Big Art

The rain that descended upon the August edition of Calgary Art Walk 2012 was cold, but it couldn't chill the hearts of the artists displaying their canvasses along Stephen Avenue.

By participating in the First Thursday event (the next one is September 6), the painters, photographers, potters, jewellers, and sculptors, who are members of Canadian Artists for the Poor, do far more than just sell paintings and bracelets. “All the money raised goes to agencies who work with those in extreme poverty,” explains Julie Chandler, executive director of Canadian Artists for the Poor. Some artists also donate a percentage of their sales.

Most of the agencies helped by the artists operate in developing nations, where they drill wells for fresh water, combat malaria, or rescue children from human trafficking rings. Occasionally, though, local agencies like the Mustard Seed also get a helping artistic hand.

The July Art Walk, held on the eve of Stampede, is definitely the largest of the four Art Walk events. Booths spill over from Stephen Ave and continue along 3rd St SW to Barclay Parade. Roving tourists and local cowboys alike peruse dozens of stalls and pause to watch artists in action. “A lot of artists like to create right on site,” says Chandler. It draws in the curious and lends an immediacy to the creative process.

Even during rainy Art Walks, though, art can happen right in front of your eyes. Darton Drake, a photographer visiting from Chicago, didn't let the showers stop him from stepping out from under the tent to snap impromptu street portraits of curious passersby.

Don't miss the final leg of the 4th Annual Calgary Art Walk, taking place along Stephen Avenue on First Thursday, September 6, from 10 am to 5 pm. You'll be supporting the participating artists of Canadian Artists for the Poor and helping the most desperately poor in the world. And that’s a beautiful work of art.