Listen to this archival recording from the Paul D. Fleck Library and Archives at The Banff Centre, featuring a 1993 episode of “This Week in Banff”, a joint production of the Centre and CKUA Radio.
“Made in Banff, Shared with the World” is how we express our commitment to documenting and sharing many of the wonderful works that take place here at The Banff Centre. And while the focus is largely on new works from current events and activities, my job at the Centre is looking at the historical recordings hidden deep in the archives. I’ve been spending my time listening to talks, lectures, readings, interviews, and performances, all of which took place here in Banff over the last 30-plus years. I truly have one of the greatest jobs ever, and while I’m here I’m hoping to share some of these great finds with you.
One collection I’ve been enjoying is the former radio program “This Week in Banff”, which was jointly produced by The Banff Centre for the Arts and CKUA, and ran from the late ‘80s to the mid ‘90s. “This Week in Banff” was designed to inform listeners about major events happening at the Centre, and also featured interviews with the people behind the scenes that made it all possible. Two such individuals were Otto Keyes and Ted Sambell, both former head piano tuners at the then-named Banff Centre for the Arts. Both were featured in their own episode, Keyes in 1989 and Sambell in 1993. What struck me in both these episodes was just how much work goes into the maintenance of the Centre’s 102 pianos. Continue Reading →
I recently sat down with my mentor and fellow art librarian, Suzanne Rackover, to ask her some questions about artists’ books and book art – two genres of art that many are not even aware of. The Banff Centre’s Paul D. Fleck Library & Archives boasts an impressive collection of both genres, which I have been fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with. Here’s a snippet from our conversation:
What is an artist’s book exactly?
If you asked 10 people this question you would get 10 different answers. Artists’ books usually, but not always, take the form of a book and incorporate text, photos, prints, graphics, and many other things. Artists’ books are often inexpensive and made in larger editions than book art. Some people even suggest that to be an artists’ book the edition size has to be at least 100 copies. A general definition that I work with is that if an artist says the book is an artist’s book then it’s an artists’ book!
So then what is book art?
Book art is more about the craft of book-making. Often book art will include handmade papers, special bindings, hand printing, complex construction, and perhaps complicated cut-outs. Book art is also often limited to a smaller edition, something in the ballpark of 10 copies or less. Continue Reading →
We just received word that we have also been awarded LEED Gold Certification for the redevelopment of the Donald Cameron Centre!
I have fond memories of the day we gathered here at The Banff Centre in July 2009 for the official opening celebrations of a brand new building on campus, the Kinnear Centre for Creativity & Innovation. To mark the occasion, there were aerial dancers gracing the vertical height of the building, a guest appearance and speech by Prince Edward, First Nations blessings, and stirring musical performances.An equally proud day came in December 2012, when it was learned that the Kinnear Centre had attained LEED® Gold Certification for New Construction. The Kinnear Centre became the first building in Banff National Park to earn this new construction benchmark that is recognized worldwide for design, construction, and operation of high environmental performance buildings.
Even if you have spent time in the Kinnear Centre taking a program, attending a workshop, or participating in a conference, there are many things you wouldn’t see upon first glance that together have helped create a building that is not only beautiful and functional, but also very, very green. Continue Reading →
Taking in the collection of Hanuman Books on display in The Banff Centre’s library is a brilliant way to spend some time appreciating not only artwork, but also the somewhat lesser-known writings of eminent artists and thinkers of the mid-20th century. You might find me on a short break in my role as a work study in the library reading through Hanuman books by Bob Dylan, William S. Burroughs, Allen Ginsberg, Willem de Kooning, or Jack Kerouac.
The publishing house Hanuman Books was founded by editor Raymond Foye and artist Francesco Clemente in 1986. The Paul D. Fleck Libary & Archives owns 46 of the 50 titles in the Hanuman Books series. These books are considered art miniatures and modern talismans, evoking the mystical charm of the traditional Hindu prayer book.
After successfully collaborating on the book La partenza dell’Argonauta, Foye and Clemente wanted to create a publication that would incorporate both art and literature and decided to start a small artists’ book press named after their favorite Hindu deity, Hanuman, the mighty ape who is worshiped as a symbol of physical strength, perseverance, and devotion. Continue Reading →
While digging through The Banff Centre’s history, I encountered Elizabeth Sterling Haynes (1897-1957). Haynes was named director of the Banff summer theatre arts course offered by the University of Alberta’s Department of Extension in 1933. Haynes was a passionate advocate for theatre arts education. She mentored many young Albertan playwrights and stage actors, including Elsie Park Gowan, Gwen Pharis Ringwood, and Tom Peacocke. I thought I’d ask Haynes a few questions to find out about her passion and vision.
What was your first impression of theatre in Alberta?
I had just come here [Edmonton] from Toronto, back in the early ‘Twenties, and it was forty-five below on that dark winter’s morning. The little villages which I had glimpsed through holes scratched in the frost on the train windows, had seemed so stark and… uninhabited in the dirtied snow that I felt very disconsolate and uprooted. Then, as we turned into the old Barootes Café, I saw this playbill announcing a first-rate English company’s production of Galsworthy’s The Skin Game. I went, and I have never forgotten the performance.
In your opinion what makes theatre just as important to a rural community, as it is to a large urban centre? Drama had its inception in the natural vigour and vitality of rural village life… after the last century of elaborate, artificial, and highly commercialized show houses, it should go back to the source from which it sprang to be refreshed, revived, and strengthened…The people’s theatre is an ageless idea springing ever fresh from the hearts of humanity. Continue Reading →