Dear Edmonton

Video and Website Launch for Dear Edmonton

I'm excited to announce a new website, and a video, for Bridge Songs: Dear Edmonton - please watch and share!

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Friday Finds: Edmonton Awesome Right Now

With all of the Dear Edmonton, submissions rolling in, I've got our fair city on my mind. I'm grateful, for instance, for my daughter's experience making sculpture with Lyndal Osborne at the AGA yesterday. Today, I join her class for the final day of Museum Week - where they get to experience the AGA through hands-on art making.

Our art gallery is certainly one bit of Edmonton Awesome to be grateful for, and if you haven't seen the Lyndal Osborne show Bowerbird: Life as Art yet, perhaps your Edmonton weekend starts there.

In this spirit of appreciation, perhaps the only antidote to the dragging doldrums of a long winter, I dug into what our city has to offer art enthusiasts, just this very weekend. And I didn't have to look far. Here are a few highlights if you're still making plans.

124th Street Gallery Openings

GalleryWalkIllustrationI love the 124th street galleries. They are concentrated in a little walkable area suited to a Saturday stroll. Some of my favourites are having openings this weekend. That generally means the artist is in attendance, and there are snacks. Can't get much better than that.

Peter Robertson Gallery

Double Blind, by Paul Bernhardt, is one of two shows opening this weekend at the Peter Robertson Gallery. The write-up begins by reflecting that,

"Our tenuous faith in science and technology's ability to solve society's most pressing crises, which tend to be ethical in nature, is interrogated in Berhardt's recent work.”

Check it out at

The Front Gallery

Another favourite spot of mine, The Front Gallery houses a great selection of artists. The show opening from Paddy Lamb looks to be no exception.

"Paddy's work explores the imprint of society on nature in a variety of locations, offering a personal narrative concerning human migration and attachment to the land. His recent work explores aspects of abandonment, neglect and disuse as part of the physical landscape.” (from the show invite)


EPL Makerspace

The EPL Makerspace is just a miracle of democracy to me. At the downtown public library, there is now a room packed with computers and digital goodies for making all sorts of digital creations. Keyboards for making  music. A giant green-screen for photography and filming. All the professional software you could want. A 3D Printer. A book-making machine. The possibilities are huge. Oh, and it's all free to use. You only pay for the hard-costs on what you produce (the paper for a book, for instance). If you haven't dropped into the Makerspace yet, you really should.

According the to video above, the EPL Makerspace even has a banana-piano?

Night of Artists

Not quite in Edmonton, Night of Artists takes place over the weekend at the St.Albert Enjoy Centre - a glass-walled sanctuary from the lengthy winter, made all the better when filled with local art.

With a couple of evening gala events, and plenty of time for afternoon strolls through the many represented artists on Saturday and Sunday, it may be worth a short trip out of town to check out this long-running event from Phil Alain and friend Lewis Lavoie.

From the NOA website,

"Night of Artists is designed as an opportunity for artists to showcase their artworks with other artists through a fun and exciting event that appeals to the masses. The idea behind the show is based on collaboration and team work. Thus the shows success for over 16 years has been a reflection of community coming together in support of the arts."

Get all the details at

Here is the video trailer for the event.

(Thanks to artist Jennifer Noseworthy, who will be displaying work at Night of Artists, for pointing this out to us on Facebook!)

Edmonton's Neon Sign Museum

I plan on driving by this weekend to check out this new kid on the museum block in Edmonton. I love vintage signage – especially vintage neon signage – so I just cannot wait to see what is only the beginning of this unique outdoor museum project.

Thanks to Eli Ritz for point us towards this post full of (finally!) awesome photos of the Neon Sign Museum -

What is Your Edmonton Awesome?

What are you loving in Edmonton this week? Share your recommendations in the comments below.

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

ArtsTalk Tuesday: AGA and Edmonton Odes

It's Tuesday - let's talk art. This week, I've been listening to Bridge Songs: Dear Edmonton, song submissions, and learned a bit about what it means to be an Edmontonian. I've also paid a visit to Lyndal Osborne's massive retrospective at the AGA. Wow.

What art, media and culture have you engaged with this past week? What would you recommend and why?


Art is best enjoyed and digested in community, so this is our weekly space to have those conversations - to practice discernment as a collective.

So, what are you watching, visiting, listening to, reading, etc?

Where have the arts taken you this week?


Blog for Bleeding Heart!

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

Friday Finds: 5 and a Half Christmas Gifts

Tis’ The Season! In today’s Friday Finds, I reach into the internet's velvety crimson bag of gifts and pull out presents to bless your bleeding hearts! Incidentally, the bag glows and jingles every time I open it, just like in Ernest Saves Christmas. Each of these five finds have been gifts to me, and I pray they are gifts to you as well. Each one may just ‘make your spirit bright’ as you take a moment out of the hustle and bustle of holiday preparations to unwrap them in the warm glow of your screen.

Merry Christmas!

1 Gift of Vision

This week you’ve likely already heard that Apple’s new Christmas commercial was filmed right here in Edmonton. For some fanboys, this is a pretty big deal. Like me.

But beyond the ‘celebrity visitation’ story here, the Journal’s Paula Simons points out what you may, like me, have missed in this video. The fact is, Apple’s ad team found the idyllic White Christmas, right here in Edmonton. Simons’ piece elevates a simple acknowledgement or even review of the Apple ad, instead offering a gift of renewed vision to Edmonton residents, in the middle of a long hard winter.

Dear Edmonton, the world thinks you’re beautiful.

Read Simon’s wonderful bit of writing here >

3 (and a half) Gifts of Song

There are so many free Christmas EP's that come out every year, it's hard to take any of them seriously. One might wonder whether this has become a gimmicky way for artists to promote themselves. Oh heck, I'm beyond wondering.

But still, through the clutter some diamonds still shine. Here are three free Christmas albums (donations are always welcome on Noisetrade) that offer something a little different. These are three collections I have found worth downloading, and think you will too.

Merry Christmas. Good Night. Vol 3

This collection is full of songs striking the rare balance between 'modern' and 'reverent'. It actually plays as much like an indie worship album as a Christmas album. My main reason for downloading was the track Winter Wind by local artists and friends L’Ampersand. I really dig the electric piano opening and the strings later on in the song. It's not the only gem you'll find here though. Sean Carter's Glory of Men is particularly beautiful.

The Songs the Season Brings Vol 3. Beta Radio

Any album that starts out with the track The Carol of the Banjos has my attention. Again, what drew me in is not the only, or even the best, track on the album. The original song, The Songs the Season Brings is an excellent bit of indie Americana.

Hey Rosetta!, A Cup of Kindness Yet

The first song on this Christmas EP from last year, Carry Me Home, is just incredible - my favourite original Christmas song in a long while and well worth the download. Thankfully, the other three songs are beautiful, too.

OK, One More

This one is gonna cost you, but I promise it is worth it. My favourite Christmas discovery this year is by Bahamas, from a little compilation a couple of years old that I'd never heard of. Bahamas cover of Christmas Must Be Tonight, by The Band, is just heart-breakingly beautiful. Oh, that guitar!

Do yourself a favour and pay the $1.29 to download the track on iTunes. Do it now!

1 Gift of Inspiration

It seems every month or so I come across another inspiring story about Pope Francis. The latest comes from local writer and friend Stephen Berg, whose blog Grow Mercy is a constant gift itself (you really should subscribe).

Stephen writes of Pope Francis' challenge to ‘unfettered capitalism’, in favour of ‘the unfettered gospel’. Just days from celebrating Christ's breaking-through, this is a very good read and a reminder that loving your neighbour comes at a cost.

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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.