The Bows is an artist-run centre in Mohkínstsis (Calgary, Alberta), Treaty 7 Territory. Our core goals are: to support the development, creation, and presentation of new work by early-career artists; to provide affordable studio space for local artists; and to broaden the reach and scope of contemporary art in this city, with the ultimate, if ambitious, aim to expose this city to artistic work that explores pressing contemporary issues. We work toward these goals with an artist-centric approach that prioritizes the wholesale support of artists; creative and radical uses of spaces outside of the gallery; and a curatorial focus on projects and practices that dovetail with the specific socio-political, cultural, colonial, economic, and Indigenous histories and contexts of this province. Ultimately, The Bows strives to empower and support artists to imagine radical futures, and to invite those inside and outside of our community to be co-conspirators in realizing such futures.
We gratefully acknowledge funding from the Canada Council for the Arts, Alberta Foundation for the Arts, and Calgary Arts Development. Recent project funders include the Rozsa Foundation, the Calgary Foundation, Alberta Culture and Tourism, and the Alberta Foundation for the Arts, and ongoing support from Resolve Photo. We are a grateful recipient of one of the inaugural Lacey Prizes.
The Bows (formerly Untitled Art Society) was founded in 1994 in Mohkínstsis (Calgary, Alberta), Treaty 7 Territory, by a group of recent graduates of the Alberta College of Art + Design (now Alberta University of the Arts); these young artists created a studio collective as a means to continue to support each other, and their surrounding community, in the challenging environs outside of the structures of post-secondary arts education. In the context of the volatile real estate landscape in Alberta—reflective of the province’s boom-or-bust fluctuations—The Bows has been a steadfast cultural hub that has provided not only much-needed, affordable, physical space for artists to undertake their work, but also the non-material structures of community within which such work thrives. In the 25 years since our founding, this spirit of collaboration and support has guided the organization as we continue to learn, re-orient and grow.
In 2011, the organization rented a storefront gallery to provide a space for artists and curators to see new experimental and critical projects come to fruition, and for such projects to interface with a wider public. Since the acquisition of the gallery space, The Bows' programming has expanded to include four major exhibitions a year, a robust publishing programme, experimental programming outside of the gallery space, talks, workshops, and international presentations of work by early-career Canadian artists. Currently, The Bows presents programming inside and outside of our gallery space, and maintains 23 subsidized studio spaces. As such, our organization supports not only the making of art by way of affordable studios, but also the presentation of art for diverse publics in Calgary and further afield.
2001B 10th Ave SW
Calgary, AB T3C 0K4
Thursday to Saturday,
Box 16 (4th floor)
319 - 10th Avenue, SW
Calgary, AB T2R 0A5
Please contact studios[at]thebows[dot]org for all enquiries.
Natalie Melara / President
Katerina Maragos / Vice-President
Kelsey Deventurda / Secretary / Treasurer
Ainslee Anne Beer
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