The job of Gallery Director is all about multitasking. On any given day, Stride’s Director may be an exhibitions coordinator, a bookkeeper, a public relations officer, and a charming party host. Through all these permutations, each of our Directors has also been an artist or curator, maintaining a creative practice. ROLE moves our Directors into the exhibition space, acknowledging that, despite their dedication to it, working at Stride was actually just their day job.
Artworks by Stride’s Directors past and present—Robin Arseneault, Lisa Benschop, Anthea Black, Colleen Kerr Gray, Hilary Knutson, Aurora Landin, Shelley Ouellet, Lissa Robinson, Justin Waddell, Donna White, and Robert Windrum—and curatorial projects by Colleen O’Neill (featuring artwork by Joni Brenner) and Diana Sherlock (featuring artwork by John Will).
Early in the nineteen eighties a powerful wave of activity emerged in the visual arts across
Canada. Stride Gallery was founded in 1985 by three practicing artists, Don Corman,
Colleen O'Neill, and Mary Scott, who saw that Calgary was without a venue for many of
their friends and colleagues—mid career and senior artists they admired—who had no
representation in any of the local commercial galleries. They were determined to fill this gap,
to bring some of the most remarkable art being made across the country to an enlivened
local audience. Stride was first located in the gallery district on 11th Ave SW in Calgary and
its roster of exhibitions now reads like a who's who of Canadian art practices from the past
quarter century. The work of these artists was often experimental in nature and, similarly,
the gallery’s early days were a logistical adventure given that the gallery had no public
funding. The founders supported each and every exhibition for several years running,
sometimes with help from philanthropic friends or the artists themselves.
From the beginning Stride has been an artist run centre. The board members, with a few
exceptions, have been artists. All of the Directors have been practicing artists. The Directors’
Show has been a long time in the making, but it comes just as Stride turns twenty-five.
Stride continues to celebrate excellence in Canadian visual arts, with a special attention to
mid-career and senior artists from Calgary who have made significant contributions to our
culture. But this is one for the Directors. They have been on the front lines through thick and
thin, and we wish to acknowledge them for their commitment, their guidance, and their
Chris Cran RCA
President of the Board
Stride Art Gallery Association