Sarb Akal YouTube channel | Photo: Courtesy of Sarb Akal
There are actually two Sarb Akal Music Societies. One is the local, East Calgary Indian music academy that had seven students show up the first day they opened in Forest Lawn in 2009. Offering lessons in tabla, sitar, and other classical Indian instruments, they now have about 50 students. The second Sarb Akal Music Society is a digital clone of the first one, also based in the Forest Lawn home of Bhai Harjeet Singh, but it promotes, teaches and speaks to an Indian classical music scene that is global, growing—and awesome. That’s what Arts in Action discovered upon meeting with Singh, Sarb Akal General Secretary Pyush Vyas, and Executive Director of Fund Development and Growth Vipul Jasani in early June for an interview.
Every December, there’s an art festival that is a little bit more than an art festival. It’s a lifeline. That’s what the SPARK Disability Arts Festival has been for over 450 artists with visible and invisible disabilities who have had their work exhibited, and sold, since the festival launched at Studio C back in 2010, says festival director Roxanne Taylor. For the 2018 festival alone, Taylor says SPARK received 191 visual art submissions from around the world. They ended up featuring 85 different works created by 52 artists, each of whom has a different story.
Paula Timm and her work | Photo: Courtesy of SPARK Disability Arts
Fireflies at Twilight | Photo: Courtesy of Calgary Municipal Land Corporation
Fireflies at Twilight was a temporary mural installation on land provided by Calgary Municipal Land Corporation (CMLC) as a way to activate the street level and bring people into Victoria Park. The special containR installation was created in honour of the land and people of Treaty 7 Territory. Inspired by Siksika First Nation Chief Crowfoot’s quote What is Life?, the project was spearheaded by non-profit arts organization Springboard Performance in collaboration with Governor General Award winning Siksika artist Adrian Stimson who created an inspiring visual interpretation of the quote on a mural installation comprising two 40-foot shipping containers.
Calgary Queer Arts Society exists to give voice to queer people and their stories. Historically, LGBTQ2A+ individuals have been suppressed, deprived of power, misrepresented, and often overlooked by institutional support systems. They are committed to transforming this reality, and will continue to work passionately towards an inclusive future for all people. The arts are an integral part of this story. Storytelling connects us all, dissolves our differences and breaks down barriers, so that we can find aspects of ourselves in others, and of others in ourselves. These stories are important to Calgary, which is why this group is committed to creating and sharing the narratives that shape us.