Canmore’s Project A Promotes Emerging Canadian Designers
Surrounded by the jagged granite spires of the Canadian Rocky Mountains, Canmore, Alberta is a beacon for artistic souls and outdoor enthusiasts. The small mountain town with its variety of restaurants, art galleries and boutiques is also a destination for a weekend getaway or a day trip from Calgary. The locals grumble a little about parking on weekends, or that they might have to reserve a table for dinner, but (really) they are happy to live in a dynamic town.
Stop by Project A on your next visit to Canmore for unique gifts from a curated collection of creations by emerging Canadian artists. The store occupies a narrow slice of retail space on Canmore’s main street. The linear footprint would be awkward for most stores, but according to owner Jade Ansley, it helps to have family in the construction and space planning business. The design maximizes use of the vertical height with wooden display boxes that stretch towards the ceiling. Lighting and white-washed walls help to create an art gallery feel, which is precisely the concept Ansley wants to achieve.
“The gallery aims to create relationships between the public, other galleries, and artists, to build their careers.”
Jade Ansley is a metalsmith, entrepreneur and a Canmore resident. Drawn to the arts from a young age, Ansley studied jewellery design and metal arts at the New Brunswick College of Craft and Design (NBCCD). She began the three-year NBCCD program in 2012 and followed that with graduate studies dedicated to business within the arts.
“The graduate program was the course that got me into curating and business—I ran my first Project A pop-up in Fredericton as my thesis. Funded by the government of New Brunswick (Heritage and Culture office) the program featured 19 graduates and current students at NBCCD.”
Project A—Canmore began as a pop-up store, opening its doors in June 2017 for that summer. Ansley assumed the risk of renting a vacant storefront on Canmore’s main drag. Her vision was to entice locals and summer tourists into the pop-up store to view (and buy) the work of 40+ emerging Canadian designers. These artistic creations included jewellery, clothing, leather goods, textiles, furniture, pottery, sculptures and paintings.
No Longer a Pop-Up
In November 2017, Project A relocated to its current location, where Ansley confirmed that there is now a rotating collection of work by 75 talented designers. These Canadian artists are located from coast-to-coast. There are of course many reasons to visit Canmore, but one is to discover this gallery-retail store with its collection of beautiful designer creations.
710 8 St Unit 103,
Image Credits: all photos provided by and published with the permission of Jade Ansley