For the Calgary Stampede, art is an integral part of our history and our future. It’s the way we celebrate and share the stories of Stampede – both past and present. For three local artists, Stampede 2018 was a unique experience, as Janice Mather, Erin Conn and Bonnie MacRae-Kilb took their skills outside of the studio, painting their masterful pieces at the Friends of Parade during the Stampede Parade, in Indian Village and at the Stampede Rodeo in front of live audiences.

“This is the first year we’ve done this, it was an Artist Ranch project idea,” said Shauna DeMaere, Chair of the Western Showcase committee. “We reached out to our committee members to see if there would be any interest in live painting and extended the invite to some artists in our gallery and we were so happy with the response.”

For each artist, the experience was both emotional and profound.

“The opportunity to live paint was an exciting and inspiring prospect. The piece I chose to create is based on my love for the city I was born in and the history of its past,” said Janice Mather, who painted at the Friends of Parade seating during the Parade. “Painting with the energy of the Parade, the sounds of the bands playing and the interaction with the participants influenced and became part of the piece. I do not usually live paint and this has created not only a unique experience for me, but a memorable time and a piece of artwork that will carry that spirit with it.”

Janice painting at Friends of Parade at the 2018 Stampede Parade.

Guests frequently stopped by to ask questions and observe the beautiful art being painted before their eyes.

“I really enjoyed creating this piece among the crowd. I tried to capture the energy throughout the rodeo in my painting.This experience was exhilarating,” said Erin Conn, who painted her piece at the Stampede Rodeo.

Erin Conn painting at the Stampede Rodeo

Erin’s piece.

“Art in the Park was a success for its first year and we look forward to continue growing the program and sharing important Stampede stories through art and expression,” said Demaere.

                                                                                                               Bonnie’s latest piece is called To Rise

For Bonnie MacRae-Kilb, creating a piece in Indian Village was a true privilege.

“My time spent creating in the rich, vibrant and historical site of Indian Village was met with much anticipation. I continue to be so curious and respectful of the traditions of Indigenous culture. The invite to interpret this unique juxtaposition amidst our metropolis is extremely stimulating and sensitive for me as a visual artist,” said MacRae-Kilb. “During my time painting in Indian Village I had the opportunity to engage with some of the Elders and some of the children.”

Bonnie’s previous piece of work, We Are All Treaty People, hangs in Sweetgrass Lodge and is part of the permanent Stampede Art collection.

Keep your eyes out for Art in the Park during Stampede 2019, as the program expands.