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June 01, 2018

Artistic inspiration

Homebuilders shine spotlight on Calgary’s artistic community

Pepper Rodriguez

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Touring show homes in Calgary, one can expect a few things — inspirational design ideas, aspitrational lifestyle goals and maybe thoughts on where to build your next home. What many might not expect is seeing a painting or a sculpture done by a local artist.


With the ton of foot traffic show homes tend to generate, show homes present the ideal environment to showcase emerging local artists and expose their creations to the public.

“It’s not only a way of beautifying our show homes but also a way for us to give back to the community by supporting local artists,” says Baywest Homes’ marketing manager, Sandi Serr. Baywest’s recently opened show homes in Ranchers’ Rise in Okotoks and in Cranston’s Riverstone display paintings from their Emerging Artists Program.

Homes by Avi has been involved in the local art scene for the last decade with their annual Dream Home Artist. The program gives a chosen local artist much needed exposure by introducing their art to the public in the yearly Stampede Dream Home grand prize. Many of their past winners have gone on to acclaim with this program as their launch pad.

Remington Developments has also discovered the beauty of art in the show homes, not just because of the instant air of culture and sophistication they lend, but because this is their way of supporting the local artistic community. They also want to play matchmaker between their buyers and local artists for works they think will match their line of luxury condos and townhomes.

The Emerging Artist Program

Art also has a way of retaining the viewer’s memory, which works in favour of the show homes, too. “Art makes our lives joyful and creates the atmosphere that we want to live in, which is personable to us,” says Baywest’s Sandi Serr. “Art is everywhere influencing us by having an impact on our mood and emotions.”

Baywest Homes’ Emerging Artists Program helps local artists bridge the gap from emerging to established. “Our vision of this program allows our Show Home Designer to select artists paintings through blinded entries and then we sponsor and feature talented artist’s work in our show homes.”

Currently, they have the works of Mindi Oaten and Marnie Joy Erickson gracing their show homes in Cranston’s Riverstone.

Mindi is a self taught painter and paints in acrylic and occasionally draws in charcoal as portrayed in the Cranston’s Riverstone Showhome. Mindi’s art is more realistic and impressionistic in style.

Marnie works in a variety of mixed mediums and has a love for capturing the beauty of wildlife. She believes a home should be filled with art that makes you happy. “Art matters — it makes a difference in life,” says Marnie.

In their newly opened show homes in Ranchers Rise in Okotoks, Baywest chose to display the works of Terri Heinrichs and Doug Farris.

Doug works primarily with oil paint on canvas or board, and his paintings depict nature through various compositions and landscapes. “The local landscape is just so rich in natural beauty that inspires my artwork,” he says.

Terri is a self-taught artist who views every experience as an opportunity to learn and experiment with her artwork. Her art isn’t the only way she gives back to the community, as Terri had set up The Alberta Flood Rose Project in order to bring the Calgary visual arts community together to raise money for the victims of the 2013 floods in southern Alberta.

Dream Home Artist

Bringing art in show homes isn’t an entirely new concept. Homes by Avi pioneered the inclusion of works by local artists in a show home with their Dream Home Artist Project that has been around for 10 years.

The Dream Home Artist Project is an opportunity to showcase the talent of local artists to the world. Every year, the Dream Home hosts visitors from around the world during the 10 day Calgary Stampede, and it presents an exciting opportunity for selected artist to get noticed.

“This is our 10th year running the program. Giving back to the community has always been at the heart of our company,” says Christian Orme, Homes by Avi’s Corporate Marketing Manager. “We saw this as an opportunity to support the art community and emerging artists. To have their work seen by over 150,000 people is an exceptional opportunity that we’re proud to be a part of.”

Products of the Homes by Avi program include such local art scene luminaries as Sheila Kernan, Brad Holt, and the Hoogveld sisters.

“Sheila Kernan is doing exceptionally well, she is probably our most successful artist. Brad Holt (Holt Fine Art), David Zimmerman and Caroline Stanley have all seen success from the program as well. Michelle Hoogveld did an installation for the city after her and her sisted, Stephanie, won on 2015.”

This year’s winner of Homes by Avi’s Dream Home Project is Tiffany Cuffley joins the esteemed ranks. Her body of work fit the mid-century chic design of this year’s Stampede Rotary Dream Home that is soon to be unveiled at the Stampede grounds.

“The Dream Home is such an amazing opportunity for artists in Calgary to share their work with the public and I think it’s the perfect platform to advocate for the future of art in this city,” Cuffley says.

Quarry Park art

Remington Developments has also got into the act and has converted the second floor of their presentation centre in Quarry Park as a de facto art gallery. Their art support program takes a much more direct approach as they actively search for artists whose works they believe buyers of their ultra-luxurious condos and townhomes will fall in love with.

They use the help of ArtMatch, a local company that offers matchmaking service between local artists and people looking for affordable and original art.

“We decide which artists work we liked the look of and that matched what our clients might be interested in,” says Adrienne McGarvey of Remington Developments’ residential sales team. “We then have a different artist’s work in every three months. We also have just a few pieces from Art Match around the gallery too.”

It is a two way street, too, as not only does the exposure help out unknown artists, but having the art pieces decorate the presentation centre further augments Remington Developments’ brand of luxury condos and townhomes. “It helps us establish the image we want to portray to our clients,” McGarvey says.

Remington Developments is currently displaying the works of Dawn Thrasher at the presentation centre. Dawn’s rich landscape paintings speak of her world.

“Painting articulates my response to the tapestry of nature. Landscape is my muse,” Dawn says. “How the natural world presents itself to me is as much about how it feels as how it appears. Drawing helps me understand the geography and geometry of things through building a personal connection with the subject.”

Next time you’re at one of these show homes open your eyes to the possibility of design and how much art can give your home its own personality.

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