Client: Mi’kai’sto (Red Crow Community College)
Location: Stand Off, AB, Canada
Completion date: 2023
Design and Creative Director
Entro recently completed the planning, management and curation of an ambitious two-year art program for Mi’kai’sto (Red Crow Community College) in Standoff, Alberta, a Kainai Blackfoot community located on the Blood Reserve. An exterior monument complements the art program’s celebration of Blackfoot culture and stands as a landmark beacon in the community. 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, defining an accessible and intimate space for gathering, or the contemplation of the Blackfoot values printed on several of the poles.
The exterior monument is part of a larger art program at Mi'kai'sto. Fifteen Blackfoot and other invited artists have created original commissioned works of art for this new college facility – each responding to the program art committee and Elders’ briefing, which conveyed the aspirations for Mi’kai’sto, for the young people and the community, and the importance of the Blackfoot worldview, storytelling and knowledge transfer that through each work, will welcome people into a Blackfoot space.
"The Red Crow Community College has been a beacon of Blackfoot ways of knowing since its inception. 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."
– Adrian Stimson (Apoiskumapi), member of the Siksika (Blackfoot) Nation in southern Alberta
The exterior monument was created in collaboration with Mi’kai’sto, artist Adrian Stimson, and fabricators WSI Sign Systems.
The Mi’kai’sto project also included the design of a bilingual wayfinding program for the 129,000-square-foot facility. The use of Blackfoot language as the primary voice of communications throughout the school is the most culturally significant element of the program and an essential aspect of the Mi’kai’sto identity. Material selection, typography, cultural symbols and patterns combine to express a program that is clear, contextually relevant and integrated with the architecture.