Arts & Entertainment
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The solidarity of many ones at Calgary group art show

Grassroots arts exhibition opens and closes Jan 11 at 11:11

GOING BIG. Calgary Meals on Wheels donated its large new warehouse for the 1111 Group Exhibition, which will feature many local queer artists. Credit: photo courtesy of 1111

Numerology, art and activism collide this weekend in Calgary for the 1111 group art exhibition show featuring art from 1111 local artists. Painting, photography, sculpture, music and performance art will be on display from 11:11am to 11:11pm on Jan 11.

Paul Hughes, the main instigator and ringleader of the 1111’s curatorial team, has been inspired and excited by the community’s response to the show.

“The core of 1111’s mission is to increase public knowledge, understanding and appreciation of both local art and contemporary art in Calgary,” he says. “We particularly wanted to embrace creators who need to express themselves and may have encountered some kind of barriers or blockage.”

To that end queer artists have been invited by the dozens to participate in the group show and most have accepted.

Hughes adds, “We are not turning away anyone and a remarkable result is the surprising depth, range, talent and skill of Calgary’s artistic community; we really are blessed with gifted artists.”

Psychologically the 1111 show associates itself with the historic Salon des Refusés in 19th century Paris. Translated as “the exhibition of rejects,” the show was a response by impressionist artists who were being rejected by the Paris art establishment of the day.

In a strange modern-day twist, 1111 found itself searching for new digs after being denied space by the Art Gallery of Calgary, who had previously embraced the show as a symbol of its renewed community engagement goals. After a month of venue related drama, where the curators proposed breaking 1111 into 11 smaller venues, an angel donor was found in the charity Calgary Meals on Wheels.

“Calgary Meals on Wheels had just bought this new warehouse and are still fundraising for the construction costs of their space, so they offered us their 30,000 square feet warehouse for free,” Hughes explains.

More than triple the size of the original plan, Hughes sent a call out to participating artists encouraging them to bring up to 11 pieces of art as opposed to the original one.

1111 has created significant buzz in the city and is free to the public, whom Hughes hopes will turn out in droves to see what he claims will be an optical orgy. “1111 is a family reunion where everyone’s last name is artist,” he says.