How this local arts group is making art accessible in Calgary

In a pursuit to build a recreational facility for the arts, The Alcove has been encouraging the community to pitch in through a series of summer workshops and pop-ups.

The Alcove is hosting series of workshops and pop-up events throughout the city

A local non-profit, The Alcove Centre for the Arts, held an event on Stephen Avenue Walk last week. It's encouraging the community to pitch in through a series of summer workshops and pop-ups with the goal of building a recreational facility for the arts. (Shay Blenkin/Fern and Pine Studios)

The corner of Eighth Avenue and First Street S.W. bustled with colour, music and dancing last week at The Alcove's Hip-Hop Showcase, one of their several pop-up events this summer. 

"Hip-hop really brings people from different ethnicities, different races together, in ways that other spaces don't," said MC GoodMedicine, who feels these spaces allow people to be authentic and tell their story.

Hip Hop Showcase in Downtown Calgary

1 month ago
Duration 1:01


These pop-ups by The Alcove Centre for the Arts are an attempt to showcase how a physical recreational facility for the arts could benefit the community in many ways. This non-profit group is dedicated to making art more accessible by providing workshops and platforms to support local artists. 

"We have so many hidden gems here, and these workshops are helping pass down the knowledge to the youth," said Ryan De Guzman, a.k.a Rubix, a local rapper. 

"I believe Calgary's still young, kind of like in its preteens … but we are growing and have the potential to be like Montreal," Guzman said as he reflected on the arts scene and its future in the city.

The Alcove workshop attendees visited the CBC booth to create some acrylic art with CBC stencils. (Ishita Singla/CBC)

The first half of the showcase was a spray paint and street art workshop led by Anthony Russell, who provided guidance on colour theory, spray can control, letter structure and style. After the formal instruction, the space welcomed a collaborative community mural, facilitated by a graffiti trio, Spreason. Attendees and community members had the opportunity to spray paint their own name tags to this 4-by-8 foot mural. 

CBC Calgary was on location with canvases, custom CBC stencils and paint supplies for aspiring and professional artists to express themselves. While some captured yellow and orange gradients of a sunrise, others were inspired by bright patterns, and even monochrome palettes. 

In collaboration with ANTYX and TRIBE Artist Society, The Alcove opened the floor to an open jam, or a "cypher." DJ Playtime spun some tunes for rappers and dancers to come and vibe together.

'Cyphers welcome hip-hop artists to come together, practise and perform. This is an opportunity for strangers to mingle and develop friendships through arts and music,' as The Alcove explained. (Shay Blenkin/Fern and Pine Studios)

The showcase was aimed to be "for the community, from the community and by the community." The workshops were made possible in partnership with the Calgary Downtown Association, and the venue was a collaborative effort by University of Calgary's faculties of Ssocial Work and School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape

The Alcove is hosting a multicultural themed arts showcase on Aug. 27, and once again, CBC Calgary will be on-site to creatively stimulate conversations about art, community and more.

Add some “good” to your morning and evening.

A variety of newsletters you'll love, delivered straight to you.

Sign up now