It will be followed by another market on Friday, August 9th and one more on Friday, September 13th.
So I thought it was time I wrote a bit about find it.
It all started back in November of 2011 when Calgary arts activist and all-around mover & shaker Meg Van Rosendaal invited residents of Inglewood and Ramsay to to talk about the potential for creative collaboration in our neighbourhoods. Meg could see that there was a wealth of creative talent in the two neighbouring hoods, and she felt that there was an opportunity to turn that into something more!
Meg also had her eye on the upcoming Calgary 2012 designation of the city as one of Canada's "Cultural Capitals" - a city that would be eligible for funding, promotion, and general celebration of the arts. How could we be part of that?
Here's a picture I took at that first meeting, hosted by the AREA in Inglewood - an awesome spot that we hope will be back in business soon!
And we definitely had a lot of ideas.
Here's the first thing we did - well, after applying for (and receiving) a wonderful grant from Calgary 2012, by the way!
Out of our discussions we came up with a concept that we thought could accommodate many different artists, arts supporters, and neighbours in general: the idea of "pop-up" arts and culture events that could take place in our neighbourhoods on a year-round basis, surprising and delighting folks from around here, and bringing audiences from the rest of the city into our "vibrant village."
To do this all officially, we formed a non-profit society with the fancy name of the Vibrant Village Society of Inglewood & Ramsay. But the name we came up with for our pop-up series is a bit catchier: find it. So you can just think of us as the find it team.
In case you don't know what a "pop-up" is, it's a (usually) temporary installation or event that pops up unexpectedly in an everyday setting, with the intent of delighting, surprising and/or otherwise enriching the environment! (Well, I just made that definition up, but hopefully you get the idea.)
Here in Calgary, in case you don't know, there's a big festival called the Stampede, which (among other things) puts on a big fireworks display every night for ten nights running in July. And a lot of folks come and sit on the top of Scotsman's Hill in Ramsay (so named because of the thrifty-minded Scottish folks who apparently would sit up there to get a free view of the show) to watch the fireworks.
Well, we thought, there's a ready-made audience just sitting around waiting for a show to start! So we brought them a pre-fireworks pop-up last summer, as our first event. Performers from Cowtown Opera appeared to surprise and delight the folks on the hill!
By the way, have you been wondering who designed those fabulous red find it signs? And our logo?
Team member Solita Work of ReWorks Upcycle Shop in Inglewood. She's our graphic design master, among other things.
For example, she put together this poster for our next event, the New Street Spoken Word Safari.
The brainchild of local poet Roberta McDonald, this event consisted of a parade of poets performing custom-written pieces about one of Inglewood's most iconic streets. I have to confess, I am actually not usually a fan of this kind of thing. But this was awesome.
By now, something else was going on... the find it team was starting to feel like a real group! Some of didn't know each other at all, when this got off the ground. But we were starting to feel a bit like a little family... or at least, like a group of conspirators.
You're wondering who else is on the team, right? Here are a few more of us:
What came next? Well, what else would you do if you had an empty outdoor covered rink, a giant screen, a perfect full moon night and a pair of local Oscar-nominated filmmakers? You'd do this, of course: curate a free short film fest for Calgarians to come out and watch - with instructions that they had to bring their own flashlights and lawn chairs. Live music, snacks, and an incredible lantern-lighting party topped off the night.
By now, this just seemed like the perfect opportunity to partner up with find it to do something I'd been secretly longing to do - help transform my little street into a temporary public art gallery for a day! This was so much fun. I've already written a whole bunch about the 23rd Avenue Artwalk & Street Celebration here, so here are just a few pictures.
Should we do this again this year? That's something I've been wondering. I kind of think it might have been a one-time serendipitous event. I guess we'll have to see.
Which brings us to this year's new pop-up: the Inglewood Night Market.
Calgarians like to stay up late. And there was the perfect little street to close off and fill up with artisans, local merchants, food, live music, and fun. So that's what we did, just a month ago in June 2013. It was pouring rain... but it was still packed with night owls who seemingly had just been aching for an outdoor gathering place to stroll around, shop, and mingle.
So we're doing it three more times... starting this Friday!
Too bad I don't yet have a bunch of pictures from our jam-packed first market to give you a better idea. This will have to do for now.
By now, our team had been joined by local food blogger and CBC Radio personality Julie Van Rosendaal, as well as by Andy, cheerful proprietor of Inglewood hot spot Gravity Espresso & Wine Bar. With what's become the trademark combination of a whole range of skill sets, personalities and crazy ideas, the find it team has been working to put together the next incarnation of the Inglewood Night Market for this Friday, July 12th.
It'll feature dozens of local merchants and artists, a whole lot of food, including food trucks and street fare courtesy of our neighbours at BITE Groceteria, live performances by local musicians Matt Masters with Craig McCaul, as well as the Rick Climans Jazz Group... and more, of course. The market starts at 6 PM and goes till midnight.
You can find out more about all this stuff on the find it website, www.finditcalgary.ca (so it's actually pretty silly that I decided to re-cap it all here, to tell you the truth... especially when I should have been putting up some more details about the upcoming Night Market, on the find it website! Well, I'll have to do that tomorrow - so stay tuned)!
Meanwhile, I just thought a little bit of back story about who we are and why we're doing this and what it's all about, might be a good idea. And fun. This has all been so much fun!!!
And that's enough about that... for now.