Posts tagged yyc bloggers
Citizens of Capitol Hill: John F. Gerrard
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By Maria Castillo-Stone


If you haven’t already heard - through our blasts on social media or e-newsletters, we have a bunch of new programs ready to launch for the Autumn season. In case you’re still scratching your head, I suggest you subscribe to our monthly newsletter to stay in the loop, plus follow one of our three social media accounts!

Today, I’m introducing you to John F. Gerrard who will be the instructor for our “Seniors Art Class (55+)”.

I decided to have chat with John and hopefully this chat will entice those of you still on the fence about the course, and hopefully have you feeling excited and eager to give your hidden art skills a go.

As a teacher in art college once told me: “No one is born artistically talented, it takes lots of practice, and passion to appear that way.”

Links to purchase tickets and register will be at the bottom of this page. Hope to see you there!




To someone who’s never attended an art class - how would you describe what will happen under your instruction?

Each of the six sessions will be themed and students will be shown some “tricks of the trade” regarding drawing, landscapes, and conceptual art. That being said, if someone wants to work on portraiture, I won’t stop them! Foremost, I want to facilitate a space for people to feel free to experiment, and for people to explore how they want to express themselves visually.

How would you encourage someone who is curious but apprehensive due to skill set, expertise level etc?

You have to be patient with certain ways of making, as it takes time for us to learn certain skills. This can be frustrating, because our taste doesn’t match our ability in the beginning. We all have to start somewhere though! It can be hard to turn down our inner critic, but when we do we allow all sorts of discovery to take place. 

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What will an attendee gain by attending the course?

People who join us will gain a basic understanding of the different ways of making art as well as given the space to explore their own visual voice. What inspired your journey to becoming an artist? Art has been a part of my life in some way or another for a long time. With my visual practice, I am trying to make sense of my environment and my mind. As a kid, I was supported and inspired to pursue this creative life. I am inspired by the variety of ways there are to express yourself. The more I make, the more I’m starting to see themes and connections within the work. This is exciting!

What’s one tip you would dispense in approaching art for the first time?

Keep an open mind and be patient. It takes time for your skills to match your taste! Who or what has influenced your work? My biggest influences have come locally. From relationships at my studio or those when I was studying drawing at art college. Aesthetically, I really connect with the work of Basquiat. My life and journey with mental health inform my work, and I aim to be an ambassador for these issues.

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What has been a seminal experience for you artistically?

One of my favourite experiences as an artist was from a project I did with Branch Out Neurological foundation where I made work inspired by a neurological research assignment. It was fascinating to have access to a neuroscientists perspective. I am doing it again this year, and couldn’t be more excited. 

What’s the three or more essential tool(s) in art, you swear by?

Compositional sensibility, having space between sessions to refresh the eyes, perseverance, and constructive critique.


What is your artistic look on life?

Art is so versatile and wonderful. It can help us bridge unknowns, and serve as a fulcrum for understanding. It can also be a world free from concepts or words. Art for the sake of art is enough, and to me this a great metaphor for life. We don’t need to be useful to have purpose. We are all enough as we are.

Many thanks to John F. Gerrard for taking the time to provide us with this interview and also use of his images.

You can register for the course online or, download and print a form, and pay by cheque.


Neighbour Day Bike Programs

By Pamela McHugh

Thanks to the generous support of the Alberta Traffic Safety Fund, the Capitol Hill Community Association is able to host a number of free, active transportation focused programs.

On June 15th, as part of the CHCA Neighbour Day event, Safer Cycling Calgary will offer FREE Family Bike Rodeo (Level 2: Cycling Basics course) workshops. Plan to come to the community association for the Neighbour Day and sign your kids up for this "playground" based event that introduces cyclists to key bike handling skills that they will need to ride safely. Helmet are required and this course is typically designed for kids 6 years of age and older.

Workshops will take place at 9am, 11am and 1pm. Pre-registration is strongly encouraged to help us plan for numbers. Head to the Safe Cycle Calgary website: https://tinyurl.com/SCCL2CH. Kids participating in the workshops will have the chance to win lots of fun bike safety prizes. At 2:30pm we will have an obstacle course open for kids of all ages and abilities

Adults and kids alike should bring their bikes because we will have Velofix Calgary on-site offering FREE bike tune-ups out of their mobile repair van. They will be on-site from 11am until 4pm so come on by.

And don’t forget to swing by the CHCA information booth to fill out a community survey and enter for a chance to win one of many fantastic prizes. See you there!


Citizens of Capitol Hill: The Friendly Edit
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*REPRODUCTION OF IMAGES ARE SUBJECT TO COPYRIGHT. PERMISSION AND A PAYABLE FEE IS REQUIRED FOR PUBLIC OR PERSONAL USE. PLEASE CONTACT COMMUNICATIONS@CAPITOLHILLCOMMUNITY.CA FOR FURTHER DETAILS.

By Maria Castillo-Stone

Last Friday, I was lucky to spend a lovely afternoon at the home of Jess Voykin, one half of the blog: The Friendly Edit. Little did I know we were neighbours on the same block! (U.K me would say street but I wanted you to get my drift!)

As well as getting a peek at her lovely home, and getting my belly filled with delicious treats (mentioned below), I got to make a new friend. And that’s what I love about this little Citizens of Capitol Hill project - I get to meet all sorts of people in our community and make connections.


What makes Capitol Hill a great place to live?

