Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Alberta Arts Days activities in the Historic Clay District

Medicine Hat –Robert Harrison, the man behind the Historic Clay District’s easily-recognizable sculpture – the Medaltarch – will be speaking at the Medalta Potteries National Historic Site at 5:30pm on Saturday, September 19, as part of Medicine Hat’s celebration of Alberta Arts Days.

The Canadian-born artist has gained international attention as a ceramic artist and sculptor. Over the course of his career, Harrison has held many prominent positions in both Canada and the United States. He is the Past-President of the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts (NCECA), was President of the Board at the Archie Bray Foundation in Helena, Montana and served one year as Head of the Ceramics Department at the Banff Centre for the Arts.

Harrison’s sculpture at the Medalta Potteries National Historic Site – the Medaltarch – was created during his time as an artist in the Medalta International Artists in Residence (MIAIR) program in 1999 and is an example of his site-specific sculptures that can be found in Hungary, Italy, Taiwan and other locations around the world.

Les Manning, the Artistic Director of the MIAIR program from 2001-2009, is thrilled to have Harrison in Medicine Hat. “As an artist, Robert works outside the norm in that his installations are historic sculpture. Not many ceramic artists challenge this area as much as he or have been as successful in taking it to an international audience.” He encourages people to take the opportunity to hear him speak. “Whenever artists of this magnitude visit Medicine Hat – especially someone with the connection he has [with the Medaltarch] – they are worth hearing.”

Saturday, September 19 is a busy day for the Historic Clay District as it celebrates Alberta Arts Days. In addition to Harrison’s talk, the Historic Clay District is also offering free, two-hour pottery classes and a museum open house with hourly demonstrations in the Working Pottery. Anyone interested in hearing Harrison speak or participating in the classes are encouraged to contact the Historic Clay District at 403.529.1070.

The Historic Clay District is one of eight tourism attractors in the Canadian Badlands, featured in AMA’s “Alberta 100 Journeys” and is Western Canada’s largest National Historic Site. The museum – in the Medalta Potteries National Historic Site – provides visitors a unique opportunity to visit a restored 1912 pottery factory, which once produced three-quarters of all stoneware in Canada. It is operated under the stewardship of the Friends of Medalta Society.

The Medalta International Artists in Residence (MIAIR) program is a world-class ceramic arts residency operated out of the Shaw International Centre for Contemporary Ceramics in Medicine Hat’s Historic Clay District. MIAIR will begin offering year-round artistic programming in 2010, is twelfth year of operation. The program has brought international attention to Medicine Hat and continues the city’s rich clay tradition through contemporary ceramics.

For more information, interviews or visuals, contact:

Quentin Randall




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