Where does community and engagement meet in Calgary? Precisely at The AREA, a multi-faceted hub located at 1119 10 Ave SE in the neighbourhood of Inglewood.
The name is an acronym for Arts, Recreation, Education, Environment, and Agriculture, designed to be a community supporting all of these things through collaboration and the sharing of ideas. The objective is simple enough: they promote appreciation for urban culture, agriculture and sustainability, providing a learning environment, concerts and other musical activities.
All are welcome at the AREA and everyone is encouraged to participate and get engaged, as The AREA will become what the community makes it. On any given day you will find a variety of things happening including music, art, urban agricultural techniques, cooking, meditation or anything else that is AREA.
The buildings can be used for music events, education and art shows. The land is earmarked for anyone interested in starting a demonstration plot that can be used in conjunction with the training facility so that urban agricultural skills can be shared with all Calgarians at a reasonable cost.
The space is a quarter acre of land near the old National Hotel Barn and Crown Army Surplus. It houses the original Crown Lumber building that faces the street and one of Calgary’s original school houses that is inside the yard.
The property houses a variety of attractions, including a 120-year-old music venue, a 2,300 sq. ft. community garden, art installations, a fire pit and a recently built fish-shaped cob oven for cooking pizzas.
You may be heading down for a show, but you are bound to wander throughout the space. A bar area and dining room table greet newcomers as they enter the first building. Wander past a variety of local art projects strategically placed along the walls of the building.
The ancient schoolhouse, in which a variety of bands have played since The Area’s first opened, is the second building on the property. Examples of innovative art continue to flourish in it, with a handmade paper installation hung from the ceiling.