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Calgaryism Arts and Culture Guide

Hey Calgaryism fans, we’ve listened to your requests for what you want to see more of in 2013: arts, culture and family events. To give you the scoop on what’s happening in Calgary, local designer, artist and writer Fiona Row will be joining the Calgaryism team.

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Your Arts and Culture  Guide – Fiona Row

Calgaryism arts and culture guide Fiona Row

Author Fiona Row

Fiona is a designer, painter, illustrator, writer and art lover of all kinds. You can usually find her out and about, enjoying the visual and performing arts at the many events and festivals throughout Calgary.

Fiona is the first guest author on Calgaryism and I am extremely excited (and very lucky) to have her contributing.

Her knowledge and passion for the art and culture scene in Calgary is amazing. Welcome Fiona!

Introduction to the Calgaryism Arts and Culture Section

by Fiona Row

Calgary is a very outwardly-focused city. Whether it’s ski season or hiking season, many Calgarians work hard during the week and then leave their beautiful city to play with equal fervor in their mountain paradise. As a result, the arts and culture scene in Calgary, while vibrant, is not as obvious as it is in inwardly facing cities like Edmonton, Winnipeg and Montreal.

You heard a little more about the arts in 2012 when Calgary was named the Cultural Capital of Canada. This increased funding, meant more publicity and resources for public arts events. For example, even if you didn’t know about it in advance, you may have stumbled upon the avant-garde performing arts festival Nuit Blanche while enjoying a Saturday night out on Stephen Avenue last September.

For the most part though, what there is for an arts and cultural scene in Calgary is found only by those who are avid enough fans to go looking for events.

Caitlind Brown’s “CLOUD” installation at Nuit Blanche

Calgary arts and culture Caitlind Brown’s “CLOUD” installation at Nuit Blanche

I hope that my involvement with Calgaryism improves your ability to know what’s going on and choose new experiences. I’ll be contributing regular articles to let you know of the best of what’s coming up for arts, culture and family events in Calgary.

If you had a New Year’s resolution to go out more often, or to try to fall in love with the city that employs you, I encourage you to stay tuned in to Calgaryism for insight into some of the great things happening here.

 A guide to the ratings

Most of my posts will start with an at-a-glance view of an upcoming Calgary event. This section aims to give you a quick sense of whether the event is a good fit for you, before you delve into all the details.

Most of the information is self-explanatory: event dates, location, price, etc. The beret rating in particular requires some explanation.

Arts and Culture Guide rating systemBeret rating?

The beret rating is my way of helping you decide whether an event is likely to be “too artsy” for you. If you’re like me, too artsy is not an option, but I appreciate that most Calgarians are not like me.

Some of you avoid arts events for fear that they will be too weird or pretentious. So, if you’re up for an intellectual treat and prefer to attend something adventurous with like-minded company, choose an event with a high beret count.

If the fear of ending up in a nude one-man interpretive dance performance has been holding you back, start with the events that have a low-beret rating and work your way up until you find your threshold.

A low beret rating is not an indicator of a low quality event. It’s an indicator that the event is intended to be accessible to the masses.

All ratings and descriptions are my opinion. Let me know what you thought of the actual event through your comments.

I only post events I feel are high-quality enough to share

Why isn’t there a quality rating? One reason is that I endeavor to post only events that I feel are high-quality enough to share. If it’s posted, I think it’s worth checking out.

The other reason is that I’ll typically post about events before they occur, so that you have a chance to see them for yourself. Any opinions I have about the event will be based on previous experiences with the event or my attendance at earlier shows in a longer running event. This may not be indicative of the quality of the performance you’ll attend.

Again, use the Calgaryism comment boxes to share your opinion once you attend the event. This will help to inform the decisions of other readers.

If there is a free or lower-cost component to the event, I’ll indicate that in the at-a-glance description as well. In my opinion, Calgary could do with more free, public events, but if there is a lower-cost way for you to participate in some aspect of the event, I’ll be sure to highlight it. I’ll also mention whether the event is kid friendly or a good option for date-night.

Calgary, I look forward to getting to know you through your comments and feedback. If you see me at an event, please be sure to introduce yourself. My first article will be about the High Performance Rodeo, which is on now until the first weekend in February.

- Fiona Row.