Dear Edmonton, We Need to Talk

Dear Edmonton, On June 14 myself and some citizens, hopefully quite a few, are going to tell you how we feel about you. We’re going to send you a message through original songs, visual art, spoken word, poetry and performance. We may even create some short films and write some letters.

You're very important to me, so I want to warn you now that it might not all be pretty and praise. I for one am going to take a long hard look at our relationship and let you know, really and truly, what you mean to me. We've been together so long, Edmonton, I think it's about time we talked.

We're going to share all of this with you at an event called Bridge Songs: Dear Edmonton,. All those who have known you are invited to take part in this day of live music, spoken word and art across mediums. We're going to make an album, too. You can keep that and I hope you'll like it because it's going to be all about you. All of this will happen in one of your best neighbourhoods; Alberta Avenue.

You may be wondering how this is going to happen. Well Edmonton, Bleeding Heart Art Space is inviting your artists to explore their relationship with their city. We're asking artists, 'How does the city shape your work?' and  'How does your work shape the city?'

We're starting with a basic question;

“If you could write a letter to your city, what would you say?”

I imagine the answers to that question could come in a million different forms, as uniquely creative as your kaleidoscope of artists. It is those creative answers I am hoping to show you on June 14 at Bridge Songs: Dear Edmonton,.

We’re looking for work that addresses the importance of place, and explores artists' relationships with you, Edmonton, our unique northern city. We'll think about some of the names you've been given, like 'City of Champions' or 'Festival City'.

You know I love you, Edmonton, but sometimes I wonder if there are easier places to make art. Can art thrive in a blue collar town? Are you really the best place to make a life as an artist, or, perhaps, a better place to start and move on to somewhere bigger and brighter. I know it must hurt you when that happens, but you've gotta understand the reasons.

And then there are your winters, which we are just entering again now. How can I create while I have to hibernate? Some days all the cold and dark gets depressing. I know it's not your fault, but still.

It's not all bad, of course. I'm still here, right? I love the river valley and the festivals and my own neighbourhood and the special feeling of hope and promise that just doesn't seem to leave your streets. I love how your beauty changes with each season, always unassuming, but always breathtaking in sacred, small ways.

I'm hoping we can explore all of this and more. I'm hoping that other artists help me see who you are in new ways, with new eyes. I'm hoping to become a prouder Edmontonian than I am today. I think you deserve all of that.

So consider this your formal invitation, Edmonton. Please come, see and hear what we have to show you on June 14. We've got a lot of work to do in the meantime, so no peeking.

With all my bleeding heart,

Dave Von Bieker

Submit Your Work

So, artists, I hope this letter has got you thinking and dreaming and scheming. I cannot wait to see what you come up with.

We're looking for songs for our album and performance, visual art of all types for our gallery, dramatic pieces, short film, writing and more for our evening performance. We want to see a great variety of mediums and explorations of the theme, Dear Edmonton,. You have until March 14 (February 14 for songs).

You can download the official Call for Submissions here

Edmonton is listening …

Remember The Number 14

Last week, on November 14, we leaked this theme to subscribers of our email newsletter. What? You’re not on the list? Let’s fix that right away. You can subscribe at the bottom of this post, after the comments.

All submissions for Bridge Songs: Dear Edmonton, must be received by midnight on March 14 (February 14 for songs).

The event itself will take place Saturday, June 14, 2014.

I hope all of these fourteens make things a little easier to remember. And no, there is no secret significance – although if you have any theories I’d love to hear them.

If you have any questions about the theme or the event, please post them in the comments below and myself or someone else from Bleeding Heart Art Space will do our best to respond.

Blog for Bleeding Heart!

You have something to say–why not say it here? Email your blog post idea to and let's chat.