Venue Hop: Sacred Arts in Camrose

If you read Quill and Quire, you’ve probably noticed the Venue Hop pieces. These stories feature a pub, coffee shop, or other place known for hosting readings. These articles are really useful for authors, I think, and a nice way to say thanks to great hosts. So I thought I’d do the same on my blog. This post is the first of many.

Sacred Arts in Camrose, Alberta, includes a coffee shop in the front and a yoga studio in the back. We performed in the coffee shop, a pleasant space with large windows onto 50th street and plenty of art hanging on the windows. It had enough room for us to set up our sound system (one speaker, a small mixing board, and mics), but was still intimate.

Lisa and Ravidass are the husband and wife team who own Sacred Arts. Their website states they’ve set out to create a community hub, and I think they’ve achieved that. They’ve started bringing in writers and musicians. They have regular yoga classes. Every three months they put out a call for submissions for the themed art exhibit within the space.

And they cared about our experience at their venue. Alyssa, their communications assistant, had promoted our show beforehand. She was excited to see us, and that was a nice confidence booster for us. She also took photos of us performing and posted them on social media.

We also had a great crowd. It was mostly our friends (and here I have to give a shout out to my friend Mary MacArthur, who not only hosted me at her place, but put a lot of energy into promoting my book and the show. She’d make a great book publicist). But there were also a few people we didn’t know, some working quietly on the sidelines. It was neat to see them look up from their computers or reading when Carmen’s songs caught their attention. Even the people who wandered in for a coffee were really polite, and would often hang out for a few minutes, listening. Overall, a very laid-back, but appreciative, vibe.

Really, I can’t say enough good things about Camrose. There are plenty of venues to pick from. There’s the Bailey Theatre for larger crowds. The local library seems like a good place as well — the librarian I met was very enthusiastic about booking writers. And I would highly recommend Sacred Arts to musicians or writers. They care about the show working well and it’s a lovely space for a smaller crowd.