Holiday Salsa Extravaganza!December 1, 2023
“Slab Building Buildings” with Carly SladeJanuary 10, 2024
As the holiday season approaches, we’re pleased to provide you with informative updates and highlights from Medalta. During our Annual Heritage Christmas Market, we successfully brought together the essence of the season through a collection of unique crafts, festive activities, and a joyful holiday atmosphere, marking another accomplished year for this event.
Additionally, we’d like to introduce our new Residency Coordinator, Kasia Sosnowski. Furthermore, this fall, the Yuill Gallery showcased an impressive exhibition featuring ceramic works by more than 20 artists from both sides of the Midwest border.
In reviewing recent events, our Black & White Gala, themed around the 60s, was a nostalgic journey into the past. We are pleased to share insights into various other events that have taken place over the last few months, offering a comprehensive overview of the rich experiences we’ve had.
This year, we proudly celebrate the 23rd edition of our Annual Heritage Christmas Market, and it’s safe to say it was our grandest yet with a record-breaking 48 vendors! The festive spirit was palpable as we welcomed a diverse array of visitors to partake in the holiday cheer.
With attendance numbers soaring, it’s evident that our community fully embraced the Christmas spirit. From enchanting handmade crafts to delectable treats, the market offered something for everyone. Attendees reveled in a myriad of activities, creating lasting memories with family and friends. We’re thrilled to share that the Heritage Christmas Market has become a cherished tradition for many, fostering a sense of community and joy during the holiday season.
As we reflect on the success of the 2023 market, we extend our heartfelt thanks to the vendors, volunteers, and attendees who made this event truly special.
We have recently welcomed our new year-long residents for the Medalta International Artists in Residence (MIAIR) program who will spend the next year creating bodies of ceramic work in our fully equipped studio (The Shaw International Centre for Contemporary Ceramics). This spring, the current Artists in Residents will host an annual exhibition dedicated to highlighting the work produced during their residencies. Artists who participate in this program have the option to stay at our Artist Lodge surrounded by Medicine Hat’s beautiful scenery and nature providing the perfect backdrop for their time here.
MIAIR is a renowned Canadian ceramics program. From September – to July we host ceramic artists from Canada, the United States, and abroad to take part in our contemporary ceramics residency. The MIAIR program nurtures creativity and encourages artists to pursue cutting-edge, innovative, risks in their studio practice. Steeped in history, the artists here dedicate their time to enriching their studio practice, learning new techniques, and sharing within a like-minded ceramic community. The individuals who attend Medalta are often a diverse group with varied backgrounds and during their time here they grow into a rich microcosm of ceramic knowledge.
Stay tuned for more news about the Artist In Residence Exhibition coming in the spring of 2024!
Meet Kasia Sosnowski, our new Residency Coordinator who started this summer in August. She is a Southern Albertan artist and holds a BFA in Art History & Museum Studies and Art Studio with honors from the University of Lethbridge (2014). She’s worked at various art institutions, including the Banff Centre, Southern Alberta Art Gallery, and the Allied Arts Council of Lethbridge, taking on roles in gallery prep, artist admin, and community building.
She graduated with an MFA in Sculpture and Ceramics from York University in 2023. Kasia’s art has graced galleries worldwide and across Canada, from The Esker Foundation in Calgary to the Art Gallery of Alberta in Edmonton, and even as far as New Zealand’s Corban Estate Arts Centre.
Her work explores clay’s ability to communicate care, fragility, affect, and transformation. Kasia employs visual gags, vibrant colors, absurdity, and humor to engage viewers in discussions about challenging subjects. She draws inspiration from personal experiences to explore themes like transgressive bodies, grief, recovery, and trauma.
She now lives and works in Medicine Hat, Alberta, where she coordinates our Medalta International Artist in Residency Program (MIAIR) while maintaining her own studio practice.
A note from Kasia: “When I attended Medalta as an artist in 2020, I was welcomed into a community with other ceramic artists who were generous with their time and knowledge. As Residency Coordinator, I am interested in continuing the legacy established by my predecessors by creating an accessible and inclusive space that encourages communal learning, individual growth, experimentation, and play.”
