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.
“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.