“Carried” at Nuit Blanche 2015

Well that was quite a night! The sculptural installation we have been working on for the last several months was launched on September 26 during Nuit Blanche!


many,many prints drying in the studio … these were all part of CARRIED!

York:Moments – Carried is an independent project of Nuit Blanche 2015, Edmonton’s first all-night art party.

nuit blanche info page Carried

The Opening Reception was really busy – lots of lovely people dropped by to look waaaaay up to see the work, and to the in all of the other terrific programming at the site. A shout out to the Young Cree Singers for their beautiful voices and drumming, to Cipher 5 for the great community boards that were created that night, and to Ramshackle Day Parade for their project Connectivity – which proved to be a pretty fantastic soundtrack to the launch of Carried in to the world.

carried nuit blanche map

See our previous post for a run down on all the great stuff that happened …

ALSO: a HUGE thanks to the many volunteers who put in big time and effort to making everything happen so beautifully at Boyle Street Plaza that night, and of course to Quarters Arts Society for the support, encouragement, and buckets of hard work to help us realize this.

Here’s a slide show of some images from the magical evening – ENJOY!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Almost time of Nuit Blanche at Boyle Street Plaza!


We are only days away from one of the most exciting arts events of 2015. Nuit Blanche Edmonton is a free, contemporary art event that will transform downtown for one night only (September 26-27, 7pm-4am).


Boyle Street Plaza (9538-103A Ave) is excited to be participating as an independent site, right around the corner from the main festivities at Churchill Square. Quarters Arts Society and Boyle Street Community League will be serving up a feast for your senses all night long. From visual art, interactive sound installations, and a licensed lounge, to drummers and storytellers around the fire, be sure to stop by Boyle Street Plaza as you experience the excitement of Nuit Blanche.


Sponsored by Steam Whistle, we are excited to have a licensed lounge on site, starting at 9pm.

Featuring projection art by Evan Pearce, and photographs by Bill Neis, you are invited to stop by and have a tasty beverage while you’re exploring Nuit Blanche. Come support local arts at the Quarters Arts Lounge.
Please note that the lounge is cash only. There are ATMs around the corner, but don’t be disappointed!Drinks will also be available at the opening reception of Carried from 7-9pm. We will be collecting donations for the Inner City Recreation & Wellness Program.

7:30 – 9:30 p.m. Young Cree Singers and Drumming
Located in the small outside round, join us as we connect to Mother Earth through drumming and singing.

9:30 – 11:00 p.m. Storytelling Around The Fire
Located in the small outside round, local storytellers will share their tales around a roaring fire.

7:00 – 11:00 p.m. Community Art
Join the leader of Cipher 5, help create a work of graffiti art, and show how we connect with one another.


CARRIED (YORK:MOMENTS)The York Hotel was located at 104 Avenue and 96 Street in the heart of historic Boyle Street. Its closure in 2010, and demolition in 2012, inspired Artists-in-Residence Sydney Lancaster and Marian Switzer to revisit the history of the 1913 hotel turned rooming house – and to some, community hub. “Carried” is the result of this journey. Created in active collaboration between the Artists-in-Residence and community members over the last several months, this sculptural installation will feature gel transfer prints of images from the York Hotel. They will resemble pieces of paper fluttering down from above, evoking thoughts of memory and change.

The opening reception will be held from 7-9pm, with the site open overnight until 4am. For updates on the ongoing York:Moments project, follow us on Facebook.

This project has received funding from the Edmonton Heritage Council, Edmonton Arts Council, Edmonton Federation of Community Leagues, and Boyle Street Community League.


CONNECTIVITY  As part of the inaugural Nuit Blanche Edmonton festival, Ramshackle Day Parade is thrilled to present CONNECTIVITY. Created by Brendan Anderson, Parker Thiessen and Abram Hindle, CONNECTIVITY will combine elements of live performance and sound installation to reflect on the ways art is influenced by the communities and physical environments in which it is created, and on the symbiotic relationship between audiences and performers.Performers from Edmonton’s experimental music scene will come together to create a nine hour long, continuous sound piece that will be manipulated by audience members as they experience and move through the physical space of the installation. Interactive software designed by Abram Hindle will allow listeners and performers to respond to each other and work together in creative ways to shape the sounds being produced. Through this process, artists will be forced to relinquish control over their final product and audiences will play an active role in their own experience. CONNECTIVITY will be spontaneous and ephemeral, embracing the chaos and collaboration that is so often inherent to the creative process and using these elements to create a work that is entirely dependent on its specific place and time. No two moments will be the same and every participant will come away with an experience wholly unique to them.



