Alberta College of Art and Design (ACAD) may not have any sports teams to cheer for, but they do offer plenty of opportunities for students to support one another.
The school hosts free gallery openings and shows on a weekly to bi-weekly basis, and First Thursday is one of the institute’s many regularly scheduled community-building events.
Second-year ACAD student Hannah Petkau said that one of the main benefits of events such as First Thursday is, “being able to see what everyone in the ACAD community is doing in their studio, in a gallery setting.”
First Thursday, as one would guess, happens on the first Thursday of every month.
It usually means a gallery’s first showing, and is the only time that the curator will be present.
“It’s not only at ACAD, its everywhere in Calgary,” explained painting major Jane Christensen.
Calgary’s Culture District calls First Thursday a “culture crawl,” with opportunities for Calgarians to experience a variety of art, music, theatre and food in the downtown area.
Admission to events is usually free or discounted, and a variety of businesses participate including Original Joes, Art Central, and The Palomino.
While fantastic opportunities to experience arts and culture may exist downtown, some of the best ones may be available right in the classroom.
ACAD has become known for the Illingworth Kerr Gallery, a nationally-recognized exhibition space and cultural institution.
Work that has been shown at the IKG has gone on to the Venice Biennale and the Museum of Modern Art in New York, according to ACAD’s website.
“They bring artists from across Canada, and I think even sometimes international artists,” Petkau said.
ACAD is the perfect place to support a local institution while cultivating a love of the arts.
Even someone suffering from a severe lack of arts appreciation can find a soft spot for First Thursdays.
“After every class on Thursday, all of us make sure we go to the gallery just so we can get free food,” Christensen joked.
No matter what the motivation is, art lovers can get a dose of Calgary culture right from the source on the first Thursday of every month.
Check out Calgary Culture’s website for more information on where to participate in First Thursday.