Buckskin boots, popcorn and singing telegrams…

Well, it has been a while since the last update on Habitat!

In case you haven’t noticed we do put updates on the link to the right called HABITAT HUMPDAY NEWS...middle of the week updates.  Please check it out for future happenings.

What has been taking our energy and attention this past month and more is the Rivers Rails and Roads program for this year.  To celebrate the BiCentennial of David Thompson’s trek through Jasper in 1811 we came up with a few innovative ideas that got the attention of Canadian Heritage and the Municipality and we are bringing them to life this year!

One project is Childrens Theatre.  There is a great novel written about growing up in Jasper by John McLay.  ‘On Mountain Top Rock‘ tells the story of two young people, Jenny and Edward, and their everyday adventures of the 1950’s.  The novel is a journey back in time, through our alleys and our heritage homes.  Always on the lookout for treasures, Jenny and Edward spend a bit of time dreaming of finding David Thompson’s cache by the Athabasca River.  This novel is read in Alberta schools as part of the curriculum for Alberta studies.  With the help of Canadian Heritage and the Town of Jasper we are seeking writers to take the novel to stageplay to enhance the curriculum offerings with a theatrical component to reading the novel!  If you have an interest in writing Childrens Historical Fiction…call us to find out how to submit your treatment.

A mural project, involving the community, will see two 4×8 foot mosaic murals installed at the Habitat after completion – until the new cultural spaces the Town is contemplating are brought to life!  Ah – yes…we have been busy these past few months.  Jasper is getting a new addition to the Library.  Included in that addition is a space for culture.  The Habitat and Jasper Artists Guild have been invited to be part of the new space.  Very exciting!

If you look closely you will see a patio like structure on the top left corner with a person.  Habitat will be on the second floor with new clay, sculpture, theatre, music and video spaces as well as a classroom…and even an office!  (Presently Hab’s office is a drawer in the lunch room!)

Back to the murals…June 12th’s community BBQ will allow the community the chance to start the project…and most likely it will continue and complete on Canada Day at the Museum.  All materials supplied – we just need your imagination!!  Stop by the Arts Jasper and Habitat table on June 12 at the BBQ and July 1st at the Museum after the parade.

Canada Day also sees the beginning of the Street Ambassador project.  David Thompson and Charlotte Small will be in the parade and in July they return to engage visitors for the summer – sharing historical tidbits about their Rocky Mountain experiences.  (David’s buckskin boots arrived this week!)  Watch for them at the Info Centre in the evenings – take the information handouts  they offer and register yourself with participating partners.  At the end of the summer we will be taking the handouts that were registered and naming a star after someone.   Jasper was awarded the status of a DARK SKY PRESERVE (the largest in the world) by the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada this year.  So when we say that we will name a star after someone – we mean a celestial star!  There may be days when Charlotte can’t get to town so Edith Cavell and Mary Schaffer have offered to share stories too.  Watch for these heritage characters…and learn a bit more about the Jasper of days gone by.

Speaking of days gone by…did you know that 40 years ago there was a theatre troupe in Jasper that put on an annual production called The Jasper Story.  It had a cast of over 100, horses and wagons, a sound track and ended with the rising of a totem pole!  Well…as part of the RIVERS RAILS AND ROADS program we shall bring a piece of this story back to stage for Arts Days this year.  The annual Variety Hour on October 2nd will offer you a glimpse at the Jasper Story.

And to wind up a summer of programs…we offer a look at the history of travel with an exhibition from the Alberta Foundation for the Arts.  A look at travel through the medium of art! Rivers Rails and Roads will hang in the Peoples Gallery at Habitat for the month of September.

Which brings us to the ARTS WITH ALTITUDE FESTIVAL in connection to the provincially sponsored ARTS DAYS!!!  Last year Arts Days and Canada’s Culture Days fell on separate weekends.  Jasper bridged those two weekends with a full 10 days of programming – the resulting week long festival caught the attention of CBC…Jasper came in 2nd as CBC’s CULTUREVILLE!  This year we will be first.

Please check us out on Facebook – Jasper Community Habitat for the Arts –  as we grow towards Arts Days…here are a few teasers that we invite YOU to be part of:

Sept 23 -26 – Artists in the Pines, music, workshops, food and more.

Sept 24, A Community Theatre under the direction of Grace Kohn will present Star Art on Earth.  A Dark Sky event.

Sept 24 25, Artcetera , check out whats happening on the streets around you.  Music in cafes, poets under the stars, artists in the streets…

Sept 26-29, A Vintage Film Festival, Rose Marie / Emperors Waltz and River of No Return!  At the Habitat 7pm nightly

Sept 30, Black Tie After Dinner ARTS AWARDS, be part of Jasper’s first arts and cultural awards night – followed by an Arts Jasper JAZZ night.  Limo service available!  (which brings me to the title of this post…singing telegrams!  We presented Jasper’s Cultural Pillar recipient with her letter of recognition this week so her interview could be arranged…via singing telegram!  And it was delightful…Erin sang beautifully – one of the many arts services Habitat offers!  a wee commercial here – ask us about booking a singing telegram through Habitat 780.852.4747)

October 1, Robson Park will come alive with a one day festival of music, workshops, art and culture.

October 2, the return of Bowls with Soul, the Cake Off, and a Variety Show.  This year someone from the Variety Show will also become a star…a celestial star will be named in their honour to celebrate our Dark Sky status.

To find out how you can volunteer, exhibit, or be part of these events contact the Habitat 780.852.4747.  Other groups that will be involved and need assistance are the Folk n Blues Society, Jasper Artists Guild, Arts Jasper, ACFA…or just call Habitat and we will connect you.


(Oh popcorn…I spent my morning cleaning the popcorn machine after last weeks successful theatre production by ACT – A Community Theatre.  Nothing makes a theatre smell like a theatre like fresh popped popcorn!)

ACT and the Braden Gates fiddle workshops (that ended in a square dancing) were filmed and will be posted at a future date.  It is unfortunate that you can’t all spend a month in the life of Habitat with us…it is full of the things that make Jasper special!

As a tribute to the power of art – and the new movement by organizations to use social theatre…we actually had a wee bit of social theatre take off from Habitat a few weeks ago. Check out the video on YouTube!


Leave a Reply