Quarters Arts Society creates opportunities for our supporters to engage with the Boyle Street community and illuminates the historic, artistic, and cultural diversity that exists in Edmonton’s oldest neighbourhood.For more information on how to get involved, email quartersartscalls@gmail.com.

Quarters Arts is a non-profit society that engages in citizen-led projects that honour the heritage and explore the diversity of the community of Boyle Street. Quarters Arts acknowledges that Boyle Street is a part of Treaty 6 territory and is a traditional meeting ground for many Indigenous peoples.

Without the dedicated partnership with Boyle Street Community League, we would not be able to provide the wealth of programming for our community near and far.Thank you for your ongoing participation and support, dear friends and partners.Please visit their website to keep updated on their host of events and meetings, serving your community.www.boylestreetcl.com

Copyright © 2015 Quarters Arts Society, All rights reserved.

What an Arts Night!

We had a wonderful time at the last Quarters Arts Night on September 4th!

A great turn out – LOTs of people! And such a lot of helpers assisting with the gel transfer making!


The work is always better when shared:


It has been so wonderful to meet so many people from the neighbourhood over the last few months, and to share the work we’ve been doing as Artists-in Residence at Boyle Street Plaza.

We are going miss these work parties *(but NOT the blisters!)

Stay Tuned for the NEXT phase of this work … the installation and launch of Carried!

Quarters Arts Night September 4

The spring and summer have absolutely flown by, and now it’s back to school time, and the first golden leaves are falling.

Come join us at Boyle Street Plaza this Friday night – September 4 – for one last HURRAH before we all hunker down into Autumn-mode.


We have been very busy at the Plaza, working on the installation that will be presented at the end of September … but there’s still more to do!

So drop in on September 4, and come give us a hand with the last of the gel transfer printing we have to do!

Hope to see you there!!

Sharing a York Moment

Last Wednesday night while we were at Boyle Street Plaza working on the next phase of the project, we had the pleasure of sharing our workspace with a couple of lovely people involved in the Writing Quarters program of Quarters Arts Society.

It was a great opportunity to talk about the different ways the neighbourhood’s stories and history can be captured, and shared. And it was an opportunity for the writers in Writing Quarters to have a peek at the images we are working with for York:Moments, and see if they found some inspiration there.

One of the writers last Wednesday was Leif Gregersen. Leif Gregersen is a freelance author, poet, public speaker, and author of many genres, who has been named on the CBC Canada Writes website as one of the top 11 “Writers To Watch”.

We spent some time talking with Leif about the York, and he was generous enough to share some of his own personal experiences with living the kind of housing that the York Hotel had become in its last days. One thing that came through loud and clear in what Leif shared with us was the fact that  – regardless of how tough living in places like that could be for the residents – at least it was a roof over their heads. At least it was safer than sleeping rough, or being on the street.

And it was home for people: there was community there, there were friendships … just as there was hardship and conflict and loss. Like any community.

Leif also did some writing that Wednesday night, and kindly agreed to share his work with us and the wider readership here. This is a work of fiction, based in part on Leif’s response to one of the photos we took in the York, but also on his own personal experiences in Vancouver several years ago.

Here’s the Image Leif chose:


And here’s the writing Leif did:

Is It Really Gone Now? 

The York. Some called it the Little Apple, though it was better known for the ‘no knives’ sign over the door to the bar that no one ever heeded. How could you? If everyone there had a knife, there was kind of a détente. On this particular night Eddie was feeling good and so he checked into his old room even though it was warm enough to sleep outside. The York was dirty and infested with rats of all kinds-human and otherwise, but to Eddie it was sort of home.

Two packs of smokes and a Mickey of Blackstone, plus a room paid for a week, ‘won’t have to even go to the bar for two, maybe three days.’ He thought as he laid back on the thin blankets and looked out the window at another building across a yard. He lit up the cork-tipped, tailor-made strong and smooth Benson and Hedges cigarette and pulled in a deep lungful of satisfying smoke. The minutes and hours ticked by, but he knew a knock would come sooner or later. It always did.

Bang! Bang! Sooner rather than later. What now?

“Eddie, you in there?”

“No, Eddie is gone you mooch. Go buy your own smokes and booze!” Eddie said.

