New public art space for downtown Calgary
Gallery 505 proves bigger doesn’t always mean better
Another day, another newly minted public art venue for Calgary. Gallery 505, a space curated by the Calgary Allied Arts Foundation, takes its name from its street address at 505 – 8th Ave. S.W., nestled right along busy Stephen Avenue.
The term Gallery is actually kind of a misnomer in this case; the space is little more than a display in the corner of an unobtrusive elevator lobby. In fact, the portion devoted to the artwork is remarkably small, even given the almost apologetic comparison to showcases in the EPCOR Centre similarly scaled with plus 15 windows. Still the layout is clean, efficient and with large windows opening up to the street.
The space opened to the public Thursday Jan. 22, and it was crowded with the usual inaugural free wine sipping art aficionados of this city. Although one could be forgiven for mistaking the scene as simply a collective of well-dressed loiterers drinking aimlessly in the lobby, the area clearly isn’t meant to accommodate such a crowd and will be better served enticing passer-by’s: curious couples, families and drifters.
The artworks that will cycle through the space will be comprised of those on loan from the Civic Art Collection, a collection totalling over 1000 works produced by Calgarian artists dating back as far as 1850 all the way to the present day, as well as work from previous participants of CAAF’s Artist in Residence Program. Lack of variety will certainly not be an issue.
Gallery 505 is an initiative realized by CAAF in collaboration with 679 Capital. CAAF itself is a respected organization offering invaluable resources to many artists practicing within this city and this new space should contribute positively to the ongoing attempt to engage Calgary’s citizens in the arts.
While the modesty of the space is a little underwhelming, especially given its moniker, it is still better than even more listless advertising of the variety so often found at street level. More art is always a good thing.
Besides, bigger doesn’t always equate better — even when it does, well, we’re still holding out for our new contemporary art gallery. In the mean time, stop by at Gallery 505 if you’re in the neighbourhood, even if you are just passing through.