Friday, August 31, 2012

Century Homes Calgary a resounding success!

2012 is the Centennial year for many organizations in Calgary.  The Calgary Stampede, Calgary Public Library, The City of Calgary Recreation and Theatre Junction GRAND are just some of the organizations celebrating 100 years in our city.  We've been designated Cultural Capital of Canada by Canadian Heritage, and there's lots of awesome things happening in our city year-round thanks to the efforts of Calgary 2012.

In celebration of this momentous occasion, a grassroots movement of Calgarians decided to get together and celebrate century homes built in 1912 in the Victorian, Edwardian and Craftsmen styles by researching the history behind their homes and telling their stories by creating visual displays outside their homes to educate all Calgarians.  The public could then take themselves on self-guided tours that would take them to various Century Homes in neighbourhoods across the city where they could then learn about the stories behind those homes.  Things such as "Who once lived here?" and "What were their lives like?" were some of the questions this project aimed to answer.

Lindae Stokes, Awesome Calgary Top4 Finalist for June 2012, pitched Old Homes. Great Stories. to Awesome Foundation - Calgary on behalf of Century Homes Calgary, a project of the Calgary Heritage Initiative Society.  While Lindae did not win the grant that month, the event took place regardless between July 27 and August 6 and was a complete success.

Their goal, according to their project submission, was to have 350 century homes signed up for Historic Calgary Week.  Instead, they had to stop taking sign-ups at 504 when they ran out of signs and banners!  It didn't stop people from putting together their own signs and joining the celebration though.

According to Lindae:
What we really noticed is how we were able to raise awareness around the century homes and how important they are to all Calgarians. In fact, everyone is assuming that this is going to be a regular project -- both participants and heritage advocates such as The City of Calgary Heritage Planning. We know heritage homeowners love their homes and how researching the home's history makes it even more special. We also got thousands of Calgarians to experience why these old homes need to be appreciated and preserved whenever possible.

Many people who participated in the project this year celebrated their homes in different ways.  The people in the picture at the top of this piece celebrated by creating a giant birthday card wishing their home a Happy 100 Years, while the people above included a news clipping of the Calgary Herald covering a wedding involving one of the home owner's daughters in their display that details the story of their home and the people who live in it.  The current homeowners believe that the peonies used for the wedding flowers are still growing in their garden.

Thanks to the hard work of Lindae and her team, homeowners of Century Homes in Calgary have a reason to feel proud, and people all over the city now have a greater appreciation for some of these historic monuments.  It's always awesome for us to see projects or ideas execute even if they don't win a $1,000 grant from us so to Lindae, her team and to all homeowners of a Century Home in the city:  Happy 100 from your friends at Awesome Foundation - Calgary!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Something Awesome: Live Art Battles

Picture this:  Two artists.  One Wheel of Doomb.  One random idea.  Two hours to make art.  That, in a nutshell, is what happens every Wednesday evening at the Gorilla House.

Dubbed Gorilla House LIVE ART, these are live art battles where two artists have two hours to create a piece of art from a random idea, which then gets auctioned off at the end of the night to any in attendance that evening.

The brainchild of Rich Théroux, Awesome Calgary Top4 Finalist for August 2012, these battles are open to the public and free to attend.  You can wander around the gallery to view other exhibits as the battle takes place, or stay and watch and be a part of the creative process.

To get a taste of what the Gorilla House LIVE ART experience is like, the video above tells you exactly what the concept of an Art Battle is, and the videos below show highlights from the summer and highlights from the art battle that took place on Wednesday, August 15.

  • What:  Gorilla House LIVE ART
  • Where:  Gorilla House Studios (1503 - 15 Avenue SW)
  • When:  Wednesdays at 7 p.m.

You can check out more Gorilla House LIVE ART videos on their YouTube channel and follow them on their Facebook page to learn more.

So if you're looking for a place to monkey around, do yourself a favour and check out the awesomeness that happens every Wednesday evening at the Gorilla House!

Monday, August 27, 2012

"Buy Local" Episode 2 by Ashleigh Ahern is now up!

