For years, ART SPOT has been providing a community space for artists to create, network, showcase and sell art. Based out of a seemingly normal bungalow in Calgary’s southwest, there are only minor clues to the outside eye of what’s taken place inside over the last decade or so. The graffiti spattered fence hints that this is a place for creatives, but does not show the magnitude of importance ART SPOT has played in Calgary’s urban arts community.

In a city where venue space is often impossible to come by, ART SPOT has been a constant. It’s a fact that space for showcasing music and art in the YYC has always been a challenge to attract and maintain, and one Calgary artist decided she would play a direct role in changing that. Emma Justine took a stand against convention, and started her own artist run space for artists about ten years ago.

Throughout those years, ART SPOT has been instrumental in Calgary’s urban arts community. Having many, many shows at ART SPOT itself, as well as taking over other spaces, Emma has been a huge pillar in the growth and sustenance in the arts community. One of the biggest and most popular events has always been the annual LOVE Show. We talked to Emma about the latest and greatest LOVE show coming our way, this time taking place at 80th and Ivy on 17th Ave.

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Freq: To get started Emma, what is the LOVE Show?

12899399_10207097449088471_1879017798_oEmma Justine: The LOVE show is an annual themed group art exhibition hosted by ART SPOT in celebration of LOVE! This show is unique, as it features an array of artistic disciplines including visual art, spoken word performances, live music, burlesque performances, and more.

Upon Arrival, guests are given a heart necklace to represent if they are looking for friendship, love, or sex!
This annual event brings together artists, art lovers, and community members in the name of love!

Freq: Correct me if I’m wrong, but you’ve been putting on this show for quite a few years. How long has this been going on for?

Emma Justine: This is the 8th LOVE show! Since we have now expanded to a bigger venue, it has allowed me to include twice as many visual artists and multiple unique performance artists- making this the biggest LOVE show to date!

Freq: You’ve been running the show at Art Spot for quite some time. What is Art Spot, and how did it come about?

Emma Justine: ART SPOT is an organization that was created in 2008 to support local emerging artists. ART SPOT started as an alternative gallery space in Connaught. Our shows brought together visual artists, musicians, and performance artists, and 12919347_10207097486129397_1966595709_oallowed them to all showcase their art under one roof. Lately, ART SPOT is doing our annual shows at larger venues, to support the increased interest from artists and the community.

Freq: Art Spot has been boosting arts and culture in Calgary through events and cultural initiatives for years. What have been some of the most memorable events?

Emma Justine: That is a tough question – there have been so many amazing events! The body painting competitions have always been really cool- we are actually bringing in our two time champion to paint at the LOVE show! The Under $100 Art Show this past year was memorable to say the least- we brought out a crowd of over 5000 people in just 4 days, and sold over 40 000$ worth of art! But I gotta say, nothing beats a summer group exhibition at ART SPOT gallery. This is where you really get a feel for the community- sun, music, live art outside, and the company of tons of artists/ friends.

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Freq: Ending off, maybe you can tell us a bit about the Big Kitty Crew, as you’re one of the original members. What is the Big Kitty Crew?

Emma Justine: Big Kitty Crew is a female urban arts collective. When I joined the crew, it was just a handful of girls, mainly in Calgary. Now there are members spanning the entire country. From visual artists, to musicians, to dancers, the group features a range of creative independent women. The Big Kitties will be at the LOVE show showing their work, performing, and running a Photo Booth, so come down and learn more about the crew!

The LOVE Show will be taking place at 80th and Ivy on 17th Ave Thursday March 31. Come support your local arts community!

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