Arts | Arts

Mountain Standard Time Performative Art Festival Society

We celebrate innovative and critically engaged performative art in the southern Alberta region. We curate biannual performance art festivals that showcase engaging local, national and international artists in collaboration with artist-run centres. We contribute to our city's cultural knowledge and wealth.

Our Story

Why We Exist

M:ST was originally conceived and created by The New Gallery, one of Canada’s oldest artist-run centres, to produce a bi-annual performance art festival. The term “performance art” describes art practices that originate from a visual or media arts background and involve the live presence of the artist. It can include happenings, public interventions, culture jamming, video, film, spoken word, installation, or live web streaming.

Earlier festivals and events from the 1970’s onward (Workshop, Space for Space, Ex.120) reflected the support of a growing and diverse local performative arts community. Building on this tradition, the first M:ST was organized to celebrate this established arts community by presenting works from local artists alongside visiting artists from across Canada and the world. Spanning the month of April 2001, M:ST 1 featured over 30 artists presenting work within Calgary’s urban landscape. M:ST 1 included workshops, lectures and panel discussions and created important dialogue between local, national and international artists.

As a result of the overwhelming success of the festival, M:ST was established as a biennial event. Since 2001 we’ve continure to grow. Aside from the bi-annual festival M:ST also presents interim programming. This started in 2004 with M:ST 2.5 Grand Action, a three day seminar event that included studio visits at the Banff Centre, a panel discussion at the Alberta College of Art + Design, as well as a comunity party and networking session. In 2005, M:ST 3 expanded to a regionally-based event, including the participation of the Southern Alberta Art Gallery in Lethbridge and the Walter Phillips Gallery in Banff.

Since 2001 the M:ST festival has brought the works of over 250 artists to the Southern Alberta area. We collaborate with Arts Commons, Southern Alberta Art Gallery, Alberta College of Art + Design, TRUCK Gallery, Stride Gallery, The New Gallery, The Nickle Galley, Calgary Society of Independant Filmmakers, and EMMEDIA to create a uniquely collaborative and participatory environement.  This collaborative structure allows the festival to represent each organization’s mandate and audience, while providing opportunities for cross-disciplinary and inter-organizational exchange. The result is a unique participatory context, where artists and audience experience contemporary performative work outside of more traditional festival or gallery models.

Our objective is to showcase original, diverse, entertaining, and thought-provoking performative works. The term “performative” describes practices that originate from a visual or media arts discourse and involve the live presence of the artist.  Presenting a wide range of media, M:ST’s programming is responsive to issues in contemporary art, fostering discourse crucial for the growth and progression of performative practices and promoting dialogue through panel discussions, workshops, and dissemination activities.

Our Impact

What We Do

The mission of M:ST is to ensure that performative art practices are recognized and sustained in the Southern Alberta region. M:ST fosters innovation and collaboration among local, national and international artistic communities.

M:ST is committed to presenting performative works from a variety of disciplines that reflect current issues and practices in contemporary art. M:ST’s role in presenting professional, high quality cultural experiences continues to grow, increasing opportunities for education and critical discourse surrounding contemporary performative practices.

We fulfill our mandate by:

  • Educating our community though workshops, panel discussions
  • Contributing to the reiliancy of our feild with publications and archival documents
  • Advocating for the rights of performance artists
  • Support work which inludes artists from diverse backgrounds, cultural communities, languages, and experience levels
  • Providing proffesional development opportunities for emerging artists, such as mixers, volunteer, internships, and employment opportunities.
  • Paying above and beyond CARFAC standards
  • Accessibilty: all of our events are free and open to any interested member of the public


Our Programs

How We Do It

M:ST Festivals are organized and produced with the dedicated assistance and support of our member organizations. Our current member organizations are:

  • Alberta College of Art + Design
  • Arts Commons
  • Calgary Society of Independent Filmmakers
  • EMMEDIA Gallery and Production Society
  • The Nickle Galleries
  • Stride Gallery
  • The New Gallery
  • TRUCK Contemporary Art in Calgary
  • Untitled Arts Society
  • Southern Alberta Art Gallery
  • University of Lethbridge Art Gallery

The M:ST Society continues to maintain the unique collaborative structure of previous festivals, and benefits from the participation of public art galleries and academic arts institutions as venues and co-presenters of a critically acclaimed performative art festival.

As the only regionally based Festival of its kind, M:ST continues an important tradition of supporting performative art in Southern Alberta.


Our Requests

What You Can Do

As a not for profit charity organziation M:ST depends government grants and Alberta Liqour and Gaming Commission funds. We are always looking for opportunties to pass these funds on to our artists and the community in equitable ways. We pay and exceed CARFAC fee expectations and all of our events are free to the public.

If you support our mission and would like to DONATE, your donation will contibute to the facilitation of new workshops we’re currently facilitating. Operational costs.

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Desiree Nault

Mountain Standard Time Performative Art Festival Society


Charitable Number: 872855903RR0001

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