It’s awesome! There’s such a good mix of people of all ages and stages of life. I believe that’s what makes an asset to our community.


How would you describe the community of Capitol Hill and it’s people to an outsider?

It’s something you have to experience! Before we came to live here, we were invited to the Pub Night by some of our friends that live in the area. It was great seeing kids running around, how safe it was, everyone knowing each other - that has been really special. Our life has been made better by living here. We are always trying to convince our friends to move here by telling them about our experiences here.

We are so lucky, we are so close to everything and it feels like a community.


What inspired your journey to becoming a blogger and starting The Friendly Edit?

My best friend is a registered dietician and I suggested that she should start a blog. After a few glasses of wine at a Wine Festival,  she said: “I’ll only do it, if you’ll do it with me” and that’s what started it all.

Since then, I’ve found it to be a passion of mine - food has always been something that we shared within our friendship, and cooking - cooking together. We don’t live in the same place, so this was another way to keep us connected, especially at different points in our life: getting married and kids, it was nice to tie our lives together.

I don’t think I would have done this on my own but because we were doing the blog together, it pushed us forward - you’d do anything for your best friend, despite our own fears.

When driving the blog, what’s your inspiration and influence, when you’re creating a post or cooking a recipe?

I try to think of it as a family recipe. A couple of years ago, my mum and dad brought us a recipe book with all our family recipes for Christmas. It’s those things that are so good - you have to share them with your family or your friends. It’s great when you’ve made something excellent and to be able to share it. It’s not about the fanciest food, it’s about things that everyone has in their house, that’s quick and tasty!. My passion lies in making food accessible to people.


Do you have a favourite family recipe?

It’s less about the recipe and more about the time when we have it. Before Christmas morning, my family does these Overnight Cinnamon Rolls, where you put everything in the Bundt pan the night before  - it’s a wife-saver cinnamon roll. It’s super tasty and it’s become a part of the holiday for me. It’s not a fancy recipe but because I have all those Christmas morning memories tied to it, and now I have my family, that’s why that’s my favourite family recipe.

What’s a favourite memory - travel or food related?

I grew up in Medicine Hat, and at the time I grew up, there weren’t a lot of diverse restaurants for example, there wasn’t a sushi restaurant until I was in Middle school. Also, my mum didn’t love cooking - she’ll admit that she needed to cook to serve us something healthy and good. It’s funny because I’m one of three sisters and we love to cook! Food in our household wasn’t a huge emphasis  - it was more about bringing people together.

When I went travelling in Middle school, I remember not liking the food, yet when I went back as an adult (just this last year), I went to London and to Austria, I was so passionate about the food!


So the part about bringing people together is part of the force behind your blog…

Yes for sure! The way I show love and care for people is making food and feeding them, which my husband really likes - it’s one of his love languages! But yes, it’s about bringing people together.

I’ve seen a lot of healthy eating recipes on your blog, what’s one healthy eating tip you would dispense?

Full disclosure, I’m not a healthy eating expert - my blog partner is the registered dietician, so she is really good! I’m more of a “cook with butter” girl, but we try to eat less meat - that’s an easy way to cut down on less fat and calories. We did try one month without meat and what I liked about doing that was that it challenged me to try out different recipes. Before I was in a rut: meat, veggie, side. So going meat-free for a month, made me think about food differently, and it therefore expands your palette.


What’s one recommended tool everyone should have in their kitchen?

A good chef’s knife - is really key. We got given one three moves ago by our realtor. When we got it I thought: “This is such a weird gift! Why would he give us a knife?” Yet here it is, the thing that I use every day. You can do things faster and easier - I remember once thinking “This is hard on my wrists, why can’t I chop this yam?” and it was down to a bad knife! I really love Le Creuset’s spatulas and they last forever. I especially like the Spatula Spoon  - it has this cut out that makes it handy for cooking.

Tell me 3-5 things you can’t live without?

My iPhone, my Dyson, my car, Borage Seed Oil by The Ordinary - it’s made my skin so much better! And sunglasses. I’m an Optician by trade so that’s something I really value.


Name your Desert Island books and/or music?

The Acoustic Covers playlist on Spotify, it has become the soundtrack of our house. We’ve played it so much, I know every song! I sew - it promotes a busy-hands-clear-mind thing, and so I quilt specifically, so the quilt you’re sitting on, and the pillow - I made those! I also like listening to podcasts: The Stuff You Missed In History Class - that’s up my alley.


Lastly, What, as a community member, would you like to see in the future?

I think the community is heading in totally the right direction. It’s very inclusive and family-focused. The community centre is so awesome! For example on Tuesdays I was going there three times in one day: preschool, Tae kwon do and the dance classes. There are so many things happening at the centre, we’re very lucky, so adding more to the agenda would be great. I’m also excited to check out the Fibre Arts Club. Things like these are good to connect people and get you out of the house.


Now you may be curious (and hungry) about the treats Jess made prior to her interview. Thankfully, I also have the recipes courtesy of Jess and am sure you will find them amazingly tasty (the Blondies lasted two days in our household!).

Again, many thanks to Jess for inviting me in her home! If you would like to be featured in Citizen’s of Capitol Hill, contact me at: communication@capitolhillcommunity.ca




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Smoothie Bowl and Dijon and Parmesan Crusted Chicken (Stay tuned for the chicken recipe post - will be published on Friday!)