“I got my own!” Newman whined. “Got a 40 ouncer of Canadian Club too.” Eddie’s eyes widened at the thought of bonded whiskey and he got up and opened the door in mere moments (after he had stashed his mickey).

“Newman-how the hell did you get money this late in the month?” Eddie asked in a suspicious tone.

“Same as you-welfare back pay from that government lawsuit. Everyone got lucky yesterday! It’s party time, come and watch some movies. I just got my VCR out of pawn!”

“I didn’t get all that much. But if you’re sharing, it’s about time.” A VCR and TV and the smooth taste of single malt whiskey sounded good. Eddie made sure and left his wallet behind and made his way to the room down the hall on the corner that Newman had been living in for four years. He got in and the place was a mess, open tins of meat on the floor. The guy was even still cooking some kind of soup on his radiator, even though the thing probably hadn’t been on for two months.

“Hey brother. Want some OXY to go with the drink?”

“Oxycontin? That stuff is made from opium, it’ll kill you!” Eddie said.

“Hey-I’m a former speed junkie-nothing can kill me. Serious, I’ve never OD’d in all my years.” Just to prove it Newman tossed the Oxycontin pills he held in his hand into his mouth and washed it back with a good slug of CC.

The movie went on, some fantasy story about some American Fighter Pilot in Peacetime who also happens to get all the best girls and sleep with them first date and before it was a half hour into the thin plot Newman was nodding off.

“Hey dude, buddy!” Eddie yelled and shook him with very little response. “If you’re going to pass out I’m leaving.”

“Okay, okay.” He said and still drifted off.” Just then a cockroach went across the wall by the TV and Eddie grabbed a tape case to smash it. It went up behind a small ledge and Eddie smacked the tape hard into where it should be and the force made a hypodermic needle that was hiding roll off the ledge.

“Ewwww….” Eddie exclaimed, twisted up his face and recoiled in horror. “Man, I hate that shit! I’m out of here!” Newman was unresponsive so Eddie pried the bottle from his hands and made his way back to his room with it.

Eddie got back to his room and put on a station that was having a Hank Williams marathon and he had a long think about things. He sat and wondered what made him end up at such a dead-end place. It wasn’t right, people shouldn’t have to live like this. Five more years and I can get into a senior’s home. Man, think of the scams I could pull in one of those places on some desperate lonely old lady. Soon he had nearly downed what was left of the whiskey and was swimming in a spinning room and Hank Williams was making him depressed and tired. It seemed like he only closed his eyes for a minute, but in fact it was morning and he heard stomping and authoritative voices out his door. He opened his door a crack and asked one of his fellow hotel patrons what was up.

“You didn’t hear? Newman’s rent was up and they found him dead in there. “

“Shit!” Eddie said and closed his door quickly. He was still drunk from the night before so he went back to sleep until he was just hung over and then went downstairs to find a teenager. He did and offered him half a mickey and $20 to throw a rock through a window near the office of the hotel. He went back in, sat down at the bar and sure enough, the desk clerk let out a yell after a loud smash and him and the bouncers went chasing after the teen. Having lived on and off in the Little Apple for 20+ years it was no problem to reach around the counter and take Newman’s spare key, and he went up and let himself into the room. The stench was unbearable, what a place to die in, not only did it reek of death, he now noticed the aromas of rotting food and heaven knows what else in there. In moments he found Newman’s money stash and after a quick count he figured there was around $6,000.00 there. ‘That dirty bastard!’ Eddie thought. Just a week ago he was practically begging me to borrow money for smokes. This is about what you owe me for 20 years of putting up with you!

Eddie took the money and didn’t even go back to his room. He threw the key in the garbage and walked right to the Greyhound station. He bought a ticket to a no-name small town in South-Eastern Alberta, probably an hour outside of Medicine Hat and rented a room. He kept it clean and didn’t have any excesses. He was known to play cards with his landlady and never caused any trouble or stole anything. He also got his wish-he never had to stoop to living in a place like the York again, not really because his money lasted him, but mostly because he died two years later of liver failure and went quietly in his sleep, in clean sheets in a hospital.


You can find more of Leif’s writing at www.edmontonwriter.com, and his books are available online through amazon.com in paperback and ebook formats.

Our thanks to Leif for sharing a bit of his personal journey and this story with us!

July 3! Quarters Arts Night! Come hang out with us ….

Things have been getting busy for us over at Boyle Street Plaza lately.