June 2012 AF-Calgary Fellow Ashleigh Ahern is back with Episode 2 of her Buying Local video series.

Ashleigh won Awesome Calgary's June 2012 grant to create a video series that would give exposure and create public awareness of local businesses that are green and sustainable by shining a spotlight on them and profiling them on the web.

Today, Ashleigh speaks with Rod from Leaf and Lyre about the SPIN (Small Plot INtensive) method of farming.

Check it out!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Awesome Ideas abound! Plus: Kids in kilts

This month, Awesome Calgary's Thousand Dollar Thursday was held at The AREA in Inglewood, in conjunction with Mark Hopkin's We Should Know Each Other #99.3, an event where people are encouraged to expand their social circles by meeting and mingling with people they may never have met before.

Dubbed Awesome at The AREA, an Awesome Space was able to be highlighted for those who had never been, Awesome People could meet other Awesome People, and four really Awesome Ideas would be able to have their time to shine in the spotlight.

The emcee for the night was AF-Calgary's very own Trustee of Awesome Kevin Hayes and it was with this back drop that the Top4 Finalists for the month of August would take the stage for 90 seconds each to try the wow the AF-Calgary Trustees and audience and convince them why they deserved to win the $1,000 no-strings attached micro-grant.

Pitch 1:  Gorilla House LIVE ART

First up was Rich Théroux with Gorilla House LIVE ART.  Art Battles take place on Wednesday nights at the Gorilla House studios where two artists are given a theme or idea by spinning a wheel and have two hours to produce a piece of art.  These art battles are free for the public to attend and all finished pieces created that night is later auctioned off.  The appeal to viewers is that they have an opportunity to see pieces that they like grow and become a part of that growth as well.

The $1,000 would be used by Gorilla House for rent, art supplies and advertising for the gallery as well as to ensure that the Live Art Battles can continue.  Leftover money would be used to create a children's gallery at the Gorilla House and other improvements.

If you'd like to catch one of the live art battles, drop by the Gorilla House at 1503 - 15 Avenue SW.  To learn more, check out this recent article by FFWD Weekly as well as their Facebook page.

Pitch 2:  YYComedy Festival

Up next was Cory Mack and Harry Doupe with the first-ever, brand new YYComedy Festival.

From September 24-30, the YYComedy Festival will celebrate the best of the local comedy community.  Featuring the best comedians in stand-up, sketch and improv, all performers at this year's festival have some kind of connection to Calgary.  Among the performers invited to perform are Bruce McCullock and Mark McKinney from the Kids in the Hall, Gavin Crawford of This Hour Has 22 Minutes and Just For Laughs favourite Ryan Belleville.

Currently, there are only three people (Cory Mack, Harry Doupe and James Sutherland) organizing the entire festival, and the $1,000 would go towards helping fund advertising and getting the word out.  Cory and Harry feel that Calgary is the best comedy community that doesn't celebrate itself, and this festival aims to change that.

To learn more about the YYComedy Festival, check out

Pitch 3:  CLOUD

Third up was Caitlind r.c. Brown and Wayne Garret with CLOUD, an 18-foot interactive sculpture created from 5,000 re-appropriated incandescent light bulbs.

Created as a part of Calgary's first-ever Nuit Blanche, CLOUD will allow the public to wander beneath an installation representing a giant cloud created out of light bulbs through a rain of pull strings allowing them to switch on and off lights to create the illusion of lightning on the cloud's surface.  CLOUD is also an experiment in community collaboration, as they hope to create the installation entirely through the use of donated light bulbs.

However, with a debut date of September 15, Caitlind and Wayne are far short of their goal of collecting 5,000 light bulbs as they have only managed to scrounge up about 300 so far.  The $1,000 would go towards a promotional campaign raising awareness of the project as well as to encourage ordinary Calgarians not affiliated with Calgary's art scene to donate their used light bulbs.  This would be achieved by purchasing ads in local newspapers and other avenues and channels that ordinary members of the public frequent.

