New exhibit at city’s archives sketches Edmonton’s history

A new exhibit aimed at connecting Edmontonians to the city’s history through sketches and stories is on display at the City of Edmonton Archives.
Sketching History: Rediscovering Edmonton’s Architectural Heritage through Urban Sketching was created and curated by Marlena Wyman, Edmonton’s current Historian Laureate.

Sketching History uses the visual impact of art to draw attention to the importance of preserving Edmonton’s architectural heritage and green spaces,” said Wyman.

“The sketches in the exhibit highlight the character and detail of heritage architecture and landscape that we often overlook as we pass by in hurried everyday life. Creative works evoke emotions and memories that connect us with our cultural heritage and encourage us to discover the stories behind the walls.”

The exhibit can be viewed in the Prince of Wales Armouries Heritage Centre. A smaller exhibit will travel to branch libraries, and the City Archives will host an online exhibit.

The exhibit includes more than 100 drawings paired with stories and background about the sketched locations. 
Buildings featured in the exhibit include the Hotel MacDonald, the Owen Residence in the Highlands neighbourhood and the Glenora Bed and Breakfast. Each piece includes a sketch and information about each building’s history.

The exhibiting artists are members of Urban Sketchers Edmonton, a group founded in 2011. The group’s membership includes beginner and professional artists who sketch the city. It is based on other Urban Sketchers groups found in most major cities around the world. Their goal is to raise the artistic, storytelling and educational value of on-location drawing.

“Art can engage and activate change. It provides us with new ways of seeing what we thought we knew,” said Wyman.

“Our heritage can become so familiar and feel so permanent that we tend to take it for granted—until it is gone. Edmonton’s vital heritage architecture is disappearing. My hope is that this project will engage and connect us with the value of our city’s built and natural heritage.”

The exhibit will be on display through December 2020.

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