Performance Art Exhibit: Opening Day

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As we near the end of our semester, all four creative cluster teams finalized and installed their citizen experiments on March 23rd in the Create Space area, located in the library. During our lab sessions, many ideas were generated on how we can utilize the space, and it led to the concept of our living timeline design.

It was a challenging task to transport our 96” long x 42” wide board to the Create Space area, but once it was placed on the library tabletops, our team worked with ease. The process of writing Calgary’s performance arts history on our timeline, in addition to our own memories, was enjoyable and we aspire the same warmth from our guests. Our focus is to encourage high engagement with our visitors, and to provoke the perception around performance arts. It was a process filled with pressure and worry, but our outcome is nothing short of magnificent.

Film and Music Exhibit: Opening Day

Through weeks of design, testing and experimenting, the Film and Music group is proud to announce that our experiment installation is now open for public interaction in the Create Space at Calgary’s Central Library. On display from March 23rd to March 27th, our exhibit fosters a creative experience in which participants are encouraged to discover the role music plays within film. Whilst putting on a pair of headphones and listening to the soundtrack provided, individuals are presented the opportunity to draw and create a movie scene or poster that they feel is best represented by the music. After completion, artwork is then to be displayed on a nearby poster board for others to see. This enables a unique experience to discover the differences in what others created while listening to the same audio.    

Upon opening at around 11am on March 23rd, our team took the opportunity to observe initial responses from participants. To our delight, within minutes of opening, everyone from children to adults were actively immersed in the Film and Music exhibit. Over the next few days, our group expects a continuing trend of individuals to enjoy the creative experience.

Although the current stage of our project did not come without its fair share of complications along the way, it was a collaboration effort from the Civic Innovation team leaders, mentors, and community partners that assisted and guided our group to make this happen. Thus far, it has been a phenomenal learning experience that will certainly be looked back upon in the future.

The Literary Arts Exhibit: Opening Day

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This sunny Saturday morning, you would have walked by the Create Space at the new Central Library downtown to discover a hive of activity. Student teams bright eyed and excited yet feeling the pressure of assembling finishing touches to perfect their exhibits. Last minute pivots were made and the literary team pulled through the stressful setup to create an interactive exhibit we all could feel proud of. As the library became more and more alive with curious patrons surrounding the exhibit space, an exciting realization of how large the scope of impact we could have on people dawned on us. We have excellent expectations for how our exhibit will fare in the days to come and we can’t wait to see our vision fully manifested.  

How Does Performing Arts Impact Calgary’s Identity?

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Performance Art reflects human creativity through a variety of modes, including, but not limited to, dance, film, theatre, music and their respective subcategories. This art form, in its simplest manifestation,  involves both an audience and performer(s). Performance arts, like other forms of art, has been proven to build upon community and culture. This cluster has helped foster, and in some cases, create a sense of identity/community.

Calgary continues to change and adapt as new technologies and industries emerge in our city. As there has been huge shifts and changes over the last hundred years, Calgarians have become increasingly aware of the identity of our city and how we chose to express ourselves. Much of this identity is built around our history as a city, and what this looks like for us know.

Calgary is well known as a oil town, a young city, full with business people and events such as the Calgary Stampede. However, our city is constantly diversifying and growing. As we have welcomed more people to our city, our industries have expanded and we have more events such as the Folk Festival, Globe Fest, and Beakerhead. The city has also been exploring other avenues such as the Studio Bell National Music Centre. Although we may not have a clear answer on what Calgaries Identity looks like today, performing arts has a huge impact on our city.

Our hope for Calgary is that we continue to foster our appreciation of the performing arts. Through doing so we hope that Calgary will begin to develop an identity that will grow and diversify with the city.

Lessons from Messy Prototyping

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Our realization that contemporary literary art is quite accessible and not intimidating at all informed our prototyping session at the library. As well as testing our ideas for our experiment, we hoped to find out how people respond to interactive literary art. We discovered that people share our intimidation and that many expressed ‘fear of messing up’ or did not consider themselves to be creative. This deeply concerned us because literary art can have a profound positive impact on an individual and society at large, but only when it is engaged with and recognized. We wanted our experiment to invite and encourage people to be involved with literary art and to have fun while doing so. The two ideas we tested through the ‘messy prototyping’ approach were based on a theme of collaboration; we wanted to see if we could get the average person to contribute to a literary work with their community. Our session helped us understand the challenges that face us around our goals for our experiment, but also gave us confidence that we can positively impact our community on behalf of the literary arts cluster.

