Contemporary Calgary began as a collaboration of visual arts partners, including the Institute of Modern and Contemporary Art, The Art Gallery of Calgary, and the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art. Their mission is to build a global city of choice by engaging Calgary in the art of our times.
In 2014 Contemporary Calgary won a bid to move into the very sought after Centennial Planetarium (formerly the Calgary Space and Science Centre), with future plans to open the Museum for Modern and Contemporary Art. With fundraising as their main objective, we began planning for the first inaugural fundraising gala named LOOK2014.
On the evening of November 1, 2014, over 600 guests first impression was a long, pink carpet leading from the parking lot to the temporarily branded outdoor loading dock, where a team of greeters awaited, pink umbrellas in hand to ward off the falling snow. Brightly lit with Gobo patterns, incandescent lighting, and architectural up-lighting, this unexpected vibrancy in a forgotten loading dock on the train line, lead guests to one of two entrances.
The VIP entrance was an ascending staircase to the top floor where guests were greeted by a line of black clad, turtle-neck wearing event hosts, ready to check them in on a custom designed iPad software system. From there VIP guests emerged into the large, open top floor of the Planetarium to an exclusive cocktail party, with artfully crafted canapés and flowing champagne. In the center of the room an oversized balloon sculpture hovered, changing color as an indication of the progressing program. Emcee Dave Kelly welcomed the VIP attendees and introduced Dr. Richard Florida, who then engaged in a rousing discussion on the importance of the Creative Class and Cultural institutions in city building, followed by a book signing where all guests received a LOOK2014 branded copy of Dr. Florida’s book, “Rise of the Creative Class”.
With premium guests now arriving and filing into the next room, VIP guests were directed to grab a glass and head down the now pink spiral ramp to the Art lounge, where they could view an impression collection of contemporary Canadian art that was all up for grabs.
Once the VIP guests made their way down we opened a velvet rope to the Art lounge at the end of a long, lit tunnel, which, again, was a beacon of the Contemporary Calgary hot pink branding. The Art Auction took place after a funky DJ and percussionist set in the Art Lounge. Auctioneer, Stephen Ranger, demanded the attention of guests, and managed to raise a combined total of over $270,000 through both silent and live auction.
When the art auction was complete all guests were invited to move back down the hall to the now lively and happening after-party. With Jocelyn Alice and DJ Mikey-Da-Rosa spinning funky beats, guests moved through our Shadow Box art installation into the round room, where the drinks were flowing and the energy was high. We also featured a live graffiti artist and a projection installation that became an interactive guest performance element.
All in all, the event was a thrilling success and a dashing feather added to Calgary’s art’s and culture cap. Contemporary Calgary will begin moving into their new space over the upcoming months, and looks forward to once again welcoming Calgarian’s into this spectacular home for modern and contemporary art.