Why We Exist
The first M:ST festival in 2001 was organized with the idea of celebrating performative art in Calgary by presenting works from local artists alongside established and emerging artists from across Canada and around the world. The organization was originally conceived to produce this biannual festival in response to the rapidly expanding local performative art community’s growing need for support. Since then M:ST has brought the works of over 250 artists to the Southern Alberta area, including Calgary, Lethbridge, and Banff.
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, encouraging discourse crucial for the growth and progression of performative practices and promoting dialogue through panel discussions, artist talks, and interactive workshops.
Since its infancy M:ST has been uniquely collaborative, working closely with arts organizations and businesses in the region to create an interactive and synergistic environment for artists, community partners, and participants. This structure has allowed the festival to represent each organization’s mandate and audience, while providing opportunities for cross-disciplinary and inter-organizational exchange. The result is an unprecedented participatory environment where artists and audience can experience contemporary performative work outside of traditional festival models or gallery settings.
M:ST acknowledges that we stand on the traditional territories of the Blackfoot and the people of the Treaty 7 region, which includes the Siksika, the Piikuni, the Kainai, the Tsuu T’ina and the Stoney Nakoda First Nations. The City of Calgary is also home to the Métis Nation of Alberta, Region III. Amidst the ongoing social, cultural and environmental effects of colonialism, we are committed to dialogue and collaboration with Indigenous artists and communities as part of our mandate to foster performative art practices in Southern Alberta.