Skip to content



These eight galleries provide unique exhibition opportunities for community-driven exhibitions, and feature the work of emerging artists and curators. Located on the west end of the +15 walkway between City Hall and the Glenbow Museum, the +15 Galleries are always open and always free.


Current Exhibition

Building Bridges and ReconciliACTION

The Colouring It Forward Society

Building Bridges and ReconciliACTION Arts Exhibition by CIF Reconciliation Society in partnership with Arts Commons, which features 14 artists who have come together to collaborate and create work together to promote healing and reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples.


CIF Reconciliation Society delivers art-based workshops and events that provide education on Indigenous ways of knowing and promote healing and reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples. We organize art exhibits on the theme of Truth & Reconciliation, language apps and an annual Orange Shirt Day Walk and Event called Pokaiks the Children.


Sprit Runs Through All
Melody Poon & Quenton Whitecalf

Our work explores imagery that resonates with everyone who shares this land: nature, family, love, and kindness. We share the truths, honour those who have survived the past, and work together to build a better future. We put forth questions of how humans interact with nature and our impact on the land and with each other. We imagine a world where humans take care of each other and nature, without hate and greed, co-existing with others peacefully and respectfully.


Together ~ mâmawi ᒪᒪᐃ
Mah-mow (Plains Cree Y Dialect)
Dale Swampy & Sheila Norris 

This collaborative art piece goes beyond the two pieces in this exhibit, its creation emerged from the partnership during the transformative month of September 2023, where Dale and Sheila embarked on a journey that would weave together stories, healing, hope and Indigenous ways of knowing in sharing circles. At Sparrow Artspace, the CIF Reconciliation Society Residency, the event titled “Honouring the Children,” together Dale and Sheila facilitated eight workshops. These workshops were more than mere gatherings; they were sacred spaces, where voices resonated, hearts connected, experiences were heard and the past found its voice in an Indigenous narrative.

wâsakâmi-pîkiskwêwin ᐊᐧᓴᑲᒥ ᐱᑭᐢᑫᐧᐃᐧᐣ (wah-sa-gah-mih peek-skwee-win)

which translates to “Sharing Circle” in Plains Cree was created by Kanîmehitot nipê iskwew (Water Dancing Woman) Sheila Norris

In the sharing circles which were part of the workshops, participants bared their souls, sharing emotionally charged personal stories. As they listened to one another, healing unfolded—a collective mending of wounds carried across generations and cultures. The power of storytelling transcended cultural boundaries, bridging gaps and fostering understanding in reconciliACTION. Sheila wanted to have that representation of the sharing circles within this exhibit as it was a profound and important part of our workshop but also beyond that the hope and healing that came together with everyone who participated.

acâhkos kâ-osôsit  ᐊᒐᐦᑯᐢ ᑲᐅᓱᓯᐟ (ah-chaa-kohs-kaa-oh-soo-sit)

which translates to “Shooting Star” in Plains Cree is the amazing star blanket created by Osaw Kihew (Golden Eagle)Dale Swampy. The attendees, representing diverse cultures and ages, contributed to this Indigenous tapestry. Each person wove a fragment of their experience into the ReconciliACTION diamond of the blanket—a symbol of collective intention. Together, they wished for a brighter tomorrow, a world where reconciliation blooms. This star blanket is more than fabric and stitches; it is a catalyst for conversations. It invites us to reflect, to honour the past, and to envision a future where shared experiences bind us all. acâhkos kâ-osôsit  - is a beacon of hope, stitched with love, resilience, and the whispered dreams of many.

The Residency & The Exhibit -The Blanket & The Circle - The Cree Medicine Wheel & 4 Sacred Medicines

Together ~ mâmawi ᒪᒪᐃᐧ


In Truth, Truth in All Seasons, Hope for Healing
VL Parker & Kateryna Pysarenko

In Truth by watercolor artist, Kateryna Pysarenko and Spirit-led artist, VL Parker, is an exhibition that focuses on the importance of sharing, listening, and digesting the truth, as a pathway toward healing and building a bridge toward reconciliation.

