Charitable Choices: Jean Parker of the Calgary Artists Studio Tour

Jean Parker, a dedicated member of the Calgary Artists Studio Tour organizing committee, sheds light on their volunteer-run art collective. Born in 2022, the tour aims to fill the void of studio events in Calgary, spotlighting the city’s diverse and talented artists. Despite facing the post-COVID atmosphere, the tour successfully addresses the community’s need for connection. As awareness and participants grow yearly, the organizers seek to overcome shyness about visiting home studios and encourage public engagement. The Calgary public’s support is crucial; they can plan a tour, create buzz, and explore local art.

Calgary Artists Studio Tour

Describe your charity/non-profit/volunteer work in a few sentences.

Every member of our organizing committee has experience doing various types of volunteer work and each of us brings different skills to the table. Our committee is 100% volunteer-run. We do not have any paid staff. The Calgary Artists Studio Tour is technically an art collective. The participation fee and sponsorship dollars go towards basic things like website hosting, posters, flyers, social media advertising, app hosting etc.

What problem does it aim to solve?

Surprisingly in 2022, there were no studio tours in Calgary, a city of close to two million people! We have SO many talented artists and we wanted to create a weekend that spotlights them and creates a festival of art across the city. Each year we keep expanding. On the Calgary Artists Studio Tour weekend- We want the public to plan their route, grab their coffee and meet artists in their studios, talk art, ask questions, be amazed. We want to build community and have a conversation between the public and the artists, who are in each neighbourhood in Calgary and surrounding areas. We want to increase awareness about the visual arts in particular. Calgary is culturally diverse and there are many artists with different points of view, techniques, mediums and so on. Every artist will either be in their own studio or will be showing their studio processes in shared larger studio spaces with other artists.

When did you start/join it?

In 2022, I and 11 other artists piloted the Calgary Artists Studio Tour.

What made you want to get involved?

I felt there was a need we could meet in the community. We looked at other cities in Canada that have long-running and successful artist studio tours and wondered, why isn’t there something like this taking place in Calgary? We believe that the Calgary Artists Studio Tour has the potential to grow into a flagship event for our city, attracting not only locals but also tourists.

What was the situation like when you started?

Post Covid pandemic was the atmosphere we faced in 2022 and we were all looking for human connection. It was the right time to reach out to the community to create a studio tour to meet that need. By offering opportunities for personal, informal interactions between the public and local artists, we aim to provide a unique and meaningful experience that allows for a deeper understanding of an artist’s inspirations, creative process, and personal story.

How has it changed since?

The need for connection has not changed! Every year our number of participants is increasing, as is awareness of the tour. We feel there is a huge potential for growth.

What more needs to be done?

The Calgary public needs to be made aware of what a studio tour actually is. Because we do not have a local history of studio tours, many people just don’t know what they are all about! We have found that there is some shyness about going into artists’ home studios even though they have big, welcoming signs outside their doors advertising that they are to the public for this one weekend a year. We invite people in to see beyond the finished artwork – it provides an opportunity to learn more about artists’ creative processes, inspirations and personal stories.

We also are looking for title sponsors to help us build the event into what we believe it can be.

How can our readers help?

Your readers can help by getting to know the artists in their community during our tour! Book the date on their calendars. Go to our website, check out the artists participating this year, and plan their routes. We don’t have the final numbers yet – but there will be at least 60 artists participating. Talk to your friends and family about making a day of it or go bold and plan 3 days of tours! We need your readers to create the buzz to grow public participation. Look for the app on our website that will be available before the tour that will make their planning simple. And, if they know of a sponsor who would like to get involved, drop me a line here.

Do you have any events coming up?

The third annual Calgary Artists Studio Tour takes place in Calgary and surrounding areas on May 3rd (2 pm-8 pm), 4th (10 am-4 pm) and 5th (10 am-4 pm).

Where can we follow you?

Website | Instagram | Facebook

PAY IT FORWARD: What is an awesome local charity that you love?

Too many to pick from- that is why I volunteer with the United Way and the organizations they support.


About Emilea Semancik 82 Articles
Emilea Semancik was born in North Vancouver. Emilea has always always wanted to work as a freelance writer and currently writes for the Vancouver Guardian. Taking influence from journalism culture surrounding the great and late Anthony Bourdain, she is a recipe author working towards publishing her own series of books. You can find her food blog on Instagram: