Jeanne Kollée



Updated: Wed, 21 May 2014 00:27:17 GMT | By CBC News,

Calgary committee votes to spend less on public art




A giant blue ring on the overpass at Deerfoot Trail and 96th Avenue N.E. has caught the attention of drivers. 



A council committee voted Tuesday to make changes to Calgary's public art policy.

The city currently spends one per cent of the value of its capital projects on public art, but a committee voted to roll that back on major projects and cap the total on the biggest ones.


The one per cent target will remain in place for projects worth up to $50 million, then it will be half a per cent above that with the maximum topping out at $4 million.

That means for major projects like the West LRT, instead of $8 million of public art, there will be $4 million.


The current policy resulted in some controversial pieces, such as the $470,000 ring of blue steel at Deerfoot Trail and 96th Avenue N.E. called Travelling Light by the Berlin-based group Inges Idee.


After it was unveiled last year it drew criticism from many Calgarians, including Mayor Naheed Nenshi.

“I don't like it. I think it's awful. I understand that it's a work of engineering feat to balance it on its edge like that. I think it's terrible,” he said at the time.


On Tuesday, Nenshi said that other than Travelling Light, the city's public art policy has been effective.

"There's been 45 major public art projects since the policy went into place and one of them has been particularly controversial and probably 44 have had people who like them and people who don't like them. but that's part of art and I think that's a good thing."


More public input 


The committee also approved plans to give Calgarians more say on the panel that selects art projects.

Under the changes, members of the public will be given more say on what works are selected by an advisory panel and the amount of money that can be spent on public art would be capped.

Two councillors, Sean Chu and Ward Sutherland, voted against the changes saying they want less than the proposed amounts for public art.


Chu says when the city is cutting back on things like street cleaning, public art should fall off the priorities list.

"We should look after the core services first and you have extra money? Great, do some art, but not dedicate a certain amount of money for art. To me, that's not right, that's not common sense," said Chu.

Coun. Shane Keating says the changes are intended to maintain public confidence in the program.


“We just want to say, 'You know what? We really believe that we got value for the dollar regardless of what it looks like'... and we've had a number of these where it hasn't happened that way,” he said.

Public art has value and not everyone will like every piece - but the program must have most Calgarians' support for it to succeed, Keating said. 

 The amended policy will go to city council next week for final approval.

Arts Community Rallies Behind Cancer Fighter


Judy Westcott

For The Lethridge Herald- May 17, 2014



A local woman’s battle in her fight against cancer was given a shot in the arm Saturday by patrons at an art auction fundraising event at CASA.

Organized by local artist Robert Bechtel, the fundraiser was held in support of Carrie Balkham, who has been undergoing costly treatments in Vancouver to treat stage four colon cancer.


Balkham, a registered nurse at Chinook Regional Hospital and a member of the local arts community, recently started a treatment called localized hyperthermia in addition to chemotherapy treatments. Considered an alternative treatment plan, it is not covered by provincial health plans or insurance. With assistance of friends and family, Balkham is left paying for six treatments at a total cost of $20,400. She is unable to work because of the treatments.


“It’s very close to my heart,” said Bechtel. “I first met Carrie through another artist’s memorial, Wendy Lipinski, who passed away recently from pancreatic cancer. When I heard what Carrie was going through, I wanted to help and thought an art auction was a good idea.”


Local nurse and hobby photographer, Jennifer Gomez, works with Balkham at the hospital and donated several of her own photographs to the auction.

“I felt it was very important to contribute to this event,” said Gomez. “I have so much respect for her very fierce will to fight through this.”


 Besides Gomez and himself, Bechtel said Saturday’s art auction included pieces from Aaron Hagen, Rick Gillis and Jason Trotter, as well as many other artists from Lethbridge, Calgary and Vancouver. Donations came from as far away as Sweden and Tel Aviv. Some of Balkham’s own artworks were also featured.

“Her friends and family have been very supportive and have contributed a lot to securing donations for the auction,” said Bechtel. “I’m not sure how much we’ll raise today, but I think we could do quite well – there’s a lot of great work here.”




Robert Bechtel with one of his watercolour works for auction.


Auction items ranged from paintings and photographs to jewelry and gift baskets. One of the more unusual items was a guitar autographed by Paul Stanley of the rock band KISS, which had been purchased off the Internet and donated to the silent auction.


Local businesses were also very generous, Bechtel said, noting many of them had donated items for the auction or supplied refreshments for the event.

Calgary-based musician Jordan Doell, whose donated gift basket included his CD’s and a private performance for the lucky bidder, was on hand to entertain during the event.


According to the Canadian Cancer Assocation, localized hyperthermia is a cancer treatment that uses heat to destroy cancer cells and shrink tumours. The cancer tissue is exposed to high temperatures (usually between 40-43 degrees C ) for 60 to 90 minutes, which can harm and kill cancer cells by damaging proteins and structures within the cells.


There is usually little injury to normal cells and tissues with the treatment. Blood flow to the tumour is also reduced as a result of the treatment. It is usually performed in conjunction with radiation or chemotherapy treatments and has been used as part of cancer treatment in Europe for many years.


