Calgary

Calgary castle will be home to artist collective

What may be Calgary's strangest property is about to get even more interesting, as it will soon be home to an artists' collective.

Artists can apply to rent out the 7 affordable studio spaces in the unusual building

This Calgary castle is home to seven affordable studio spaces for artists. (Realtor.ca)

What may be Calgary's strangest property is about to get even more interesting, as it will soon be home to an artist collective.

The cream-and-mint-coloured castle, which is located at 1108 Premier Way S.W. in Upper Mount Royal, was built in 1946, but was most likely updated with the tower and battlements sometime in the 1970s. Its interior is full '70s decadence, with parquet floors and wood-panelled walls.

It was put on the market in early 2018 for $1.75 million. 

Rob Ohlson said his company, Maillot Homes, snapped the building up at a reasonable price. But when they couldn't immediately find a buyer they decided to take it off the market and find another use for it until the market improves.

"We kind of fell in love with it," he said. 

He said he and his fiancee, artist Desere Pressey, decided to put together a two-year pilot project.

"We have a submission open right now for artists to apply and we're just answering a call for affordable studio spaces in the city and to create an art collective there where there are different artists of different modalities coming together to share space," Pressey said.

Pressey said there are seven studio spaces in the building that artists can apply to rent out at either $400 or $450 a month, depending on the size of the studio.

She said public events will also be held in the space, that will focus on inclusivity and marking art as a way to focus on wellbeing. 

Public events will also be held in the unique building. (Realtor.ca)

"Inviting people beyond the painting, and beyond the pristine gallery wall to really feel welcomed into the art-making process either by visiting artists in their studio space or walking into multi-sensory environments," she said. 

Pressey said at the end of the two-year period, they'll revisit how the artists' space is working but she'd like to see it become a permanent cultural spot in the city.

One of its first public events will be a figure drawing session with live music, spoken word poetry and art installations in June.

Applications and details about events in the space are available online on the Little Duck Gallery website.

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