Sale displays art in unique setting

Foothills: Leighton Art Centre hosts annual clothesline festival this weekend

By: Tammy Rollie

  |  Posted: Wednesday, May 28, 2014 08:28 am

A woman checks out a variety of paintings at a previous Clothesline Festival and Art Sale at the Leighton Art Centre. This year’s event takes place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on May 31 and June 1.
A woman checks out a variety of paintings at a previous Clothesline Festival and Art Sale at the Leighton Art Centre. This year’s event takes place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on May 31 and June 1.
Wheel File Photo

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A foothills art centre isn’t interested in displaying the work of local artists in its gallery this weekend — it’s using a clothesline instead.

Rather than display the art neatly on hooks in typical gallery fashion, hundreds of paintings, photographs, pencil drawings and charcoal drawings will be hung with clothespins in the Leighton Art Centre’s annual Clothesline Festival and Art Sale from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on May 31 to June 1

“It’s very popular,” said Mary Dean, the centre’s managing director of the free event. “We get probably about 200 visitors over the two days.”

The Clothesline Festival and Art Show will feature 1,500 original unframed pieces created by more than 70 Calgary, foothills and surrounding area artists, as well as pottery, jewelry, glass, sculptures and fine crafts in this weekend’s unusual setting.

“It’s outdoors, which is unique,” said Dean. “If you like scenery or you like abstract or if you want acrylic or oil and photographs we run the gamut.

“You can really see everything that there is in terms of art in one place at one time. There is something for everybody.”

Finding that many artists to showcase their work is never an issue for the Leighton Art Centre staff. Dean said there is a wide range of artists living and working in the Calgary area alone.

“There’s a bit of an arts community up here,” she said. “There are a lot of people that are out here painting.”

Among the artists showcased is Melanie Pope, who attended the Alberta High School of Fine Arts at Foothills Composite High School and now lives in Calgary.

Pope has been displaying her landscape and abstract paintings at the clothesline festival for four years and revels in the opportunity to create new pieces for the event.

“For me it’s really freeing,” she said. “I can do my own thing. I really get to play around and do whatever I want and be able to showcase that.”

The Calgary artist also takes time to check out the work of other artists and often purchases some pieces for herself.

“I like the variety of the art that you get to see alongside your own work,” she said. “I also like the variety of people that come. It’s exciting seeing that many people interested in art in one place all looking and seeing what tickles their fancy. I always find little treasures there.”

Popes anticipates many people attending this weekend’s show will find some treasures of their own.

“I hope people really enjoy the show and have a chance to make a day of it,” she said.

“It’s always a good experience visiting the Leighton centre. It’s a great atmosphere.”

In addition to the wide collection of art, the Leighton Art Centre is offering live music by Calgary musicians James Thurgood, Robert Scherle, Alex Boisselle and Maria Vander Hoek, art demonstrations, children’s art activities and food trucks. The museum and gallery will also be open for people to tour, said Dean.

“Everything that you ever wanted to do with art is all here in one place,” she said. “Even if you are not interested in buying art it’s an opportunity to view different art genres and just enjoy the venue.”

For more information about the Clothesline Festival and Art Sale or the Leighton Art Centre go to


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