We need to acknowledge the evil we suffered and digest each other’s experiences to ensure they are not repeated, while celebrating the diverse beauty of our cultural truths as well.

Some have been broken, some shattered by the personal and generational trauma that they have suffered. The good news is that, what we do today will also impact others, even seven generations from now. This reality is expressed by the broken glass in the joint piece entitled, Truth in all Seasons that was created by both artists.

It is through our collaboration, creativity and humility, as symbolized by the crows in these pieces and the prayer warrior and truth speaker in VL Parkers work Hope for Healing, that we can heal ourselves, the nations and generations that follow.

Parker was inspired by a dream she had the morning that she was to meet Kateryna. In the dream Parker passed by a group of crows and a group of Ravens and one from each group looked directly at her. The crow was silently staring at VL and the Raven cawed. In parker’s Aboriginal culture the crow represents humility and collaboration. The crow also represents creativity. In Parker’s Celtic heritage ravens symbolizes seeing without human eyes and being spiritually attuned. When Parker found two crow feathers on her back doorstep, prior to meeting with Kateryna, she had to include a crow in the works.

In the self-portrait in Kateryna Pysarenko’s work, a woman is depicted wearing contemporary attire, symbolizing the idea that the solution to a problem lies only in the present. It's impossible to change the past, but one can strive to create a different future. As a Ukrainian, Kateryna draws parallels with the war in Ukraine and attempts to eradicate Ukrainian culture by incorporating elements of national costume, symbols of herbs, and birds. This underscores the importance of understanding one's ethnic identity and preserving traditions. Kateryna is inspired by the realization that traditions of different nations have similar elements and can be shared in the pursuit of spiritual and physical healing.

Let us all share, listen to and embrace each other’s stories and celebrate each other’s cultural truths in humility as we build a better future for ourselves and the generations that follow.


Truth and Reconciliation | Verdad y Reconciliación
Wilmer Aburto & Marley Tahize Heavyshield

This collaborative exhibition brings together the work of Marley HeavyShield, a Niitsitapi (Blackfoot) artist, and Wilmer Aburto, a Nicaraguan-born artist, in an exploration of Truth and Reconciliation. Drawing inspiration from their cultural heritages, the artists create a dialogue that transcends borders and time.

Central to this collaboration is the famous 17th-century Nicaraguan play El Güegüense or Macho Ratón, considered Nicaragua's first literary work and a vital part of Nahuatl culture. Born under Spanish colonial rule, the satirical play rejects Spanish domination and voices the Indigenous and mestizo experience. Over time, El Güegüense has become a national symbol embodying Nicaragua's protest and identity. UNESCO declared it an Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity in 2005.

For Marley, truth and reconciliation require understanding the 500-year-long experience of colonization and recognizing its painful and traumatic legacy. It means reflecting on how we've all been impacted and shaped by this history and embracing our collective responsibility in healing for the future. Truth must come before reconciliation - knowing and accepting these parts of our past. Beyond that, celebrating our cultures together and sharing their beauty is essential for collective healing. 

Wilmer believes that nothing is more important to our shared journey of healing than having stories told by individuals with lived experience. As a diasporic Nicaraguan, his creative art and photography are part of his own story. 

The mixed media installation features an overlap of Nicaraguan fabrics and sacred Blackfoot materials and beadwork in complete harmony, emphasizing not the differences but the similarities between cultures. At the core of this exhibition is a deeper kind of healing - the renewal of a relationship between Marley and Wilmer, niece and uncle, separated by life circumstances when she was a young infant. 25 years later, they come together united through art to heal the bond of family.

This collaboration pays homage to the history and importance of cultural works like El Güegüense, celebrates the rich heritages of Nicaragua and the Niitsitapi (Blackfoot People), and demonstrates the power of art to forge connections, reveal truths, and pave the way for reconciliation.


