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Open Spaces: Windows to a View


This program offers local and regional artists an opportunity to showcase their art in a highly visible downtown location while working with a professional guest curator. The program, which began in 2009, celebrates the diversity and quality of works by regional artists, while enlivening the Centre Street LRT Platform on 7 Ave. between 1 St. and Centre St. SE.

Current exhibition

Grandma Kay: Portraits and Places in Fabric
September 21 - November 23, 2018

A long-time resident of Calgary, Grandma Kay uses a sewing machine and a healthy selection of different fabrics to make the kind of pictures others would photograph or paint. They are stunning creations of colour, pattern and bold composition. As for her subjects, they are often Calgary landmarks or people Grandma Kay admires from the past. Some of them historic figures like Ole Rómer from the artist's country of birth, Denmark.

The exhibition, Grandma Kay: Portraits and Places in Fabric features fourteen fabric works, machine sewn with the title hand-embroidered on the front of each work. Together they represent a small sampling of this prolific artist's engagement with fabric and the art of appliqué.

West Window

Displayed in the west window are nine quilted pictures from Calgary's past and present. There is Princess Patricia, granddaughter of Queen Victoria whose name is associated with the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry. Canadian Romantics is about the larger than life Alberta pioneer rancher, John Ware and his spouse, Mildred Lewis. More recent is Looking East and the towering anvil cloud Grandma Kay witnessed the day before the damaging 2013 flood. The rest in this display are sites and locations familiar to the city.

East Window

In the east window of the Centre Street LRT platform, there is Danish astronomer, Ole Rómer modernist painter Asger Jorn, also of Denmark; Pride and Prejudice author Jane Austin; French painter and best-selling author, Françoise Gilot and Nobel prize winning novelist, Colette.

About the Artist

Born in Denmark in 1943, in the middle of the Second World War, Grandma Kay or Agnete Kay began embroidering as a teenager in Denmark and then took quilting classes in Calgary. A receptionist and secretary by profession, a Glenbow Museum exhibition of Columbian artist, Fernando Botero nearly a decade ago, inspired the artist to do adaptations of portraits using her own sense of composition, colour and surface design.

About the Curator

Mary- Beth Laviolette is independent art curator specializing in Alberta visual art and fine craft. She has five major publications to her credit: 75 Years of Art: Alberta College of Art & Design, 1926-2001; An Alberta Art Chronicle: 1970-2000; Alberta Art & Artists: An Overview (co-author); A Delicate Art: Artists, Wildflowers & Native Plants of the West and Alberta Mistresses of the Modern: 1935-1975. She also has an extensive background as an art writer and critic focusing on western Canadian art and has contributed to numerous publications including Calgary Herald, Canadian Art, Studio and Galleries West. In the last five years, she has curated exhibitions for Glenbow Museum (Calgary), Art Gallery of Alberta (Edmonton), Red Deer Museum and Art Gallery, Okotoks Art Gallery, Galt Museum (Lethbridge) and the Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies (Banff).