Casa Arts Facility in Lethbridge, AB Turns One Year. Here are some shots of the celebrations from this morning. Attending were the Mayor of Lethbridge, staff and volunteers of Casa and the Allied Arts Centre, members of city council, members of the press, various artists and users of the facility and members of the public helped celebrate this one year birthday.






Suzanne Lint - Allied Arts Concil



Front Reception Area. Artist for desk - George Heagle, Edmonton.



Lethbridge City Mayor Chris Spearman, the artists, Jacqueline Metz and Nancy Chew, AAC President, Kris Hodgson. Title of installation: "Mirrored Earth" 


The jumbo outdoor screen. Installed this week! Awesome short artists video streaming until 10:00 pm.





Casa ‘the hub of creativity’


Lethbridge Herald

Called a “hub of creativity” by the artist who designed its reception desk and “the centrepiece of Lethbridge” by the mayor, Casa, the community arts centre downtown, has officially turned one year old.

“We have much to celebrate today,” said Kris Hodgson, president of the Allied Arts Council of Lethbridge, during a first-birthday celebration Wednesday morning.

“Whether it’s to take an art class, browsing a gallery, watch a performance, or learn how to play a musical instrument, Casa has provided the citizens of Lethbridge and area with increased opportunities to explore the arts.”

“What a success this has been,” added Mayor Chris Spearman. “The arts are now a focal point of Lethbridge with the Casa building. This whole surrounding is so welcoming.”

“I really do think that the arts is the centre of our downtown; it’s really our future,” he continued. “It’s what’s going to attract people downtown. This really is the centrepiece of Lethbridge. We’re going to build on this when we build a performing arts centre.”

About 100,000 people have visited Casa since it opened last May. It has also been a location for weddings, dance productions and a flood relief concert, and it was the new staging area and starting point for the Moonlight Run earlier this year.

Designers for three of Casa’s public artworks were also on hand for Wednesday’s ceremony and helped cut official ribbons.

Nancy Chew and Jacqueline Metz of Vancouver, who created the Mirrored Earth display in the main corridor, Edmonton’s George Heagle, who designed the reception desk, and Marta Timmer of Lethbridge, who created an exterior gate, all took time to explain their works.

Timmer based her piece on digital art and the use of pixels as part of an image.

“I related it to how Casa is a cluster of different arts and how they come together and form this great community centre,” she said. “The aesthetic of that (the gate) reflects the aesthetic of the architecture of the building as well, with the sharp lines and the clusters.”

Heagle drew his inspiration from the local landscape, coulees and University Hall, designed by architect Arthur Erickson, and said he is overwhelmed by the facility.

“It is a cultural heartbeat of this community, but more importantly of a wider community,” he said. “This is remarkable. This truly is the hub of creativity.”

“Casa has become an important part of the community,” Hodgson said. “We look forward to contributing to the vibrancy of Lethbridge in the years to come.”

If you have not already visited the new Arts Facility, Casa in Lethbridge, please do so! The facility is turning ONE this May and on May 14th they are having a Birthday Party! World Class all the way!

This the wonderful front entrance and plaza.

An upstairs view going into the print making studio and the weaver's guild.

This winter will not go away! I decided to bring spring to my studio, and started this new oil on canvas of Dutch tulips. They remind me so much of my homeland. It is a real stuggle to get the leaves just right.



I should be done in about another 3 weeks...perhaps the sun will come out and spring will arrive soon!


Saturday, May 17 at 2:30pm

CASA in Lethbridge, Alberta

Robert Bechtel, a Local Artist of Lethbridge, has come up with a great idea of how to raise money for Carrie Balkham, a Lethbridge woman struggling with the battle of Cancer. Carrie is a single mother, a registered nurse at the hospital in Lethbridge, and a local artist, and she is doing everything she can to fight the Beast inside; Stage 4 Colon Cancer. She has recently started a treatment in Vancouver called Localized Hyperthermia. A very promising but also very expensive treatment in Vancouver. Hyperthermia has been part of cancer treatment in European countries for 30 years. But is an alternative treatment plan and therefore not accepted in Canada by Healthcare Plans or Insurance. The treatments are costing Carrie $3400.00 per week of which she has 6 treatments on a biweekly basis. A total of $20, 400.00. She has been paying for this treatment out of her pocket, donations from friends and family. But the pot is running dry. She has not been able to work since June 2014 because of the disease. 


An Art Auction has been planned to raise money for Carrie to continue her treatments. And it is sure to be a fun and fantastic event. Wine, Cheese, Art, and Friends at CASA. How could you go wrong? Art from Robert Bechtel, Aaron Hagen, as well as many other local Lethbridge Artists will be on display for Silent Auction. There will be work from a professional artist in Vancouver and TelAviv, as well as a few artists from Calgary. Carrie will also have a few of her own pieces in of her painting and photography. And there will be a few baskets for silent auction from local businesses. 


Please come out to this event to show your support for this Lethbridge woman fighting the battle of Cancer. Our Friend, Mom, Daughter, Sister, Nurse, and Artist. Let's help her in this time of need as she has helped so many of us in ours. 


Thank You

Hope to see you there!!

my . artist run website