Welcome to Turtle Island
Isis Horne Hill & Jeremy "Jerm" Richardson

Jeremy Richardson and Isis Horne Hill present Welcome to Turtle Island, an Indigenous Futurism-inspired series of paintings. Through this exhibition, viewers delve into themes of technology, memory, and heritage, envisioning new possibilities for Turtle Island's future. We crafted three paintings, the largest portraying a decolonial narrative inspired by the Haudenosaunee creation story. It shows an alternate future where turtle space-crafts travel across a Canadian landscape, healing and keeping the land prosperous for many generations to come. The two individual paintings are expressions of personal healing and introspection which we believe is vital to a collective well being. While reflecting on our own connections with the land and heritage, we invite the viewer to reflect on their sense of place and community on Turtle Island. The first step in making a reconciled future possible is to imagine it, whether it's a turtle spaceship with cities on its back allowing the land to heal or imagining ways to empower and blend indigenous ways of knowing with existing societal powers to be on equal terms. It can be tantalizing and easy to want to give up when the goal is so broad, so changing the outlook by using positive reinforcement through humor, fantasy, and self-reflection can make the journey less daunting. 


Ogichigiyabi Teacht Ar Athléimneacht (Helping Others Find Resilience)
Sinead Ludwig-Burgess & Andrew Holloway

In times of oppression, unity among communities is the powerful force that ignites hope and resilience, forging a path towards solidarity and strength. The sculpture, Ogichigiyabi Teacht Ar Athléimneacht (Helping Others Find Resilience) was inspired by a gesture of allyship between the Choctaw tribe and Ireland during the Irish potato famine in 1847. It is evident that both cultures have experienced significant marginalization due to colonization and oppression and while their experiences differ, it is important to acknowledge and support each other in their times of need. By extending compassion and raising awareness, we can work towards preventing such events from reoccurring.

In the artwork, Ogichigiyabi Teacht Ar Athléimneacht (Helping Others Find Resilience), the dream catcher positioned atop a bridge-like structure symbolizes the aspiration to capture the goodness and greatness that each culture desires to share with one another. This representation aims to unite different beliefs and cultures in overcoming sadness and challenges. The structure on which it is placed metaphorically acts as a bridge, connecting communities towards common humanitarian objectives. Drawing inspiration from the healing traditions of Stoney Nakoda culture, the base incorporates colors of the medicine wheel. The patterns on each arch represents Indigenous and Celtic cultures wrapped together to make an eagle feather, because the eagle is the animal closest to the great spirits. Additionally, the four points of this structure symbolize the cardinal directions – north, west, east, and south – signifying unity regardless of one's origin.

Amethyst stones are believed to have a calming presence that aid in creating soothing dreams, bringing the dreamer more in tune with the Divine. This clarity and peacefulness also extends to the waking mind, helping the mind flow freely in both mental and metaphysical dimensions. The amethyst stones hanging below the dream catcher are strategically positioned to evoke the concept of a Newton's Cradle. Newton's cradle illustrates the third law of motion, where the release of one stone causes a chain reaction that transfers force through all the stones, ultimately propelling the stone on the opposite end. This symbolism underscores the importance of fostering generosity and mutual support between different countries and cultures, enabling them to draw strength from each other and to offer support when needed.

In Native culture, the act of giving away a blanket signifies deep care and respect to the person receiving it. The placement of a blanket on each side of the sculpture represents the artists respective heritages – Andrew Holloway’s Stoney Nakoda and Sinéad Ludwig-Burgess’ Irish background – where it conveys a message of kinship, support, and solidarity. This gesture highlights the significance of diverse communities uniting for noble causes, such as combating oppression and advocating for justice.

Get the Inside Scoop

With the Arts Commons newsletteryou’ll be the first to learn about upcoming shows, ticket sales, behind-the-scenes stories and exclusive info. Join the email list now. 

Sign Up Now