Friday evening bike ride.

Artist, Dawn Candy

I work most of the day, writing the final version of the Culture Vision (2008) for Red Deer.  It is hot and by the evening I think I need some more exercise and so decide to bike down to Sunworks for a visit. On the way I pass an old senior moving very slowly with her walker.  She’s got a fluffy little dog to keep her company.  I say good evening to her as I pass and she smiles.  Then, I see Stacy and Pete contemplating life from a park bench.  I stop and say hello to them.  I’m really glad to be out tonight… what else with the evening bring?

It’s the first Friday of the month and I have totally forgotten that the galleries are all open.  I go over to The Velvet Olive and it too has an opening.  It’s Dawn Candy’s new show called Simon Says.  She reminds me that Terry and I helped her name the show and think of games that people play solo, of which the show is mostly about. The show is beautiful and I love one piece in particular and so have to buy it.  I already have one piece of Dawn’s work that I bought at Affairs of the Arts years ago.

Dave More talks to me about how the galleries and emerging and how a few years back, he would never of dreamed of an ‘Gallery District’.  Now there are three side by side.

Someone says to me it that it would be great if there were a way to get into the Sunworks from the back.  They didn’t know that we cut a door in just this week.   He says that this laneway is really amazing, and wants to help it grow.  I mention to him that we’ve been asking to have the lane named.  Lorne Daniel has told me that a focus on this lane will be a recommendation in the Greater Downtown Action Plan.  I’m thrilled by this fact.  I could be a really great place to be for more than just our buildings.

II call Terry and suggest he come down.  As we sit there and have a drink we think about how strange it is to have built all of these spaces and yet 95% of the people attending tonight have no idea we had anything to do with the lounge or the galleries.  It’s rewarding in a way to know that the buildings and the work have a life of their own.

As I think about the current work I have been doing with culture it gives me hope to think that things are changing in Red Deer.

Terry and I just got back from San Francisco where art and culture pours onto the streets.  I hadn’t gone looking tonight for it and it just happened for me.  It is great to know that sometimes you can just stumble upon great things when you are not looking in Red Deer.

Moments later a short rough fellow approaches the bar and orders a straight shot of sambuca, while it was coming he proceeds to tell us that he will go camping this weekend and take his guns.  Some place where he can shoot and poo in the woods.  He tells us he has 4 daughters and a wife and he is going by himself this weekend, because they don’t like to poo in the woods.

Well that was interesting, we thought, I guess we are back from San Francisco.  We thank Dawn for the show, and for the painting.

Falling in Line
Falling in Line

It’s still light and so I ride my bike back to the house.  As I approach a red light on my ride home I come across two younger men beating on each other.  One is pounding the other with his foot.  I think that he will kill him, but he stops.  The smaller of them gets up and chases the other.  Soon I am in between the two of them trying to get out the way.  The small one yells at me to get out of the way, and I think to myself to move and avoid the whole mess.  He’s about half my size but I guess that is what drugs do to a person. He looks worn down, and battered.  It is sad.

I didn’t see anything like this in San Francisco, a city much bigger.  The whole juxaposition of the night was revealing.  Red Deer is on the edge of a shift, we haven’t quite come to grips with the drug problems here, and in fact the property crime rate is 43% higher than the national average.  We also haven’t supported the growth of culture in Red Deer as much as we should.  It seems to me that one will help with the other.  So why do I write this tonight?  It seems like a odd collection of events that just needed to be shared.

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