Call to Artists: Exhibition at Lougheed House

Date: Dec 15, 2017

Lougheed House

Application deadline: January 31, 2018, 11:59 pm MST

Calgary’s Great Fire of 1886 led to a bylaw being put into effect in Calgary. All buildings over a certain size had to be constructed of sandstone, which was quarried from outcrops of the Paskapoo Formation, a 60-million-year-old formation that underlies much of southwestern Alberta. In the following decades, schools, city hall, churches, hotels, libraries, and mansions, including Lougheed House, were all constructed of this plentiful local resource. Calgary soon became affectionately known as ‘The Sandstone City’.

Sandstone, a sedimentary rock composed of grains of mineral, rock, or organic matter, often serves as an aquifer for groundwater or as a reservoir for oil and natural gas. Much of Alberta’s oil sands consist of oil or bitumen deposits in unconsolidated sandstone. The sands are saturated with oil which prevents them from consolidating into hard sandstone. The interconnectedness of sand and oil causes oil extraction in the oil sands to have a higher environmental impact than traditional oil extraction.

The Lougheed House, and much of Calgary, is literally built of local sandstone, and metaphorically built on Alberta’s vast reserves of oil, trapped in unconsolidated sandstone.

This exhibition will explore early resource development, the relationship between Calgary’s sandstone and Alberta’s oil sands, and our relationship with the land, specifically stone. Metaphorically, James Lougheed’s legacy is encased in and represented by this sandstone mansion, much like Calgary’s legacy is inextricably linked to the oil industry. This project will explore the impact sandstone/oil has had on the history of Calgary; how much of Calgary’s history and current situation is a result of its geology? Are Calgarians willing to move beyond the basic facts of their geology?  \

It will also ask broader questions related to our relationship with the land: Does looking at human history though the lens of geologic time affect how we view our own histories? How would our perspective change if we were to view stones, minerals, oil deposits, and quarries as an archive of human and non-human experience? What stories can be told through stones?

Interested artists are asked to send submissions in writing which include:

  • digital images (no more than five and no larger than 1 MB each);
  • title, dimensions, and medium of each work;
  • an artist’s statement which puts the work in the context of the exhibition as described;
  • the name and contact information of the artist, including a brief CV (no longer than two pages).

We are interested in past work, current work, and in artwork that will be created specifically for this exhibition. We are also interested in artwork that responds directly to the built structure of Lougheed House. If you would like to tour the house before submitting your proposal or if you have any questions about the process, please feel free to contact the curator, Caroline Loewen, by phone or email.

                Application deadline: January 31, 2018
                Proposal selection: March 2, 2018
                Exhibition install: June 18 and 19, 2018
                Exhibition opening: June 21, 2018
                Exhibition: June 21, 2018 – October 2018 (closing date TBC)

Artists will be paid according to the CARFAC Minimum Fee Schedule for participation in the exhibition.

For more information on the Lougheed House, please go to or visit us at 707-13 Avenue SW, Calgary AB.

Submissions should be sent by January 31, 2018 by email to:

                Caroline Loewen, Curator
                (403)244-6333 ext. 109