GETTING READY – Local professional artist Susan Woolgar adjusts one of her paintings as she displays her work in the Viewpoint Gallery

Cultural Services Centre a hub of activity and art

The City’s Cultural Services Centre has a lot to offer the community from art and dance classes to an open and free gallery that features local artists.

The Viewpoint Gallery is located within the Cultural Services building and is currently showing art from three local professional artists whose work ranges from glass and ceramics to acrylic paintings. Every couple of months, new art is brought in that is free to view and also open for purchase.

“Our gallery is a collection of professional, established artists showing their work. The work is for sale, but it’s more of a showcase that displays the level of art in Red Deer,” said Community and Program Facilitator Jo de Beaudrap, who helps organize artists for the Viewpoint Gallery.

“Last year we put out a call to the community inviting new artists to apply to have their work displayed here. That way we identified a few more artists and got some people who were interested in joining our collective of artists that exhibit work in this space.”

The gallery is unique because it is a City-owned space but unlike regular public galleries, the work is for sale. de Beaudrap explained most public galleries do not carry the intention to sell art but are more of a place to display.

“The City has an interest in supporting this level of activity. There is a public gallery at the Museum and Art Gallery but there are very few commercial galleries. There is a Corridor Community Gallery at the Rec Centre, which like our gallery, is meant to show art by artists whose work is professional and out-of-the-box,” de Beaudrap said.

“We love this space for local professional galleries that supply space for that level of art. This place is about the artists. We don’t have a new or fancy facility, but people are really comfortable here.”

The gallery isn’t the only artistic space within the facility. There is a major art studio that houses a ceramic kiln, painting supplies, carving tools and more. This space is utilized mostly for youth and children’s camps and classes. There is also a dance studio and a music studio that are utilized for community lessons and classes.

The Cultural Services Centre also facilitates a program that provides funding for arts and culture events in the community. According to the City web site, the Fee for Service program offers grants for non-for-profits and cultural organizations that demonstrate a need for financial support.

“The Fee for Service program is really big for our arts community because that is a way for our City to show support to arts and culture,” said Tara O’Donnell, culture superintendent.

Cultural Services Centre staff are able to help citizens navigate the application process for grants such as these as well as offer guidance to people wishing to apply for festival grants or who have questions regarding the public art reserve.

“I think one of the nicest things about this place is we have an open gallery and are open Monday to Friday. People can just stop in and inquire about classes and take a look at that gallery. It’s a pretty non-threatening environment. There is always something going on here between classes or the gallery,” O’Donnell said.

“One of our biggest challenges is that we are a free standing building that is out of the downtown core. I want people to feel comfortable stopping in here when they aren’t sure about our programs or services.”

Along with managing the Viewpoint Gallery, Cultural Services can also offer assistance for citizens to organize events, create budgets and applications for artistic, cultural or heritage-oriented events.

kmendonsa@reddeerexpress.com

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