By Amanda Hu
As a city undergoing a cultural renaissance of sorts, Calgary is still finding its way when it comes to promoting local artistry. University of Calgary students Angel Guerra and Angela Dione are helping out the cause with the creation of the Kensington Market Collective.
“We saw a gap in what Kensington had to offer in terms of artist space to create and we thought we’d change that,” Dione says. “We started looking around for venues, which took a while, looking through different empty spaces.”
The market plays host to creative works from many different mediums, including photography, clothing design, printmaking, painting and much more. Dione and Guerra first went through all their friends to gauge interest and then started to garner attention from the greater artistic community.
“It didn’t take too much to get artists interested,” Dione says. “Angel and I are both very excited people when we talk about something and we’re always around so we never had to do anything to gather in artists except for share our passion about it.”
“There are a lot of artists who do a lot of unique stuff, but don’t have any place to show it,” Guerra adds. “It was really evident because this is the third market we’ve done and we sold out of tables three weeks ago and have 30 people on a waiting list. We didn’t do a lot to promote it, but we postered and then we got lots of e-mails from people we didn’t even know asking to be a part of it.”
Though only in its third run, the events have drawn hundreds of patrons to enjoy the atmosphere and possibly purchase the many wares.
“My friend came up to me and he said, ‘I have one, huge complaint about this place: there’s too much good stuff. I don’t have enough money!’ ” Guerra says.
When it comes to looking for future artists to feature, Dione and Guerra note that the criteria to get involved is not hard, but the events are certainly not for just anyone.
“We want them to be passionate about what they’re doing because we want to share our passion with them,” Dione says. “Basically, the main criteria is that we want to keep it as local as possible, so if you’re a Calgary artist, that’s awesome.”