Those in Calgary who are interested in donating incandescent light bulbs for the project can do so at the Alberta College of Art and Design (1407 - 14 Avenue NW) as a collection box has been set up in the front lobby.  To learn more about the types of light bulbs that they're looking for, see here.

Pitch 4:  A Strong Impression

Dressed in kilts and with caber in hand, last up was Marshall and Ryerson Ennis with A Strong Impression.

Marshall is a former highland games competitor and youth coach who wants to introduce the junior highland games to youth in Calgary to help build up an appreciation and awareness of Scottish heritage, tradition and family values among youth.

The $1,000 would be used to create "kits" consisting of the equipment that would be used to teach kids how the sport is done, as well as to help fund the camps that this education would take place in.  All youth would be invited to come out and try the different highland games, such as Putting the Stone, Caber Toss and Hammers.

The hope is that these camps can get youth interested in the Highland Games and perhaps motivate them to compete in the official tournaments in the future.  Fun fact:  Marshall is in training to flip the caber 150 times for a world record.

And the winner is…

AF-Calgary's August 2012 no-strings-attached $1,000 micro-grant went to Caitlind r.c. Brown and Wayne Garret and CLOUD.

Make sure to check out their installation at Calgary's first-ever Nuit Blanche on Saturday, September 15 at Olympic Plaza Park from 7 p.m. to 3 a.m.  And if you're interested in helping out with the project by providing some used incandescent light bulbs, make sure to drop them off at the Alberta College of Art and Design.


Congratulations Caitlind & Wayne!

BIG Thanks to Dave Winkler and our venue sponsor for this month, The AREA, as well as Mark Hopkins for allowing us to collaborate with him for We Should Know Each Other #99.3.  If you haven't been, you should definitely check out a We Should Know Each Other party.  They're awesome.

Finally, we're still accepting submissions for our September 2012 prize.  The deadline for submissions is Monday, September 10 at 11:59 p.m. and if you'd like to submit an idea or project for consideration, fill out this handy-dandy web form!

Thanks to everyone who took time out of their busy evening to come down and watch, and we hope you'll join us next month for a very special Thousand Dollar Thursday!  Stay tuned for more details on that coming up later…

In the meantime, check out some photos from our event on our Flickr channel!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

This month's Thousand Dollar Thursday is also We Should Know Each Other #99.3


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A quick reminder that this month's Awesome Calgary Thousand Dollar Thursday will be held at The AREA in Inglewood on Thursday, August 23.  Doors open at 6 p.m.

But did you know that this month's Thousand Dollar Thursday is also being held in conjunction with Mark Hopkin's We Should Know Each Other Summer Tour?  In the lead up to WSKEO #100, Mark is taking his WSKEO parties on the road, teaming up with various different groups doing amazing community-building things in the city with each location being a community gathering hub.

What is a We Should Know Each Other party?  Since February 2008, local artist and community-builder Mark Hopkins has hosted ‘We Should Know Each Other’ parties in his living room, where hundreds of strangers have shared stories, laughter and new friendships.  Everyone is invited to attend to stretch the limits of their social circles and to meet some of the diverse people that make up Calgary.  Doctors, accountants, labourers and even politicians have attended in the past, and you're always guaranteed to meet someone new.

Dubbed Awesome at The AREA: We Should Know Each Other #99.3 will be the event where you can come check out the four Awesome Ideas being featured this month and then meet and mingle with people you've never met before in an awesome space dedicated to the arts, recreation, education, environment and agriculture communities!

It promises to be a Trifecta of Awesome!  Hope to see you there!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Announcing August 2012's AF-Calgary Top4 Finalists, Honourable Mentions and Venue!

The summer months are winding down here in Calgary, but that doesn't mean we are!  The Awesome Foundation - Calgary Trustees have just met to go through this month's submission pile and we're ready to announce the short lists for this month.