The Last Steps


How can we embed the arts into Calgary’s DNA? All semester we have been working towards a possible solution for this problem. Our group was assigned the visual arts and we cannot wait to share what we have worked on with you. Utilizing the knowledge of various experts in the field, we have implemented and gained insight from strategies such as Human Centered Design and systems thinking.

For our final project we are piecing together our learnings, culminating in an experiment designed to engage with, and learn from, you! Today we consulted with experts in the field to gain more insight and gather new ideas for us to utilize. We still have a little more than a week until the big reveal and although our work is still in the drafting stages, today was another step towards the final experiment. We have lots of work to do!

Nashville, Tennessee - Music


“Arts, culture, and creativity reflect a city’s spirit and values—they are its pulse. Since its founding, arts and cultural participation have been central to Nashville’s history and economy livelihood (A General Plan for Nashville & Davidson County, p.1). The need for economic development evolved in 1989 when the Wall Street reported on the “relative underperformance of the Nashville market. The growth of Nashville's creative sectors since then has helped the city serve as a hub which in return has helped the region grow entirely.

Commonly known as “Music City”, Nashville boasts an upbeat nightlife, while offering a diverse selection of genres and experiences within their creative music sector. Music has been an anchor for the city brand and economy for decades. Click below to read more now! 

[Image].2019. Music City Center. Clark Construction. Retrieved February 19, 2019 from .

A General Plan for Nashville & Davidson County. (2015). Nashvillenext. Volume 2 Elements. Retrieved February 15, 2019 from nVolumes/next-volume2-Elements_ACC.pdf

Discovering Literary Art Culture in Kigali, Rwanda

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Out of the five cities I researched for my report on exemplar creative cities, Kigali, Rwanda was the most inspiring and my favourite. My goal in my research was to challenge my assumptions about what literary art means and the different forms it can take. Reflecting on my conversation with our mentor Mel in class, my attention was captivated by the spoken word art medium. In Kigali, I found there was a bright spoken word art presence in the community and that the art was helping the people heal and express themselves. Kigali is remarkable because it shows tremendous growth in the creative industries and it has used art to mend the wounds from a horrendous past. Additionally, African history is predominantly oral, which lends an explanation to why the spoken word art form has taken off and resonated with the community in Kigali so strongly. The centre of the spoken word art community in Kigali is the Spoken Word Rwanda yearly festival. The following is an excerpt from my paper that explains the Spoken Word Festival in greater detail:

In 2012 Kigali had its first Spoken Word festival (The power of Spoken Word, Literature and Art, 2012, para. 2), something completely new to Rwanda (para. 1). The festival is about ‘bringing people together to celebrate the expression of self” (The power of Spoken Word, Literature and Art, 2012, para. 1). The performances of Spoken Word Rwanda (SWR) reflect the cultural vibrance through diverse linguistic presence because of the use of English, French, and Kinyarwanda (The power of Spoken Word, Literature and Art, 2012, para. 3). The festival draws people that “span many generations and nationalities” to participate and to appreciate the art form (The power of Spoken Word, Literature and Art, 2012, para. 3) which further exemplifies cultural richness of the city. In addition to spoken word performances, the festival includes workshops, film screenings, and diverse art exhibits to be enjoyed by tourists and citizens of the city alike (The power of Spoken Word, Literature and Art, 2012, para. 15). - Campbell, 2019, p. 2


Campbell, A. (2019, February 20). Creative Economy: Art, Culture, & the City. Retrieved from /view?utm_content=DADRD4YSwH8&utm_campaign =designshare&utm_medium=link&utm_source=sharebutton

Doyle, R.B. (2014, May 30). In Rwanda, Looking to Art to Soothe. New York Times. Retrieved from /in-rwanda-looking-to-art-to-soothe.html?_r=0

The Guggenheim Museum

Laube, K. (2017)  Bilbao Guggenheim Museum  [Photograph]. Retrieved from

Laube, K. (2017) Bilbao Guggenheim Museum [Photograph]. Retrieved from

The creative economy has proven to be resilient against economic downturn and cities are catching on. An example of this would be from the industrial production heavy city of Bilbao. Recently Bilbao has made a push to diversify its economy and redevelop the area around the Bulbao Ria. The hub to foster this change is the Guggenheim museum. An architectural masterpiece such as this one has allowed creativity and knowledge to flow through the area and has created benefits such as the growth of tourism and real estate in the area. Cities can take a lesson from this by simply understanding that if you build it, they will come.

