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Giddy-up art lovers
Cocktail dresses with cowboy boots is de rigueur at The Calgary Stampede FoundationÕ s
annual auction of contemporary art.
By Susan Pederson
Schlepping through straw from one horse stall to
another while sipping champagne and savouring
finger food might sound like the quintessential
paradox. But for those attending the third annual
Calgary Stampede Foundation’s Pavilion: Western
Contemporary Art Auction, it’s all part of the
package that makes the night a raving success.
“We ask that people come dressed in Stampede
chic, so that means cocktail dresses and cowboy
boots,” explains Patricia Glenn, annual giving,
events, and program manager at the Calgary
Stampede Foundation. Holders of the $250 tickets
can view 18 pieces of art up for grabs, each one
housed in a (mercifully) cleaned-out horse stall in
the Calgary Stampede’s agricultural building. Each
stall bears the artist’s nameplate, which replaces the
horse’s nameplate for the evening. A special piece,
commissioned especially for the event, is also to be
unveiled for the first time during the viewing reception.
When Christie’s of Canada starts the bidding,
the 250 budding and seasoned art collectors are
on it, bidding top dollar to take home the piece
that speaks to them. Last year, bidders ponied up
$185,000, which, after the artists and galleries were
paid, went towards funding youth and education
Above: Auctioning of a Martin Bennett painting, Right: Art Stalls,
Above right: the crowd for the November ‘08 Calgary Stampede
programs through The Foundation.
Foundation Pavilion: Western Contemporary Art Auction.
The Calgary Stampede Foundation (CSF), of which
the Calgary Stampede is the controlling shareholder,
is a charitable organization that spends over $2.5
youth livestock and scholarship program.
million annually to support Stampede youth. Included
These programs nicely weave the Calgary
are the Young Canadians’ School of Performing Arts,
Stampede and its western values into the
the Stampede Showband, Aggie Days at Stampede
community year-round, not just for those heady
Park, and Stampede School (where elementary
10 days in July. The auction reaches for a
school children go to “school” at the Stampede
different audience – lovers of contemporary
Grounds for a full week), as well as an international
art – one not traditionally linked to the Calgary
30 Calgary Culture 2009
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