Freyja Ulveland (tooled leather)

Many residents of Southern Alberta remember how they felt in late June when they first realized the Bow, Elbow and Highwood rivers were flooding the land. Calgarian Terri Heinrichs’ thoughts were with her brother and his wife, who were trapped in High River with their newborn.

“There were people being rescued [in High River] by canoes, by helicopters,” Heinrichs says. “That’s when I realized just how bad it was.”

Her  family was eventually rescued and her own home was unaffected, but Henrichs, a visual artist with strong ties to Calgary’s artistic community, resolved to help those who weren’t so fortunate.

“I’m an artist. I can create art…but what good would my one little piece do?” says Heinrichs. “So I thought, What if we got a few people together and did a big project?”

And so the Alberta Flood Rose Project was born. Since the call for submissions went out on June 28, over 400 Calgary and area artists (and counting) have heeded the call to pick up their paintbrushes (and chisels, scissors, sewing needles), and get involved. Each artist has been working to create an original, 4×4 inch piece of wall art that depicts Alberta’s wild rose.

Ingrid Christensen (oil paint)

“There’s beautiful work being produced across a variety of mediums. There’s lots of paintings, some fibre art, metal pieces, wood carvings and a soap stone piece,” says Heinrichs.

The tiny masterpieces will be arranged together in groups of 81, resulting in a total of eight to 10 large framed pieces. These large pieces will be displayed in public locations throughout the month of August, and the project will culminate at a late August auction. (Venues are still being confirmed. Stay tuned to the Alberta Flood Rose Project website or check your Friday, August 9 issue of Swerve for more details). All proceeds from the auctioned art will benefit the Canadian Red Cross and their Alberta flood relief efforts.

“The flood rose and Albertans rose to the challenge,” Heinrichs says. And, paraphrasing a 2006 Alberta Views article by botanical artist Linda Le Geyt, “the Alberta wild rose lasts through drought, and it lasts through floods. It’s a resilient, beautiful little plant.”

The deadline for emerging and professional artists to submit an unframed piece of wall art is Friday, July 26. For those less artistically-inclined, the project is still looking for volunteers who have event-planning or accounting experience.

5 responses to “Hundreds Of Local Artists Making A Difference With Alberta Flood Rose Project”

  1. Jeff Cruz says:

    This is a great initiative. As soon as I read this I wanted to help. I visited the website and to my disappointment photographic artwork was specifically excluded from this initiative. The term “original” work was coined but really, what constitutes original work? A lot of painters paint from photographs. So if a photograph is reproduced on a canvas from paint then it is considered “original” and then can be included in this project?

  2. Firstly, thank you Swerve, for writing such a great article! The project is coming along magnificently, but there is still much work to do!

    Jeff, as a professional photographer myself, I understand your concern regarding photographic art. Boundaries simply had to be set around the art included in the project, or I know we would have been overwhelmed with the number of beautiful pieces coming in!

    Our intent was to create this project with “original” art… that being pieces created specifically for this project. These pieces can’t be reproduced (or reprinted) as a photograph could.

    Our goal was, and is, to create the most unique collections of art ever created by Calgary and area visual artists, in order to raise the maximum amount of money for the flood victims who so desperately still need help.

  3. LRoos says:

    I have suggested a collaboration to this photographer; a collaboration with him and any other photographers out there who have photos of the flooding in Alberta. This is not giving in to his rants, but rather realizing that we DO need photographers’ images as they were a HUGE part of the flood. Their work, shown in a presentation during the evening combined with the artists’ roses will have a greater impact on our fundraising goals focussing on those we set out to help — the victims of this devastating flood. I have not yet received a response.

  4. EFreeman says:

    I have been following this initiative and I think it is a lovely project with the best of intentions. There are many people in need who have been affected by the flood and I think this money will help! However, I am struggling with the comments left above concerning ignoring photography as something more than documentation. In LRoos’s comment, which I could be misinterpreting, I noticed that there was a misconception of photography as for a sole purpose of documentation rather than contributing as a beautiful piece of art. Unfortunately, this is a common misconception, and as fan of photographic arts, I find it puzzling that photography can only be conceived as being used to boost the sales for donation. Photography can be so much more valuable than this, and it is a shame that it cannot be used as such. That being said, I understand the need for parameters for the event, and when all artists are fighting for acknowledgement as artists, I can empathize with Jeff Cruz and his supposed “rants.”

  5. Jeff Cruz says:

    Thanks for clarifying Terri and Lisa. This is a matter of differing opinions that of which no one is going to concede. I wish you all the best in the project and your future endeavors. I hope your initiate raises a lot of money for this great cause.

    Lisa, in response to your collaboration, I just found out about it this morning (Friday, July 26th @ 8:30am) only after digging around on the Facebook page (which I am not getting updates from). I appreciate your willingness to collaborate. Let me know what your plans are and what you need me to do and I’ll do it. At this time I cannot offer any collaborative ideas because of time constraints.

    I stand up for what I believe in even though I may looked upon as a “complainer” or one that “rants”. I do realize I may have hurt or offended certain people, for that I apologize. Especially to the organizers for this wonderful event. I hope if we meet one day it will be in a better light.


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