Art on the Underground

Bal, T. (Photographer). (n.d.). Labyrinth by Mark Wallinger, 2013. Retrieved from numPostamp;autocompleteText=&archive=0&action=projects_loop_handler

Bal, T. (Photographer). (n.d.). Labyrinth by Mark Wallinger, 2013. Retrieved from numPostamp;autocompleteText=&archive=0&action=projects_loop_handler

The London Underground metro system is part of the vital organs that make up the city. Millions of people utilize the transit system everyday. Such a staple to the city, it’s no wonder that Art on the Underground, a London curatorial program, is interested in putting art all around. Art is found all throughout the underground stations from paintings to performance art. The diverse forms of art throughout allow for the art to be for anyone. With travellers flooding the stations, the culture that the art brings is enriching to the daily lives.

‘Art on the Underground. For everyone, every day’ - Eleanor Pinfield, head of the Art on the Underground program (Art of the Underground, 2016, p. 3)

Wordstock - Portland Oregon

Figure 1.0 – Citizens at the Wordstock Festival in Portland Oregon (Wordstock, 2015).

Figure 1.0 – Citizens at the Wordstock Festival in Portland Oregon (Wordstock, 2015).

I found the arts and cultural events in Portland, Oregon to be the most interesting exemplar I researched. Specifically, the literary arts scene is thriving in Portland due to a number of festivals and events including Wordstock. Wordstock aims to engage citizens and the local literary community through celebrating literature and literacy. This directly connects to my group’s creative cluster, the literary arts. Calgary’s Wordfest is a festival that we should look further in to. Studies have shown that these festivals provide opportunities for citizen engagement and inclusivity. Additionally, Wordstock allows free admission for people 18 and younger which encourages the youth to join in on literary conversations. Barrier free entries are essential in developing social inclusion within a community which is something we should consider for our experiment. Furthermore, our experiment will be barrier free in the sense that everyone can participate, regardless of age or ability. Other initiatives such as We Are Portland focus on increasing awareness of Portland’s diversity though photography different families. It would be inspiring to incorporate Calgary’s diversity into our experiment.

Wordstock. (n.d.). Book Fair at Wordstock 2015 [Digital image]. Retrieved February 17, 2019, from

Creativity and Design in Cape Town


“Cape Town has used creativity and design as tools in the ongoing process of rebuilding, reconnecting
and repositioning the city to transform lives and to build a better, more resilient city for all.” (UNESCO, Cape Town, para. 1). This fact alone is exemplary as this City has clearly identified the value of the creative economy and is implementing it for both economic and social reasons.

Cape Town utilizes local events as “powerful engines to share experiences, knowledge and best practice with diverse local and international audiences and design practitioners” (UNESCO, Cape Town, para. 4). From a systems perspective, it can be inferred that these events help promote a sense of community within Cape Town. The city is advanced compared to other cities in the geographic region, as they have recognized and are placing a high level of importance on utilizing creativity and culture. This city is truly exemplarily as they are utilizing art in order to better their current situation.

Insight into the Creative Economy: Cape Town

Photo: Freddy Sam. Retrieved from:

Photo: Freddy Sam. Retrieved from:

One of the cities that inspired me most during my research was Cape Town. It is a rich and vibrant city, with a recent but innovative history of understanding the value of creativity for its economy. This city, once wrought with the discriminatory policies of apartheid, is changing, with help from creative industry.

An insightful article by Laura Wenz (2012), explains that in 1998, Cape Town became a frontrunner in the creative economy by introducing Creative South Africa: A strategy for realizing the potential of the cultural industries (p. 18). With help from budding communities rich with creative industry, such as Woodstock (pictured above), Cape Town continues to draw on its creative strengths.

