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Simpson's Cabin by Catharine WhyteWith world-class artists emerging from its centres of rural areas and urban centres, Alberta has supported the growth of Canada's art scene while raising the privince's profile. The international display of works created by Alberta painters such as H.G. Glyde, Jane Ash Poitras and Janet Mitchell attests to this fact. Beyond serving the arts, images produced by such individuals also serve as documentation of what life was like during their times. Landscapes, people and events are all depicted as experienced through their eyes.

"Itchty Finger."Previous to the early 20th century, art education and exhibition was not prominent in the prairies. Instead, older and more heavily-populated cities, such as Montreal and Toronto, acted as focal points for visual and performing arts. This does not mean that the relatively isolated province of Alberta was not bustling with artistic energy at the time, but rather that artistic affiliations were not organized at a larger and formal scale, nor were they highly acknowledged and supported by the general population.

"Petra".As urban centres began to flourish in Alberta, more readily available resources allowed painting to gain prominence. With more money and time available to a wider section of the public, this particular medium began to take a larger role in leisure activities. By the 1930s, burgeoning creative hubs began drawing more established Canadians who wanted to engage in founding art training institutions and exhibition spaces. Dr. Illingworth Kerr, who went on to become a great influence and prominent art educator in Alberta, was one such individual who found the nascent Alberta art community attractive.

Untitled mixed media by Laurie Ann Melnychuk.   From the network of collaborating individuals, organizations devoted to the arts began to appear. The Alberta Society of Artists (ASA) materialized in the spring of 1931 and with strong leadership from its co-founders such as A.C. Leighton, it undertook the role of advocate and promoter for the arts in Alberta. With a variety of activities stemming from it, the Society acted as an impetus for the development of formalized art education, exhibition and funding.

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