Offsite at Calgary Public Library

November 19, 2016

Cecil Hotel Open Forum
Artist Talk

Date: November 19, 2016

TRUCK is pleased to present an open forum discussion in collaboration with our recent exhibition Cecil Hotel by Calgary-based artist August Klintberg.

The Cecil Hotel Open Forum will include presentations by Cynthia Bird, Son Edworthy, Tomas Jonsson, TracyRay Lewis, and John Rowland that will touch on their work and experiences in fields related to the Cecil Hotel context. The presentations will be followed by a group discussion during which the audience will be invited to contribute their experiences and ideas. The artist of Cecil Hotel, August Klintberg, will also be present at the event to discuss his work and answer questions.

This event aims to provide an opportunity for open and inclusive conversation relating to the subject of the Cecil Hotel, and places like it, as well as stimulate discussion that will work to build support for communities impacted by displacement, and encourage participation in movements that support these communities. The discussion will be free to attend and open to all.

August Klintberg’s Cecil Hotel is a sculptural artwork and anti-monument for the defunct Calgary hotel of the same name. While the closure of the hotel might seem, from a public relations point of view, to clean up downtown Calgary, it may also be used as a veil that obscures more complex conflicts of social class, sexuality, gender, race, and ethnicity associated with – but not limited to – this site. Cecil Hotel refers to the ongoing challenges facing constituents of Calgary, including differing understandings of the use of public space by citizens of different social classes and the endemic problems associated with violence in public space, people who live without homes, substance use, and the disappearance of indigenous women and youth - issues that The Cecil Hotel came to represent in the public imagination.[1]

[1] Excerpt from Cecil Hotel exhibition essay “Goodbye forever: False Absence” by Alissa Firth-Eagland.


Cynthia Bird is Cree from the Peguis First Nation in Manitoba, Treaty 1 Territory, residing in Calgary since 2004. She is an educator, with 34 years of experience working with not-for-profit organizations, governments, post-secondary institutions, Elders, First Nation communities, urban Aboriginal and mainstream organizations in the following areas: research respecting urban Aboriginal peoples and homelessness, curriculum development related to Treaties and the Treaty relationship, evaluations related to domestic violence, and training that promotes cross-cultural understanding and balanced historical perspectives. She continues her work in Alberta and Manitoba as an Independent Consultant and volunteer Senator with the Aboriginal Friendship Centre of Calgary.


Son Edworthy believes that to address complex problems we need to think more about equity, undoing systemic barriers for diverse participation in decision-making. Son has worked as a landscaper and gardener, a support worker with persons with disabilities, as an arts facilitator and a community-based research coordinator. Son currently works with CommunityWise Resource Centre, an affordable, inclusive community space for Calgary grass-roots and non-profit organizations.


Tomas Jonsson is an artist, curator, and writer interested in issues of social agency in processes of urban growth and transformation. Jonsson has produced several projects in Calgary addressing the city’s urban transformation, including sites such as The East Village and Hillhurst Sunnyside. He has also curated, presented, and performed work in Canada and internationally, including Artscape Gibraltar Point (Toronto), Suvilahti (Helsinki), and MoKS (Mooste, Estonia).  He is currently the Artistic Director of the Mountain Standard Time Performative Art Festival (Southern Alberta).


TracyRay Lewis is a member of Poverty Talks! and as such is involved in anti-poverty, anti-oppression advocacy and work. She is also a Humanities (multi-disciplinary) tutor, a voluntary community/PAR researcher, and a chronic TWD (The Walking Dead) Fan. Not necessarily in the exact order given. She is also a person with lived experience of homelessness and is interested in topics related to healing homeless trauma.


John Rowland grew up in High River in the shadow of the Canadian Rockies.  He graduated from the University of Calgary with a BSC in Civil Engineering.  Since 1996, John Rowland has worked at the Drop In Centre, where he is presently the Director of Data Systems.  John has spent many hours talking with DI clients, many of whom also were patrons of the Cecil Hotel.  John is the co-author of a report on the impact of the loss of housing options such as the Cecil Hotel with Dr. Kneebone from the Calgary School of Public Policy.


Thank you to the Arusha Centre, Calgary Dollars, and the Calgary Foundation for their support with this project through their Take Action Grant program. Venue provided by Calgary Public Library ♥

August Klintberg

August Klintberg is an artist who works in the field of art history. He is represented by Pierre François Ouellette art contemporain in Montreal, Canada, and is an Assistant Professor in the School of Critical and Creative Studies at the Alberta College of Art + Design. He earned his Ph.D. in Art History at Concordia University in 2013. His doctoral dissertation was nominated for the 2013 Governor-General's Gold Medal. Several public and private collections have acquired his work, including the National Gallery of Canada, Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, Bank of Montreal, TD, the Edmonton Arts Council, and the Alberta Foundation for the Arts. He has upcoming projects with Root Division (San Francisco, group exhibition), and the Foreman Art Gallery at Bishop's University (Sherbrooke, solo exhibition). He was Shortlisted for the Sobey Art Award for the region Prairies and the North in 2013.

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Calgary, Alberta, Canada
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