor Thomas Fenton offers two sessions of folding origami. Participants who try their hand can choose five designs of varying complexity. 

A multi-disciplined artist, Fenton also offers a Sunday workshop as a TED talk on how to convert artwork into a 3D piece. Registration for Transform your artistic vision into a 3D reality as art of the future, is offered through Eventbrite. 

“He’s transforming an artistic vision into a 3-D reality. He’s going to bring a 3-D printer to showcase how the technology works,” Campbell said. “On the one hand, he teaches the art of origami and on the other hand he teaches you how to take a bird and make it into a 3-D version.” 

Eunju Park, a South Korean ex-pat now living in St. Albert, is currently featuring her Hanji Art at Art Gallery of St. Albert. Park will offer a workshop of Hanji Art, a traditional handmade paper art produced from mulberry trees. The workshop is offered on Monday at the gallery. 

Gary Glewinski and Kyle Swenson, return on Saturday with their ever-popular ukulele workshops. Also on Saturday, mosaic artist Carol Donald presents a workshop where students will learn to lay down a basic mosaic pattern and fashion a trivet at St. Albert Place Multi-Craft Studio. 

Campbell added the government of Alberta provided a $10,000 grant while the City of St. Albert offered a $4,000 grant plus expertise to cover festival costs. 

“St. Albert is a very diverse community and through events like this we can explore different cultures such as African dance and Inuit stories and games. It’s also an opportunity to discover new hobbies through different workshops and guild displays. People can get engaged with presenters. This is a great opportunity to test the waters on a new cultural experience. Some of these sessions will fill up quickly, so I’d recommend registering quickly.”

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Anna Borowiecki

About the Author: Anna Borowiecki

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