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Foothills studios and galleries hosting Most Beautiful Art Tour

Six studios and galleries are opening their doors for Most Beautiful Art Tour in Alberta on Sept. 22 and 23.
Bluerock Gallery in Black Diamond (now Diamond Valley), July 31, 2021. (File photo Brent Calver/Western Wheel)

Foothills artists and galleries will be on display next weekend.

As the aptly named Most Beautiful Art Tour in Alberta kicks off Sept. 22 and 23, six studios and galleries will open their doors for art-lovers near and far, including Bluerock Gallery, the Leighton Art Centre, Firebrand Glass Studio, Kristoferson Studio, the Okotoks Art Gallery and the studio of Mady Thiel-Kopstein.

“The tour goes very well, it attracts people from all over, Alberta and beyond, it gets a lot of attention and attraction, for the area and for the artists,” said Tarek Nemr, co-owner of Bluerock Gallery.

“As an art gallery, we’re always talking about artists, talking about artists' works, we’re always saying this is how this or that is made. During the tour, it’s an opportunity to go out and see the artists yourself, see how the glass blowing happens, see how the magic happens.”

Showcasing the Foothills to not just the residents within, but from far and wide, Nemr said many are taken aback at the talent in the area.

“That’s one of those elements of surprise, people walk in the door and say they didn’t expect to see this fine art in a small town like Diamond Valley. Slowly they learn that this area is really rich with artists and craftspeople,” Nemr said.

“We can’t really explain it, per se, but we say of course artists will chose nature and choose to be surrounded by beauty.”

Amanda MacKay, director of marketing and communications for the Leighton Art Centre, echoed those sentiments, and enjoys how neatly the event packages the experience.

“The tour makes takes the guesswork out of the experience and also ensures access to studios that are usually open by appointment only,” MacKay said.

“Here at Leighton Art Centre, we'll be welcoming visitors to two recently opened exhibitions in our gallery. One is 'walking is traditional' by Black Diamond artist Bruno Canadien and the other is 'Hey You! Land!' by a small group of artists affiliated with National accessArts Centre.

“Both exhibitions explore connections between the artists and their environments, reconciliation and belonging.”

The Most Beautiful Art Tour in Alberta isn’t just about the art, but also showcasing the beauty of the region, showcasing the varied character of the Foothills and its communities.

“Our non-profit centre enjoys incredible views of the Foothills and Rockies, plus we have several kilometres of walking paths and an all-local gallery shop offering works by dozens of artists who work in many mediums,” MacKay pointed out.

The common adage of the journey being as important as the destination fits the tour, Nemr said, as the route takes visitors on a meandering and picturesque route.

"At the same time, it makes the trip more rewarding,” he said.  

“When people come through the tour, they will be seeing the changing season, seeing the fall colours all around on their day trip, so that’s even more beautiful and inspiring.”

The tour is sponsored for the second year by the Westwood Restaurant and also receives funding from the Town of Diamond Valley.

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