June 25th, 2024

SAAG celebrating century of memories at former library


By Lethbridge Herald on January 26, 2022.

Herald photo by Alejandra Pulido-Guzman Lethbridge’s first purpose-built library opened its doors a century ago, and the Southern Alberta Art Gallery will be celebrating this historical milestone all year long.

Alejandra Pulido-Guzman – Lethbridge Herald

A building in the city of Lethbridge has reached a centennial milestone and the Southern Alberta Art Gallery will be celebrating all year round. 

What is now known as the upper level gallery of the Southern Alberta Art Gallery, was once Lethbridge’s first purpose-built library and served as such for over 50 years. 

On Jan. 23, 1922 the building located on 3 Avenue in Galt Gardens and built with funds from the Carnegie Corporation of New York, opened its doors for the first time and served as the Lethbridge Public Library until 1974 when it was relocated to its present location on 8 St. S. 

Since 1976, the original library building has been home to the Southern Alberta Art Gallery. 

“It’s going to be a year of various programs and events that celebrate the 100th anniversary of the former Carnegie-funded library building which is now home to our upper-level gallery,” said Heather Kehoe, publications and programming intern at SAAG. 

She said the main way they are commemorating the milestone is through a publication which will be released in February 2022. A collection of writing, art and archival materials from local writers and artists, as well as other organizations like the Galt Museum and Archives, the Lethbridge Historical Society and the Lethbridge Public Library. 

“Everyone sort of came together to make this publication that honours the history of the building, and looks towards what the next 100 years will look like in the now gallery,” said Kehoe. 

Kehoe said they will also be welcoming Belinda Crowson, president of the Lethbridge Historical Society to give a presentation about the preservation of historical buildings in Lethbridge. 

She added that they are looking forward to making this an ongoing conversation since the anniversary provides them with an opportunity to reflect back on not only the history of the gallery, but also the history of the space that they occupy. 

“Since it’s this very storied building through which different people, different organizations have shared stories in ways. So we’re taking it as a chance to connect with the community and connect with ours and Lethbridge’s history,” said Kehoe. 

She said they are also really excited about the centennial celebrations as they come just a few years before SAAG’s 50th anniversary in 2026. 

For more information on the centennial celebration and other events visit saag.ca

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