Hearts of the New West a new beat for Calgary art

The Hearts of the New West biennial arts exhibit, running until Sept. 29 at local Calgary galleries, reflects the city’s emerging contemporary arts scene.

Calgarians can see the exhibit at Haight Gallery, 809 Exhibition Space, Avalanche! Institute of Contemporary Art, The Contemporary Art Gallery of Calgary, and the online #000000 Gallery.

“Calgary’s contemporary art scene is growing rapidly,” said Steven Cottingham, recent Alberta College of Art and Design (ACAD) graduate and Hearts of the New West curator.

“We have a young, malleable scene that has not yet cemented itself into any one shape,” he said, “I think that’s so exciting, the power of all that potential.”

Featured artist Teresa Tam said Hearts of the New West shows a new movement in the arts scene – especially with an online gallery, where her work “Nowhere is here – except for home” is showcased.

“It’s good someone is recognizing the internet is a space where artists are going to display their work,” said Tam, an ACAD Media Arts and Digital Technologies student.

“I hope it helped in letting the rest of the art community know a different mentality is coming up.”

Galleries hosting Hearts of the New West reflect the do-it-yourself trend in Calgary’s art scene, said Nate McLeod, Programming Director of Avalanche! Institute of Contemporary Art.

“It’s a very hard working community that’s completely willing to do everything on their own,” said McLeod.

“Whether it means starting a small gallery space or your own studio – it’s just getting the ball rolling. And this sort of enthusiasm just seems to continue to grow.”

McLeod also commented on Calgary’s first “Nuit Blanche,” an international late-night contemporary arts show, held Sept. 15 in Olympic Plaza.

There were five interactive art pieces including a carousel made of recycled crowd barriers and shopping carts, and a cloud structure with 5,000 light bulbs.

“These kinds of events are really useful in getting the public to see this kind of work, and interested in the art community,” he said.

Expect to see Hearts of the New West again in 2014. For more information about the exhibit, visit http://calgarybiennial.com.

About Casey Knoll 8 Articles
As a writing and communications major in the journalism program at SAIT, Casey Knoll worked as a reporter for The Press during the 2012-2013 academic year.