What could be better than an art party with plant portraits, shadow puppets, poisonous plants, and bees? If you ask me, not much. On August 11, it was time for another Happenings at Arts Commons. Happenings always has a major theme, and Happenings #5 was centred on the theme of plants and nature. As always, there were many free activities that anyone and everyone could enjoy.
I invited my friend Jess to join me. Our evening began with a snow-cone— I got one with root beer flavour, how could I not?— and a wander through the building. I felt all kinds of classy; there I was at an art party, rockin’ my glamourous red lipstick and my rockstar red high heels, slurping back a root beer snow-cone. While we enjoyed our icy treats, we wandered over to the Apiaries and Bees for Communities presentation to learn a bit about bees. Jess confessed to me that she loves bees. We learned about the different nest designs, and how to construct one to attract honey bees to your backyard. Jess is excited.
We ran into Richard, the Communications Manager at Arts Commons. He suggested our next stop be with Alyssa Ellis and her collection of poisonous plants. “Don’t touch or eat them though, because you will die,” said Richard. “No actually. You will die.” We decided that we were too engrossed in our snow cones to be responsible enough around poisonous plants, so we enjoyed them from afar. The plants were gorgeous. Nature is so tricky, making plants that will kill you so beautiful and tempting.
Next stop was the Bizarre Garden of Eden. I know what you’re thinking, and yes, you’re right! It was a place to design and create your own shadow puppets! I wanted more than anything to create a unicorn shadow puppet, but I didn’t know how. I expressed my disappointment to Jess and a woman overheard me. She gave me the fastest unicorn drawing lesson you’ve ever seen. I sketched it out, and really surprised myself. That woman enriched my life. Jess cut out a dancing mushroom and we went behind the sheet to put on a show.
After our shadow puppet debut, we decided to check out some of the art that we were celebrating. On our way to the Ledge Gallery, we walked past artist Trevor Gieske and his potato printing station. We didn’t get the chance to try it out because the table was at capacity pretty much the entire evening- who knew potato printing was so popular! We entered the Ledge Gallery and wandered through the green world created by Natural Real Supreme. Green walls, green plants, green bits and pieces all around, green, green, green. The environment was so very soothing and lovely. It was nice to be above the crowd, too, to escape the noise and walk through a bit of artsy nature.
Our evening ended in the coolest place: We were surrounded by green streamers and ribbons hanging from the ceiling, red and green lights illuminating the space, and the sound of crickets filling the room. Rob Knudsen and Janine Bennet, two artists whose work is in and around Arts Commons took part in a discussion. There were questions written on paper leaves attached to the hanging streamers and the audience had the opportunity to pick a leaf and ask a question. The artists discussed their processes, their beliefs, their dreams and goals; it was really cool. The shroud that often covers the artistic process was pulled back this evening. We had the chance to learn about how art is created, see art being created, and even create our own art!
As always, the Happenings was such a rad time, and don’t worry if you missed it, because Happenings #6 is on October 31. Thanks for the nature art and the chance to create, Calgary!