Contemporary Calgary's transformation of old planetarium ready for the new year

Contemporary Calgary has announced on Monday it has finished phase one of its renovations as well as what Calgarians can expect to see in the gallery for 2020.

Some of the exhibitions include a scale model of the moon and artwork by Yoko Ono and John Lennon

The collaborative art projects for peace by Yoko Ono and John Lennon, are just some of the exhibits featured at Contemporary Calgary in 2020. (Richard-Max Tremblay)

Contemporary Calgary has finished phase one of transforming the old planetarium into an art gallery, and announced it has lined up a series of exhibitions for the new year — one of which features art by Yoko Ono and John Lennon.

The iconic 1967 landmark at Seventh Avenue and 11th Street S.W. underwent modernization, renovation and expansions this year.

David Leinster, CEO of Contemporary Calgary, hopes Calgarians will check out the new space. 

"They can learn about contemporary art. Dip their toe and come for the first time and hopefully come back," he told the Calgary Eyeopener on Monday.

David Leinster says annual admission to the gallery is the lowest cost for annual memberships in Calgary. (Toni Hafkenscheid)

Rather than focusing on a collection, Leinster says Contemporary Calgary will be made up of traveling exhibitions that's "fresh and changes all of the time."

"It invites people to come back again and again and with the lineup of programming that we have this year that's important to sort of celebrate."

2020 lineup

Some of the exhibitions in the gallery's first year include:

"We're excited about our 2020 programming," said Ryan Doherty, Chief Curator of Contemporary Calgary in a news release.

"In conjunction with rigorous and diverse public programs we hope this inaugural line-up at the planetarium ignites excitement in our community for what's to come."

Contemporary Calgary's first exhibition, Planetary, offers a nod to the history of the building being a science centre, which Leinster says will be nostalgic for many Calgarians.

It also includes Luke Jerram's exhibition, Museum of the Moon, and features a scale model of the Moon that will be suspended from the top of the dome.

"The team has been working so hard over the past year with our sights set on reaching for the stars," said Doherty. "And on January 23, we are excited to deliver the moon."

The Museum of the Moon is accompanied with musical compositions and will present a series of lunar inspired events beneath it. (Cork Midsummer Festival, UK, 2017)

Calgarians can also look forward to the collection by Yoko Ono coming at the end of May — which will invite the community to participate in the artwork.

"One piece, for example, is called 'Mending piece' where there's a series of broken pieces of pottery cups, saucers and plates. The idea of the piece is that you sit down and mend them back together and put them on a shelf as if it was part of a dream," said Leinster.

It will also feature an exhibition of art by Ono and John Lennon.

"It really looks at a series of collaborative art projects that she and John undertook and really exploring peace and the 'War is Over' peace campaign at the Montreal bed-in in 1969 — which we just celebrated the 50th anniversary of," said Leinster.

Contemporary Calgary's new home will be unveiled to the public Jan.23. Their house of operation are Tuesday to Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. on Thursdays. Regular admission will be $10 or $20 for an annual membership.

With files from the Calgary Eyeopener.