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Why is Calgary My City?

March 1st to April 3rd, 2012

Artwall, Calgary Public Library, Central Library, 616 Macleod Trail SE

Presented by This is My City Art Society

The works on display here are from a This is My City collaborative art-making project that worked with the homeless community to imagine and construct interpretive maps of Calgary. These maps articulate the participants’ feelings about life in Calgary and reflect a wide variety of experiences. Workshops were held at the Calgary Drop-In and Rehab Centre, Inn from the Cold, and the Feed the Hungry Program at St. Mary’s Cathedral Hall. Participants worked on smaller, individual canvases as well as larger community ones. The project invited a number of different voices, from children’s to those of rough sleepers*, in the making of these works to accurately reflect diverse experiences of this city. Another aspect of the project was to showcase the work in public spaces in order to share the perspectives of people who have experience of homelessness with the broader public in a tangible way.

These works were first shown on Stephen Avenue during the 2009 Calgary Stampede during a program that included an interactive footprint map created in performance by homeless participants and the general public. The performance consisted of people using shoes with inked treads to track their daily routes on a large scale city map, while stating out loud where they were going and why. Also displayed at the unveiling was a looped video piece approximately five minutes in length that captured participants’ feelings about and experiences Calgary and the Stampede.

The aim of the original project was to engage individuals who might not normally access services that are there to assist the homeless. It was also designed to involve the general public in the conversation about our city.

Why is Calgary your city?

Cat Schick
This is My City Art Society

*Rough sleepers are those who, for various reasons, chose to sleep outdoors rather than access services at homeless shelters.

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