Ongoing, Cold Lake, Janvier Gallery
Alberta painter Alex Janvier has earned a solid reputation as one of Canada’s preeminent artists: he became a member of the Order of Canada in 2007 and received the Governor General’s Award in visual and media arts in 2008. This summer, the Dene Suline artist from Cold Lake First Nations continued to garner international recognition with exhibitions in Provence and Burgundy, France. Janvier’s paintings – richly symbolic, colourful abstracts of Canada’s natural world – are influenced by both aboriginal culture and the work of expressionist painters like Wassily Kandinsky and Paul Klee. Albertans can enjoy a selection of his work at the Janvier Gallery (780-639-4545) in Cold Lake, where – with the French countryside fresh in the artist’s memory – perhaps the flowers of the Var will soon find a place in his paintings. - Kristine Kowalchuk
December 6 to 13, Edmonton, Tim Hortons Roar of the Rings
VANCOUVER 2010 may be the season’s hot ticket, but Olympic-level action can be had much closer to home — line-up free and often for free. Get in on the pre-Games excitement with
this qualifier event. Edmonton’s Rexall Place, between December 6 and 13, hosts the 2009 Tim Hortons Roar of the Rings. These Canadian men and women’s curling trials determine the Olympic teams.
December 7, Kelsey, Dinner Theatre
Forget “off-Broadway,” the Kelsey Drama Club dinner theatre is what you might refer to as “off-highway.” Every February, this Camrose-area collective, comprised mostly of moonlighting farmers, takes to the stage. After 18 years of entertaining, KDC performances far exceed their audiences’ expectations for community theatre. This year the group mounts the offbeat romantic comedy, Looking. Tickets go on sale December 7 from the driveway of the club president’s seed farm. If you can’t be there, try ordering by phone. Performances run February 5 to 20. Phone 780-375-2408 - Tracy Hyatt
December 27 to January 2, Calgary
Get in on the pre-Games excitement with this qualifier event. In Calgary, check out the Olympic-qualifying speedskating championships at Calgary’s Olympic Oval December 27 to January 2, where spectator entry is free. Vist http://www.oval.ucalgary.ca or phone 403-220-7954.
January 8 to March 13, Edmonton, Winter Light Festival
If you go out in the woods today, you’re sure of a big surprise. You might be snatched by an old witch who lives in a cabin deep in the woods, takes to the sky on a giant mortar and is the central character of The Baba Yaga Trail Adventure, a nighttime story walk through Edmonton’s Whitemud Park. The eastern European folktale character comes to life January 22 and 23 during the Winter Light Festival. Those who dare traipse through Baba Yaga’s haunting grounds will experience magical light installations and an unusual assortment of characters along the way. Winter Light brings together three existing festivals - Silver Skate (February 19 to 21), Ice on Whyte (January 14 to 21), Deep Freeze (January 9 to 10) — and original programming, such as 24 Hours to Ignition, in which six artists have a single day to create — and subsequently send up in smoke — a wooden work of art. Most of the events use light to animate their evening backdrop. There’s even a program for canines: Bark in the Dark, a procession of LED -collared dogs through Mill Woods Park. The three month-long Winter Light festival starts January 8. It’s the perfect antidote for the winter blahs.-Tracy Hyatt
January 31, Edmonton, Art Gallery of Alberta
For over a year, cranes, hard hats, stainless steel waves and patinated zinc panels have intrigued visitors to Edmonton’s Sir Winston Churchill Square. And early next year, passersby will finally be able to visit the object of this attention: the $88-million, glass-and-steel Art Gallery of Alberta. Designed by L.A.-based museum architect Randall Stout, the dramatic building draws inspiration from the curves of the North Saskatchewan River and the northern lights. (Being so influenced by nature, it’s also fitting that the building’s steel is 90 per cent recycled.) The gallery will offer nearly twice the exhibit space of the old Edmonton Art Gallery (whose site the new AGA occupies), easily accommodating its 6,000-piece permanent collection as well as a restaurant and outdoor sculpture court. The grand opening exhibit announcement is scheduled for late 2009. - Kristine Kowalchuk Opening January 31, 2010, 780-422-6223
February 5 and 6, Canmore, Alberta World Cup
Folks in Canmore can watch the Alberta World Cup for cross country skiing — also for free and mere days before the Olympics begin, February 5 and 6.