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Since 1979 • Spring-Summer 2021 • Circulation 5000

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Quarters Arts’ GLOW Was a Go

Saturday night in Boyle Street, COVID-style.

A lit GLOW sign and lantern outside of CO*LAB. Supplied by CO*LAB

On Saturday March 20, my Boyle Street neighbour Audrey Whitson and I attended the Annual Spring Equinox Light Sculpture Exhibit (GLOW). I was interested because I had previously participated in several of the Quarters Arts Society’s truly magical spring lantern parades.

But in view of COVID-19 restrictions and limitations, I was not expecting much this time around. I thought it would primarily be an opportunity to get some steps on my Fitbit by walking to and from the new CO*LAB arts space, located at 9641-102A Avenue.

I was wrong. Quarters Arts managed to produce an event that was different but still wonderful. A carefully limited audience sat around fire pits in the courtyard at the back. We were asked to stay for only 30 minutes so that others could be admitted without over-extending the COVID limits.

A line-up of performers – several musicians and a poet – entertained us from inside the building. We watched them through the open doors and on a screen in the courtyard area. Through the building’s warehouse windows, we could see restored lanterns from previous GLOW parades, along with artwork from the iHuman Youth Society. As a bonus, we admired the courtyard’s spectacular view of downtown Edmonton.

Three enormous 15-by-7-foot inflatable chickadees had been installed on the building’s roof. Unfortunately, the birds had to come down that evening because of high winds.

During our allotted time there, Audrey and I were introduced to Chubby Cree, an Indigenous hand drum group consisting of the remarkable 11-year-old vocalist, Noah Green, and his grandmother, Carol Powder. This group is receiving worldwide attention online. The performances were also streamed live and remain accessible online at colabyeg.ca.

Lorin Klask, Quarters Arts artistic director, lives in the community. She says Boyle Street has “always been full of life.” Yet, because CO*LAB was established during the pandemic, it faces many challenges.

“GLOW’s success makes me hopeful,” Klask says. “We would like to offer similar events through the spring and summer. The livestreaming component is good, but not everybody wants to watch a screen after working from home all day via Zoom and other media platforms.”

Quarters Arts, a non-profit society, engages in citizen-led projects that honour the heritage and explore the diversity of Boyle Street. For details about its community-run arts facility go to “colabyeg.ca”:https://colabyeg.ca. Follow the links to donate, volunteer, and watch the GLOW performances.

Anita Jenkins is a retired writer and editor who lives in Boyle Street.

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