New art openings celebrate diversity and innovation

Three new local Calgary public art openings are being celebrated as a showcase of the kind of vitality and innovation marking the city’s art scene. 

The City of Calgary’s public art liaison says a massive outdoor mural, a throwback Magic 8-ball replica, and an interactive culinary experience give art lovers a snapshot of the variance of current beautification efforts that are free and accessible to all.  

“These three new installations reflect what has been a strong effort to showcase the talent of our local artists, through community projects that encourage a diversity of artistic expression,” says Julie Yepishina-Geller. “These pieces are all so different, yet each one helps add vibrancy and a sense of local pride in community.” 

Convergence, by artists collective FilipinX Kasaganaan is a large mural on the exterior of the Good Neighbour Community Market building at 149 5th Avenue S.E. featuring the themes of empathy, equality and the environment in a multi-colour collection of symbols around a central handshake. 

The work came about after months of collaborations between the artist collective and local elders to equate in a fusion of Indigenous and Filipino culture accomplished using leading-edge augmented reality to result in a visual representation of the compassion and harmony of two cultures. 

In the contemporary Lost and Found exhibit at the Calgary Chinese Cultural Centre, artists Rawry & Pohly, which consists of Jamie Mason and Kevin Chow, explore how Calgary itself influenced local Chinese cuisine. Mason and Chow spent close to a year collecting data for the three-part work including a layered-relief mural depicting the artist’s late grandfather teaching his sister how to cook bok choy, a 6-foot-tall sculpture of a bok choy, and a cookbook available for viewing both physically and virtually via QR code. 

The modern pop-art of mixed mediums showcases Calgary-specific Chinese food culture worthy of preservation for future generations. 

Meanwhile, artist Cassie Suche, whose work was recently awarded through Calgary’s Celebration of the Arts, opened her Better Not Tell You Now, a playful community-wide project that nods to the popularity of the Magic 8 Balls fortune-telling toy. 

Suche created replicas of the original game to help capture the essence of the tight-knit community of Millican Ogden as it prepares for growth with the expansion of Calgary Transit to the 65-year-old quaint community. 

In this two-part piece, Suche’s metal-leaf coated Magic 8-balls embody the sense of uncertainty residents feel about losing their uniqueness while at once embracing the benefits of expansion and change.  

Alongside the balls encoded with community members’ sentiments about the neighbourhood's past, present and future, the project also features 11 sets of triangle-shaped aluminum signs mounted on street poles in the neighbourhood reading as impromptu poetry 

Better Not Tell You Now is on display at the Calgary Community Resource Centre, 2734 76 Avenue SE. 

Find out more about all three installations by visiting the gallery of public art pieces at Completed Public Art Projects (