In a crook of the Elbow River, where Bragg Creek ends its tumble down Moose Mountain and through the Foothills, the hamlet that takes its name from the creek, nestles. Spectacular Kananaskis Country is minutes away. The immutable jagged profile of the Rockies, colours ever-changing, defines the western horizon. Over 30 years ago, the region, beyond the few houses clustered along the river, was mostly wilderness and ranching country. Such an idyllic spot was bound to attract artists. The Sheep Creek Weavers were active further south, and potters and painters were already being drawn to its beauty and freedom.
In the 1970s, Bragg Creek had become a focal point for artists and crafts people from many fields of endeavour. By 1976, some saw advantages of consolidating the loose assembly in a more formal way. Such an organization could provide a forum to exchange ideas and inspiration. It could seek recognition at the government level, making it eligible for grants to support teaching programs. It could provide links to the larger artistic community beyond.
A nucleus of like-minded individuals, consisting of Kim Agnew, Sig Bradshaw, Ursula Beckedorf, Doug Grant, Mary Neufeld, and Bob Treacy met in February of 1977. Doug Grant, a lawyer, greatly helped in the details of structuring the fledgling group. A formal meeting was held on March 29, 1977 and initial executive installed: President Sig Bradshaw, Vice President Ernie Stapleford, Secretary Bob Treacy, Treasurer Rich Majury. Their interests and those of the other founders, embraced painting and drawing, photography, ceramics, stained glass, leatherwork and fibre art (weaving, needlework, knitting). Thus the variety that would continue to characterize the group was already represented. Indeed, the Bragg Creek Artisans Association, as it came to be called, has always been stimulating and rewarding – eclectic in scope, eager to learn, willing to share knowledge and experience.
The Bragg Creek Artisans can be found at the Bragg Creek Centre, on 23 White Ave., Bragg Creek.