We are lucky to have Kasia on our team, she has already brought so much to our team’s dynamic!
Photo by Rio Chantel
Our most recent exhibition in the Yuill Gallery was a great success. The Boundaries Exhibition brought together artists from across the border in Alberta and Montana. Vibrant clay communities thrive on both sides of the Midwest border, influencing and energizing the respective clay scenes in each country. This exhibition served as a way to connect the clay communities and demonstrate ceramic arts’ growing popularity in Northern America. The curator of this show, Matthew O’Reilly, gathered over 20 artists from The Clay Studio of Missoula (Montana) and Medalta’s Shaw Centre for Contemporary Ceramics (Alberta). With a mix of both sculptural and functional art, this exhibition revealed some of the creative ideas that transcend geographical borders.
The Boundaries Exhibition showcased the dynamic interplay between traditional techniques and innovative approaches in ceramic arts. Matthew O’Reilly skillfully curated a collection that not only celebrated the craftsmanship of each artist but also highlighted the rich cultural exchange happening within the clay communities on both sides of the border.
Stay tuned for more exciting exhibitions in The Yuill Family Gallery. We have a big one coming up in the spring of 2024 that you won’t want to miss!
Medalta’s signature Fundraising dinner, The Black & White Gala, was given a twist this year, courtesy of a 1960’s theme. The opening reception in the Yuill Family Gallery was a resounding hit with attendees. Upon arrival, they were met with an assortment of era-appropriate features including live music by keyboardist Abigail Johnson, A martini bar serving two popular 60’s cocktails, the Manhattan and the French 75, and 1960’s living room setup, complete with a shag rug, lava lamp and bright orange vinyl sofas.
Guests made the most of the décor, having their photos taken wearing dazzling outfits ranging from timeless black and white looks to subtle nods to the 60s to a head-toe Holly Golightly ensemble.
After cocktails, guests transitioned into the Reception Gallery for 4 delicious courses, catered by the Medicine Hat Lodge. The dishes are too many to name here, but a couple of favourites were the 12 Hours Braised Alberta Short Rib and the Triple Chocolate Mousse Tower with wild berry fruit salsa.
Both the live and silent auctions featured an abundance of unique items donated by generous local businesses and artists. Many ceramic pieces were featured in the silent auction this year, including a series of Medalta 66 Mugs designed by the artists on Medalta’s staff, and a ceramic banana peel sculpture by Residency coordinator Kasia Sosnowski that sparked a silent bidding war. Danny Hooper returned as Emcee, making for an exceptionally lively live auction that resulted in some thrilling wins. Some notable prizes were 2 sightseeing tours in a Cessna 172 plane, a private soft mud brick-making experience, and the first-ever chocolate factory experience with Annegret’s Chocolate.
It was a wonderful evening with fabulous guests, not the least of whom were representatives from the generous event sponsors, FWBA Architects and Flatland Builders.
Thank you to our sponsors, supporters, and staff for making the 2023 Black & White Gala an unforgettable, groovy affair.
Medalta has once again been a bustling place over the last quarter, with numerous community events and activities.
We hosted a Concert Series called the Clay Bar in the Turning Room over the summer where Duane Steele and Sara Dell performed unplugged acoustic sets for an audience of 100. The Turning Room is unlike any other venue in the city, with its magical dim lighting, a remarkable collection of historical artifacts and perfect acoustics for live music. Watch for more Clay Bar Concerts in 2024!
Our Salsa night has also been a big hit, with our most recent October edition being hosted by a guest dance instructor from Mexico, Ricki Morales Montano. We had over 70 attendees that evening and even those who said they couldn’t dance were salsa-ing the night away by the end of the lesson! Our next Salsa night will be a Christmas edition on December 9 featuring Becky Klaiber and a guest instructor from Lethbridge.
Don’t miss out on these exciting and unique community events!