Reference: Wenz, L. (2012). Changing tune in Woodstock: Creative industries and local urban development in Cape Town, South Africa. Gateways: International Journal of Community Research & Engagement. http://doi:10.5130/ijcre.v5i0.2010

Portland, the Crafty City and their Thriving Cultural and Creative Economy

Title: Double-Headed Language Daggers  Artist: Da-ka-xeen Mehner, completed in 2012  Exhibit: “This Is Not A Silent Movie” by Four Contemporary Alaska Native Artists 2014  Museum of Contemporary Craft, Portland, Oregon, USA

Title: Double-Headed Language Daggers

Artist: Da-ka-xeen Mehner, completed in 2012

Exhibit: “This Is Not A Silent Movie” by Four Contemporary Alaska Native Artists 2014

Museum of Contemporary Craft, Portland, Oregon, USA

The city of Portland in the United states of America, is known for its vibrancy, diversity, and strong art sector. However, the city has been struggling with a housing crisis in the last decade. This crisis has affected the availability of performance space and affordable housing. The city has implemented a strategy to focus on their values to target this problem and protect the creative and cultural economy. By focusing on the direct investment of proposals and policies within the city, this has given the economy a chance to thrive and grow.

Portland is currently home to many emerging artists, amazing parks and an attractive city center. Although they are known for many things, Portland is home to the Oregon College of Art and Craft (OCAC). The OCAC has a strong community of students, faculty, mentors, and administration, that encourages students to be critical and innovative thinkers and makers. The school provides opportunities to students to show their work around the school, including the Hoffman Gallery. This gallery is open to the public and has around 50,000 visits a year. The city also ensures that they are inclusive and diverse by working with a large network of organizations, such as the Latino Network, the Muslim Educational Trust, and the Disability Arts and Culture Project. The city feels they are thriving due to their creative economy.

Our creativity drives innovation, inspires the founding of new companies, draws new employers and residents to our city, provides good jobs, and helps burnish our quality of life. Every aspect of our community would suffer without our creative culture.

– The City of Portland


Centre for Contemporary Art and Culture. (n.d.). Exhibits, Retrieved from

Detroit: The Growing Creative City

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While doing the research project for the sector visual arts, the city of Detroit had come up. What I found interesting regarding the city of Detroit was that they were not always seen as the huge creative hub. It was not until 2015 that the world had come around to what Detroit had to offer creatively and culturally. Which I believe the reason being is mostly because Detroit had become very open with the street art aspect of visual arts that most cities have not. By allowing local and international street artists, Detroit has grown their creative and cultural industries independently from what other cities are doing traditionally (fine art, museums, etc.), which is what puts Detroit on the “creative map” in their own unique way.

K-Pop and the Economic Innovation

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Today, popular South Korean music is loved and embraced around the world, especially in America within the last five years. The South Korean government actually has a dedicated K-pop department to recruit and pay for Korean music both to promote business and culture. As Lie states, “the business of South Korea is South Korean business (2014, pg. 121). The government has made the effort to “brand South Korea [and Seoul as its capital] as a creative, innovative country” (Lie, 2014, p.149). As K-pop becomes increasingly popular in America, new children's shows and other media mediums are beginning to latch onto this creative musical culture. As Lie states, “K-pop, like popular music in general, marks the beauty in ordinary life: a promise of happiness, the anticipation of bliss” (2014, pg.194). Give K-pop a listen today!

Lie, J. (2014). K-pop : popular music, cultural amnesia, and economic innovation in south korea. Retrieved from

Is Calgary rich with public art?

Our group was tasked with uncovering the art for public viewing downtown.The area we chose to explore stretches from Centre Street to 6th street and 4th avenue to 9th avenue SW. As we toured, it came as no surprise to our group that public art is a vital component of Calgary’s downtown core.

We concluded that the best method of exploration would be to zigzag through the blocks so we would not miss any opportunity to encounter our cities art. The journey started on the corner of Centre Street and 4th avenue. As we wove through the streets, we discovered some amazing hidden gems and rediscovered some pieces we know and love. From historic representations to modern interactive sculptures, downtown has many different art pieces to explore. As the weather was in our favour, we all made sure to stop and appreciate some of our favourites which are featured in our Jane’s Walk top 10. Our group had a lovely time getting to know one and other as we walked and appreciated the great creative culture in Calgary

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Eau Claire Plaza and Prince Island Park

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This is my favourite picture from our Jane’s walk as this view is mesmerizing with everything covered in snow. It was first time that I and my team members had the opportunity to do the Jane’s walk. We decided to go in the evening to click pictures of the art in our specified area. We went in the evening and it was cold. It was a great learning experience. Our designated area for the jane’s walk was from 3rd street -4th avenue to 9 street -4th avenue which included Eau Claire Plaza and Prince Island park. I have been in this area many times during summer, but this was the first time when I came here in winters. I found that bow river lagoon was used as a skating rink in winters. The park covered in snow looked like a white canvas waiting to be painted by imagination. The Christmas themed lights in the park added to its beauty. The view from the Jaipur Bridge in Prince’s Island park was breathtaking. Even though it was freezing at that time, but you just want to stay there and admire the view as time stood still. But we had to keep moving on because it was getting colder and we had a lot to cover. The delta gardens are a perfect place for evening strolls. The lights were reflecting from the snow giving the gardens a different texture which added to its beauty.

