Central Library is closed for the day (June 22) due to a facility issue.


September 6, 2018

Calgary, AB — Calgary Public Library is thrilled to announce the artists who are creating Indigenous art installations for the new Central Library, opening November 1, 2018. The collaborative works by six Indigenous artists — all from, or with a connection to Treaty 7 territory — will define three spaces in the new Central Library.

Keegan Starlight, Kalum Teke Dan, and Roland Rollinmud are collaborating on a colourful and vast wall mural in the new Central Library’s main entrance. Visitors will carry this impactful piece with them as they travel throughout the Library.

On the feature stairs leading to the mezzanine level, there is a platform in the heart of the building that will feature a life-size buffalo sculpture made up of metal letters that spell various words in Indigenous languages, created by Lionel Peyachew.

On Level 4, the Elders’ Guidance Circle will feature a stunning table and distinct furniture by Glenna Cardinal and a large photo and text-based piece by Brittney Bear Hat. The Elders’ Guidance Circle is a safe and comfortable space where anyone can meet with Elders, join in Indigenous programming, and more.

"Calgary Public Library knows that a public library is about more than just providing access to books; it’s about creating public gathering spaces where people can connect with one another and share ideas, knowledge, stories, and culture. Indigenous Placemaking at New Central Library will create a welcoming environment where Indigenous people can feel their culture reflected in an urban setting and where all Library visitors can learn about the original inhabitants of the land that we also call Calgary," says Shereen Samuels, Vice Chair of the Calgary Public Library Board.

"I’m pleased to be a part of this important initiative with the Calgary Public Library. For myself this project brings me a step closer to uncovering my family's heritage and understanding of our history through storytelling. I am creating a project that is about reminiscing and focusing on the care that reveals itself in the moments that are shared between family members," says Brittney Bear Hat.

The project began nearly a year ago with insight from the Indigenous Place Making Council of Canada followed by community engagement meetings at Stoney Nation, Siksika Nation, Tsuu’tina Nation, Métis Nation of Alberta, and the Aboriginal Friendship Centre of Calgary.

"What makes this process so unique is how community-driven it has been,” says Teneya Gwin, Indigenous Services Design Lead at the Library. “We’ve been so adaptive based on the feedback we’ve received."

The new Central Library is located in the growing community of East Village, close to Fort Calgary, where the Bow and Elbow Rivers meet and where Indigenous Peoples gathered for thousands of years.

The permanent art installations are part of a $500,000 Indigenous Placemaking project, funded by the Calgary Public Library Foundation. More spaces for Indigenous art in the new Central Library are expected to be announced in 2019.

The Process

Indigenous Placemaking at Calgary Public Library began in the fall of 2017. In early 2018, Library staff and members of the Indigenous Place Making Council of Canada visited the Stoney Nation, Siksika Nation, Tsuu’tina Nation, Métis Nation of Alberta, and Aboriginal Friendship Centre of Calgary. Open meetings were held to receive input and guidance on the placemaking process.

Input from those meetings led the Library to form an Artist Selection Committee. The Library heard how important it was for the process to be community-driven, collaborative, and representative of all Treaty 7 communities: TsuuT’ina Nation, the Blackfoot Nations (Piikani, Kainai, and Siksika), Stoney Nations (Chiniki, Wesley, and Bearspaw), and Métis Nation Region 3.

On May 30, 2018, the Library posted a call for Indigenous artist/artist teams and for Indigenous candidates for the Artist Selection Committee. Eight committee members joined Library staff and Artist Consultant Tamara Cardinal. The Artist Selection Committee went on to select six Indigenous artists. The selected artists encompass a range of disciplines, backgrounds, and stages of career, and are all willing to work collaboratively with each other and the broader community.

The artists have presented their concepts and received feedback from the Artist Selection Committee and the Elders’ Guidance Circle. This month, the artists will present their work to Indigenous communities. Work is now underway on designing and fabricating the pieces, with installation beginning this fall.

Calgary Public Library

Calgary Public Library, with 660,000+ members and 20 locations, has been inspiring the life stories of Calgarians for more than 100 years. It is currently the second largest library system in Canada and the sixth largest municipal library system in North America, with Calgarians borrowing more than 14.6 million physical and digital items and with 6.8 million in-person visits last year. The awe-inspiring 240,000 sq. ft. the new Central Library — the newest gathering place for our city — opens November 1, 2018.


Media Contact:
Kelsey Marklund
Senior Account Executive, Earned Media
Edelman | edelman.ca
T 403.817.0633 | C 403.471.1284

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