Arts Pass books give library users free access to Contemporary Calgary

Article content

Contemporary Calgary is lifting barriers to their exhibitions through ‘Art Pass’, a partnership with Calgary Public Library that allows people free access using a living guest book starting March 7.

There will be 105 Art Pass books that can checked out for members at any of CPL’s 21 locations or via the Libby app. The books act as a physical or digital all-access membership card to Contemporary Calgary exhibitions.

Article content

Over time, the goal is that each book will become a collection of thoughts and reflections the community has while enjoying art at Contemporary Calgary.

“This is more than just an opportunity to visit a gallery. It’s an invitation to be part of our community, to share in the experience of art, and create something together,” said Contemporary Calgary CEO David Leinster.

Calgary Public Library CEO Sarah Meilleur said, “We are bringing art and literacy together, building bridges to deeper connections and understanding in our community.”

Leinster said that this collaboration embodies the two organizations’ shared commitment to making arts and culture more accessible to Calgarians.

Taking a step away from a more traditional membership card, they are designed as sort of membership “guestbooks”, which Leinster said invites both visitation and participation.

The pages of each book are blank, allowing those that rent them to share their feedback and reflections within them through writing and drawings.

“Upon it’s return to the library, this book will serve as a living document, a guest book for the gallery. Chronicling the experiences and reflections of our community as they engage with art.”

Article content

Made possible through funding by an anonymous donor, Leinster said that the team at CPL also has been instrumental in making the books become a reality.

Contemporary Calgary CEO David Leinster and Heather Robertson, Calgary Public Library service design director, display the Arts Pass books available for check-out. Brent Calver/Postmedia

CPL service design director Heather Robertson said on top of increasing access to creative art, the Art Pass will also evoke thoughtful ideas and conversation starters.

“I look forward to seeing these Art Pass books filled with inspirational drawings, creative concepts, and anecdotes from people who have visited Contemporary Calgary,” said Robertson.

With a free CPL membership, the Art Pass can be checked out for as long as three weeks, similar to regular books. Art Pass holders will be able to access Contemporary Calgary as much as they want over that time.

Leinster said that they’re excited, in about six months time, to see what people come up with as the pages fill up. The books will cover every “square corner” of the city through CPL’s 21 branches, he said.

“That’s something we’re really interested in, because contemporary art experiences aren’t for people just with art degrees, they’re literally for everyone.”

He also mentioned that the barrier to entry at Contemporary Calgary is fairly modest, at just $20 annually for exhibition access.

Robertson said that the partnership is a win-win for both organizations, and the community.

– With files from Brent Calver

Share this article in your social network