City Market Report: Week 11 (and Dirt City, Dream City)

By the time we got downstairs to the City Market, it was later in the day and the rain had started to come down.

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Rainy market afternoon

In some ways, this was good for us, because the selection of fresh produce was still quite good, but I acknowledge that the weather wasn’t what vendors were hoping for.

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Sweetheart plums from Steve & Dan’s

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Pattypan squash from Kuhlmann’s

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Zucchini and summer squash from Kuhlmann’s

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Cauliflower from Riverbend Gardens

Thankfully, the rain cleared up that afternoon, and Mack and I took the opportunity to explore Dirt City, Dream City in The Quarters.

Dirt City, Dream City

Examining Crow’s Advice by Holly Newman

Dirt City, Dream City encompasses 17 different art installations spread across the neighbourhood. We weren’t entirely sure how we would locate all of them without a paper guide, but the “scavenger hunt”-like experience turned out to be fun, and the map printed on the descriptive boxes beside each piece was really all we needed. The pedestrian nature of the exhibit was fitting given it is closely tied to how most residents of the neighbourhood get around, and encouraged us down streets we probably wouldn’t have travelled on our own accord.

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Accompanying artists’ statements and biographies

Along the way, we encountered many different manifestations of art – from Adam Waldron-Blain’s live performance on a construction-ridden street to billboard canvases to an entire community garden.

Dirt City, Dream City

In Performance by Adam Waldron-Blain

The underlying message behind the installations was an expression of the dichotomy between the current reality of The Quarters and the optimistic future plans propagated by the City. Without question, there is progress being made (the YMCA Welcome Village set to open later this year is the first in a series of planned improvements), but after walking past too many derelict buildings and gravel parking lots it’s easy to see why residents would be frustrated.

Dirt City, Dream City

Simulacrum by Carly Greene

Unlike most gallery art we come across, I loved the open air nature of this exhibit, and how they interacted with the natural elements. One good example was Aaron Paquette’s Everyone is Welcome, which was so welcoming that we saw a rabbit settled comfortably in the centre of the piece.

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Aaron Paquette’s Everyone is Welcome

The Quarters Community Garden by Tiffany Shaw-Collinge also appealed to me because it was a living example of a piece larger than life, engaging residents in tangible art.

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Quarters Community Garden

The piece that resonated the most with me was The Placebo Effect by Emily van Driesum.

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The Placebo Effect

I couldn’t agree with her accompanying art statement more:

“A tree encompasses the strength, growth and enduring qualities of The Quarters Downtown, while reflecting Edmonton’s goal of bringing people and greenery back into an urban setting. In The Placebo Effect, stitching implies an attempted healing. However, by removing the root system of the tree, the stitching may not be enough to sustain healing. The Placebo Effect illustrates a potential revitalization of the Quarters community. Without the root system, the attempted healing process may have a beneficial result or no result at all.”

Dirt City, Dream City closes on July 30, 2012. Check it out if you can!

5 thoughts on “City Market Report: Week 11 (and Dirt City, Dream City)

  1.  Sharon! Thanks for your thoughtful engagement with the exhibition! I’m so glad you enjoyed it!
    FYI, we just got confirmation it will be held over for a month until August 30!

  2. Great to hear that this very engaging exhibit will continue for another month. Here’s to the community garden that brings so much life, colour and joy to an empty space!

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