So, without further ado, here are AF-Calgary's August 2012's Top4 Finalists and Honourable Mentions, in no particular order:

Top4 Finalists

  1. YYComedy Festival by Cory Mack, Harry Doupe and James Sutherland (YYComedy Collective):  The YYComedy Festival will showcase the best of Calgary’s comedians in performances, screenings, and workshops covering stand-up, sketch, improv, theatre, film, television, radio, and the web.
  2. Live Art Battles by Rich Théroux:  Local artists have a place to do live art battles.
  3. CLOUD by Caitlind r.c. Brown and Wayne Garrett:  A large-scale interactive sculpture created from 5,000 re-appropriated domestic light bulbs, CLOUD invites the viewer to wander through a rain of pull strings, switching on and off lights to create the illusion of lightning on the cloud’s surface. (Nuit Blanche Calgary, September 15, 2012).
  4. A Strong Impression by Marshall Ennis:  Introduce the strength of history, tradition and family to young adults in Calgary.

Honourable Mentions

  • Community Housing Program Expansion by Raman Basi:  Discovery House.  Where women say no more to domestic violence.
  • Movie in the Park by Janet Lymer:  Hosting a movie in the park in our neighbourhood.  It's open to everyone!

We're pleased to announce that this month's Awesome Calgary Thousand Dollar Thursday will be held at The AREA in Inglewood on Thursday, August 23.  Doors open at 6 p.m. and we hope to see you there!

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Last but not least, we're now accepting submissions for the September 2012 prize.  

If you have an Awesome Idea that you'd like to submit to AF-Calgary for consideration, fill out this handy-dandy web form! The deadline for submissions for the September AF-Calgary prize is Monday, September 10 at 11:59 p.m.

Hope to see you out this Thursday!

Monday, August 6, 2012

AudioMob YYC 2: The Headphones Strike Back!

The next iteration of May 2011 AF-Calgary Fellow Kiran Somanchi's AudioMob YYC is back this month as AudioMob YYC 2: The Headphones Strike Back is almost upon us!

AudioMob YYC was heavily inspired by New York's ImprovEverywhere prank collective and was based off of their highly popular MP3 Experiments where members of the public were encouraged to download an MP3 file with audio instructions prior to meeting at a pre-defined place and time where they would then all activate the instructions simultaneously and follow them wherever they led.  The effect being that those who weren't involved would have absolutely no idea why massive amounts of people were moving and doing seemingly random things in a coordinated manner, and those who were involved would get to be a part of one GIANT (and fun!) in-joke.

Billed as "one part flash mob, one part decentralized dance party and one part Jane's Walk," Kiran's AudioMob YYC project aimed to bring a similar experience to Calgarians, while at the same time helping to promote local Calgary musicians by featuring their works in the soundtrack, educating participants on local culture and landmarks, and showing everyone in general that Calgary truly is a cool, hip and happening place to be.

The first AudioMob YYC took place last August with hundreds of Calgarians taking part.  Here's a taste of what happened:

The second AudioMob YYC is set to take place later this month and everyone's invited!  Here's how it works:
  1. Download the mp3 file from starting five days prior to the event and load it into a mobile audio device.
  2. Sychronize your iPods, iPhones, Androids and wrist watches to the clock on the website.
  3. Show up at the starting location on the specified day and blend into the surroundings.
  4. At 5:15 p.m., hit play on your audio player and follow the instructions!
This year's AudioMob YYC will take place on Friday, August 24 at 5 p.m. and will take approximately 45 minutes to complete.  The secret meeting place is in downtown Calgary at Courthouse Park, which lies to the north of the 4th street LRT station next to the old courthouse (4th Street and 6th Avenue SW).

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  • What:  AudioMob YYC 2: The Headphones Strike Back!
  • Where:  Courthouse Park (along 4th Street and 6th Avenue SW)
  • When:  Friday, August 24, 2012 at 5 p.m.
  • RSVP:  Facebook
With promises of special guests and other surprises, this year's AudioMob YYC looks to be more awesome than last year's, so help spread the word!  Tell your friends and family, keep an eye on the AudioMob YYC Twitter and Facebook accounts for continuing details, grab the MP3 file from the AudioMob YYC website when it's available, and join Kiran and many other Calgarians on Friday, August 24 for all the fun, nay, AWESOMENESS!