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Southern Alberta college nominated in global design competition

Mi'kai'sto (Red Crow Community College), located in Stand Off, was nominated in the education category. (Photo: CODA/Worx) Mi'kai'sto (Red Crow Community College), located in Stand Off, was nominated in the education category. (Photo: CODA/Worx)
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A southern Alberta college has been nominated for an international design competition meant to recognize large-scale community artworks from around the world.

Mi'kai'sto (Red Crow Community College), located in Stand Off, was nominated in the education category.

A number of public art installations across Canada are among the top 100 finalists for a CODA award, given "to those who successfully integrate commissioned art into interior, architectural or public spaces," a release said.

Red Crow College was burned down in 2015 in what police suspect was arson. Ground was broken for the new college in 2019 and it reopened in November 2022.

The college sits on the site of a former residential school, St. Mary's.

The building infuses elements of Blackfoot culture into its architecture and features Indigenous artwork throughout its halls.

“The facility is to be seen as a hub for our community and there are many other events that Red Crow will host," said Red Crow College president Roy Weasel Fat, in an interview with CTV News' Quinn Keenan for a 2022 story about the new building.

The $48 million facility infuses elements of Blackfoot culture into its architecture and features Indigenous artwork through out its halls.

"An exterior monument complements the art program’s celebration of Blackfoot culture and stands as a landmark beacon in the community," it says on the CODA Worx website. "Its design is derived from the form of a traditional Kainai stand-up headdress.

"The 22 colourfully patterned and illuminated poles stand in a circle with openings facing east and west," it adds, "defining an accessible and intimate space for gathering, or the contemplation of the Blackfoot values printed on several of the poles."

Blackfoot artist Adrian Stimson, a member of the Siksika Nation, worked on Mi'kai'sto in collaboration with its design team to create a physical space that reflects Blackfoot ways, he says.

"The Red Crow Community College has been a beacon of Blackfoot ways of knowing since its inception," Stimson says. "The new Red Crow Community College (Mi’kai’sto) will continue that proud history.

"As a commissioned artist, to contribute to the continuum of Blackfoot visual culture is truly an honour. The importance and transfer of Blackfoot visual knowledge at the college is one of its main objectives; to honour, to encourage, to research and to celebrate the many creative minds and protocols of the Blackfoot.

"Red Crow Community College is a gathering place, a lodge that protects, promotes and celebrates our past, present and future."

Public voting has been open since July 18 and continues through Monday.

You can vote here.

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