APAN Summit: Lethbridge 2016

APAN 2016 LethbridgeOpportunities, Challenges and Trends:
the Alberta Public Art Network Symposium – 2016
May 5 – May 7, 2016

Allied Arts Council of Lethbridge – Final Report
The AAC in conjunction with the City of Lethbridge Art Committee were delighted to be able to host the 2016 APAN Symposium the weekend of May 5 to May 7, 2016. The symposium, with an overarching theme of Opportunities, Challenges and Trends, included six educational sessions, two public art tours and two social networking opportunities.

The Symposium opened late on Thursday afternoon with a session on the basics of public art presented by jil p weaving, Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation’s Coordinator of Arts and Culture. Later that evening, delegates attended an opening mix and mingle reception in the Galt Muesum & Archives viewing room overlooking the stunning Lethbridge coulee landscape. Peter Morin, Tahltan Nation artist, curator, writer and a member of the Visual and Aboriginal Arts Faculty at Brandon University, presented an inspirational opening keynote address and attendees experienced a stunning dance presentation by contemporary first nations dancers/choreographers Sandra Lamouche and Maria Livingstone.

Day two of the symposium, held at Lethbridge’s community art centre, Casa, featured two presentations including: Here Today, Gone Tomorrow an examination of the opportunities, challenges and trends inherent in the growing area of public art that involves temporary, ephemeral and performance projects presented by Dawn Saunders Dahl, Arts and Events Coordinator for the Town of Canmore and opening presenter jil p Weaving and Great Bedfellows: Corporate/Civic Public Art Partnerships presented by Jane Ferrabee, University Architect at the University of Calgary and Christine Sowiak Curator of Art at Nickle Galleries, at the University of Calgary who shared their planning work in this area. Delegates were also treated to a number of pop-up sharing sessions presented by a communities across the province and the opportunity to participate in a either a public art walking tour in downtown Lethbridge or a tour of the Papokan Sculpture Park at the University of Lethbridge. Day two wrapped up with a gallery stroll and progressive dinner held at the Trianon Gallery, Casa and the Southern Alberta Art Gallery. Attendees at this fun networking event were entertained by six members of a local circus troop, Circo de Nefelibata.

Day three included more community pop up sessions and an additional panel presentation on media and technology projects entitled When the Lights Go Out: Media & Technology based Projects. Presenters for this session included: Liane Davison, Director of the Surrey Art Gallery and City of Surrey Manager of Visual and Community Art; David Turnbull, Public Art Conservator with the Edmonton Arts Council and Jackson 2bears, kanien’kehaka (mohawk) multimedia installation/performance artist and cultural theorist from Six Nations who is currently teaching at the University of Lethbridge. The final day of the symposium wrapped up with a facilitated session examining the future of APAN as an organization.

The 2016 APAN Symposium attracted 35 paid full conference delegates with approximately 25 additional unpaid/partial payment individuals (City employees, venue hosts, committee members) attending some or all of the sessions. Fourteen individuals contributed approximately 40 volunteer hours to the event planning and execution including 8 volunteers who provided 28 hours of their time the weekend of the symposium. The work of the volunteers was augmented by the efforts of 4 staff members of the AAC administrative team who contributed 425 hours of their time. Fifteen local entertainers were hired for the social events.

Promotions for the event included information posting to an existing APAN website, several Mail Chimps invites/infomercials that were distributed around the province, a program guide, an updated Public Art Guide and a discount sheet for downtown businesses that was distributed in the delegate’s package. Response to the symposium was overwhelming positive with many delegates commenting on the desirability of the vibrant arts environment in Lethbridge and a few indicating a desire to move to our community. The APAN Symposium offered a wonderful opportunity for members of our community to network with individuals from around the province who share a passion for the arts and specifically the discipline of public art. We were also delighted to have both Mayor Spearman and Minister of the Environment the Honourable Shannon Philips join us for some sessions and provide greetings.