Alberta Culture Days for Strathmore is coming up on September 16, and to celebrate the Strathmore Library made many of our local artists the Library Artists of the Month.

Many of our talented community artists displayed a piece celebrating our community and showcasing what Strathmore and Alberta culture means to them. Among these artists is Amber Scarlett, and she explained she created her piece specifically to highlight unique aspects of Strathmore and area's culture.

"I wanted to put the main focus to be having a cowboy hat and everything because we have lots of farmers around Strathmore. You can go to Sobeys and you'll see people wearing cowboy boots all the time," Scarlett said.

artScarlett's piece 

She also wanted to add the mountain landscape because of the rocky mountains that are so close to us, animals to celebrate our farmers, rodeo, and general animal lovers, and the water ties the whole piece together to give it a full landscape celebrating Strathmore's and Alberta's nature. For Scarlett, nature also represents freedom, which she believes is a big part of Strathmore's culture since there are so many different opportunities to pursue your passions here.

"Just having the freedom to do lots of different creative things... I'm more towards the art and with Strathmore there's lots of different opportunities for everyone, there's the Vault and the Wheatland Society of Arts, and of course the Library."

Scarlett strongly believes in the importance of these art groups in town, as she says having opportunities to pursue art shouldn't be taken for granted and can mean a lot to a community. 

"It just gives the ability for everyone to have a chance to do art because in some places you won't have the opportunity or it'll be too pricey and everything. So here, there's a really good chance for everyone to enjoy it," she said. 

Francine Cunningham is another featured artist, and her piece focuses more on Alberta culture as a whole since she frequently travels all across the province. Drawing on her Cree-Metis Indigenous background, she said this painting is the first of several in a series where the main concept is "The Spirits of the Land."

"This is like the spirit of winter that's coming to envelop the mountains as we go through the season change right now. Typically around this time of year is when I start to go up north to teach and I usually go to smaller Indigenous communities and I work with the youth. Usually, around this time of year, I get a call like I just feel like I need to go north, I need to be where the winter is, where that chill is on the air," Cunningham said.

artCunningham's piece

Similar to Scarlett, Cunningham put a large emphasis on our Rocky Mountains, as she says the Rockies on the horizon "is just something I grew up with." To celebrate our Indigenous culture in the province, the mountains are depicted as teepees. Cunningham described the Rocky Mountains as being comforting for her, which could also be the theme of the entire painting, as the Spirit of Winter seems to be giving the land a big hug.

"The season changes are there for a reason and they're beautiful and whether or not you like a specific season or not, I think they all serve a function and a purpose, and I think there's something comforting about them happening at the same time every year," she said.

Even though Cunningham is not from Siksika Nation, she knows that Siksika and Indigenous culture is a big part of Strathmore's identity and is happy to see that celebrated in our community in many ways. She specifically pointed to the Healing Garden right outside of the municipal building, saying it's "really beautiful to have that at the centre of town."

Alberta Culture Days in Strathmore is being celebrated on the 16, but the art will be displayed in the library for the entire month so you will have plenty of opportunities to see the work of our talented community members for the rest of the month.

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