We’ve been working hard on a new gel transfer panel to go in the gallery window, and plugging away on more prints for the second (exciting!) big project to in launched in the Fall … (stay tuned for more info as that unfolds).

But in the mean time … another Quarters Arts Night is coming up fast, and we hope to see you there:



It’s going to be a great night, and the two of us will be on hand working on some gel transfer prints (so come help us rub little bits of paper off the mylar and reveal the magic underneath) … or just watch us work, and stop by for a chat.

If you have a story or memory about the York Hotel, we’d love to hear that too!

You can find all the details of what’s going to be happening on July 3rd on the Quarters Arts Society Facebook Page.

SO … drop by. Things get started at 6:30 pm. There will be music and good company, Nomad Espresso, as cash bar, tours … lots to see and do.

This is your YEG, come visit!

A Lovely Evening

We had a really great evening at the Quarters Arts Night last Friday!

Saw lots of people – it was a nice turnout! – had some fantastic conversations, and got lots of work done too!


All those bits of paper have to come off …


Many hands, and much good conversation! It made the work go so quickly.

There’s that old expression that “many hands make light work” … this certainly was the case Friday night! We had some fantastic help; people dropped by to say hello, and to lend us a hand getting some gel transfer prints made.

THANK YOU to everyone who came on June 5th!! Thanks for your support, the conversations, the help with the project. It was wonderful to spend the time with you and share YORK:Moments.

Lots of talk about the history of Boyle Street as a neighbourhood, conversations about community and its relationship to the built environment and the need to preserve and pass on the stories and heritage of older areas in the city to the communities themselves – how rapid change can erase things that the people living historical neighbourhoods should know about where they live. Sources of pride. Sources of connectedness.

I had an amazing and far ranging discussion with a lovely neighbour and community fixture: Street Pastor Peter Schultz. It turns out, Peter spent a great deal of time at the York Hotel over many many years, as the York was something of a ‘home base’ for his ministry to the community.

It was delightful to speak with Pastor Schultz about his experiences in the neighbourhood, and his connections to the York Hotel. I hope our chat on Friday night is the first of many.


Street Preacher Peter Schultz, at Boyle Street Plaza

I’m very much looking forward to more Quarters Arts Nights – they are lovely events, and such a great way to get to know the people and community of Boyle Street better. There are so many great, community-minded people here – a reminder of what really makes this city a good place to live.



The Countdown Begins … Join Us June 5th!

Very excited for the coming week!

We begin to install the first phase of work for York: Moments on June 1.

And we will be officially presenting this work to the community at the upcoming Quarters Arts Night on June 5! (click the link for all the details!)

Here’s the information on our project:


Y O R K : M O M E N T S 

Our Artists in Residence, Sydney Lancaster and Marian Switzer, will be celebrating the first installation that will launch Quarters Arts Living Local grant project York : Moments.
York : Moments is a collaborative multimedia project using video, photography and public outreach to collect, document and share stories relating to Edmonton’s  historic York Hotel.
Come early to learn more about this exciting project, try your hand at a gel transfer, and learn a little more about our community’s history.


Light refreshments will be provided to our friends and supporters,

come out and share with us!


BUS ROUTES 3 and 5 will bring you a block away from our grounds.

NO ATM ON SITE *** // CASH BAR after 8:00 PM

We hope to see you there!!

Sometimes, it’s all about sore fingers

We’ve been working away this last while on many, many gel transfer prints of images we shot in the York Hotel before it was demolished.

As Marian and I were working at Boyle Street Plaza this past Monday, she decided to post a few pictures of our work … who knew that #sore fingers was a real hashtag!?!?


I thought it was hilarious – although in our case, very true.

Gel transfer printing is a great way to make work – it’s (relative to other printmaking processes) simple & fast, and I personally love the immediacy of working so directly with the image. Even though it all begins with a photo, printed on a laser printer, the process itself is completely hands-on, low tech.

image6 image7

And that’s where the sore fingers come in … all those bits of paper pulp to be removes to reveal the print beneath!

Here’s some “action shots” of us working on a couple of images. It gives you some idea of what we’re up to:

image9 image8

We’re having a great time, and the Muck n Guck Room at Boyle Street Plaza is a beautiful space to work… and it was such a lovely day, we had the doors open to take in all of that fresh air and sunshine!

image2 image1

And in case you want to stop by …

You’ll find us at Boyle Street Plaza on Mondays between 12 and 4, and on Wednesday evenings from 7 – 9. Drop by for a free coffee or tea, and come have a chat with us!