During the Jane’s walk I observed that we ignore the beauty of the places in plain sight. I have visited these places many times earlier but ignored so many beautiful sculptures right in front of me. It is also said that beauty lies in the eye of the beholder. Some of the sculptures that we came across might came across as non - traditional art. One might have to turn on their artistic lens to recognize its beauty. All the times when I visited these places, I ignored so many beautiful structures because I did not see it through the perspective of an artist.

My team members and I had some great conversations about the buildings that we were passing by and why were those buildings were shaped the way they are today. I got to learn some interesting facts about architecture designs. Towards the end of our walking tour, our feet were freezing so we took shelter in a nearby convenience store and grabbed some coffee. Another lesson learned that day was that we should put enough layers while sightseeing in winters.

Overall, Jane’s walk was a fun opportunity where we learned about the sculptures and stories of the bridges that we came across. It was also an opportunity to know our fellow team members and listen to different perspectives about art.

The Coalescence of Calgary’s Historic and Contemporary Efforts in Public Art

Our Janes walk took us through the west end of the downtown Calgary core. From 8th Street to 4th Street, and, 4th Avenue to 10th Avenue SW. A sunny Saturday afternoon, the streets were relatively quiet, and our portion of downtown, dense with tall office buildings, provided a dynamic mix of shade and sun. Our search for art bought us a variety of work showcases — some inconspicuous, almost tucked away, and some of momental vitality and historical significance.

What was especially interesting about this area was the physical contrast between old and new. We found that, the artistic efforts included in our area were greatly influenced by the architectural landscape. As the larger majority of the corporate towers in Calgary’s urban core were established during Alberta’s oil boom, the period is evidently reflected in the heavy, prominent stature of the buildings. Sculpture and statues have been ornamentally mainly placed outside the main entryways of the corporate-giant offices. Harkening to a classical and historically-based predisposition of economic power, almost in attempt to enforce their societal positioning of influence and significance. A traditional representation of societal, hierarchical positioning, found in its original state in the historical landmarks of the area. The Courthouse Park and the McDougall Centre are the oldest buildings in the area. Preserved as historical landmarks, these stone buildings exhibit the influence of monumentality in structure that has been carried through multiple strands of architectural development.


Due to the areas relatively historical narrative and structural permanence, modern and contemporary artistic efforts are enmeshed, engaging with the constructed environment. Buildings, the train line and the historical sites have been renovated, updated or combined with new visions of representation, monument, art and space. The train line platforms were updated a few years ago, and the curvilinear aesthetic of the design extends from the more obvious efforts, like the overall design of the platform, to the more subtle, like the corresponding design of the street lights.


The renovated the entryways of corporate towers have restructure themselves from stone to glass, opening up the buildings vitality, showcasing modern methods and materials and allowing for innovation in artistic and aesthetic structure. Demonstrating the distinctiveness of the our modern era through the incorporation of art and structure.


An example of one of the more inconspicuous but extremely innovative efforts of art placement in this area can be found in the sidewalk electrical boxes. The City of Calgary implemented a showcasing program of art by making use of the countless empty spaces found on these vital systems of infrastructure support. You could walk right by it if you weren’t paying attention, but they are everywhere and the art displayed is respectively diverse. Some boxes display local art, some photography and some present historical photos and information about the area or buildings nearby. It is a credible and innovative realignment of art versus infrastructure, imagination versus organization, familiar versus unfamiliar.


The installation that stood out the most in the area was the Calgary Scroll, a digital installation beneath the 9th Avenue overpass on 8th Street SW. It is an installation of modern materials and lighting with a slim digitized screen running diagonally, over the cars driving on 8th Street and under the shadowy slate of the 9th Avenue bridge. This piece physically contrasts the traditional efforts of art and space in the area through the modern construction and materials, but the purpose of the piece means to embrace Calgary’s history. Old newspaper headlines, ads and classifieds glide across the digital screen over the busy underpass. Broadcasting bits and pieces of Calgary’s history into the downtown core, engaging the past with Calgary's current, every-day life.