Prairie Wind & Silver Sage is Val Marie’s provincially recognized ecomuseum, offering a variety of services, including:
ECOMUSEUM — Our museum highlights the unique character of Grasslands, Val Marie, and the surrounding area through a combination of artifacts, mapping, photography, sound, and stories, incorporating historical, environmental, and cultural appreciation of both the land and the community. Expect to be engaged!
PRAIRIE GROUND COFFEE BAR — Enjoy a cup of well-brewed espresso and home made treats for your coffee break, breakfast bagels to start your morning, or get together with a friend before or after a park tour. Internet access available.
BOOKSTORE — One of the best selections of titles of a regional nature you’ll find anywhere. Up-to-date and diverse. Books for all ages.
GIFT & CRAFT ITEMS — We carry locally made, quality crafts and other items that make perfect gifts — for yourself or others. There is something for every age.
GALLERIES — We have two art galleries hosting exhibitions artist in each.
PUBLIC PROGRAMS — Every season we host a number of public programs related to our mandate, at the Little Brick Schoolhouse and in the community. Watch the News and Events page for information!
PRAIRIE GARDEN — Staff and volunteers have worked hard over the years to create garden spaces featuring indigenous species of grasses and flowers.
Prairie Wind & Silver Sage is located in Val Marie, Saskatchewan, a heartbeat from Grasslands National Park. We are in the Little Brick Schoolhouse heritage building, across from the Park Visitor Centre on Centre Street. See the map on the right side of the page for details.
SPRING/SUMMER: Open 9 am – 5 pm, 7 days a week. Closed for lunch 12 – 1
FALL: SEPTEMBER 1 – 20: Open 9 am – 5 pm, Friday to Monday. Closed for lunch 12 – 1
GROUPS: when possible, groups of 5+ people are advised to contact Prairie Wind prior to arrival to allow us to serve you better. Call 306 298-4910.
Ever wonder what those people in the Calgary Zoo trucks are up to every day in Grasslands National park? Are you curious why anyone would spend a whole summer chasing prairie dogs around? Or ask yourself: “Who the heck is that standing on a ladder out in the prairie”? Come to Prairie Wind and Silver Sage August 25 at 7:30 pm to get the answers to those questions, and more!
Come out to hear the Calgary Zoo field crew discuss their research in Grasslands this summer, the history of the Canadian Prairie Dog Ecosystem Research Project over the last ten years, and how Parks Canada and the Calgary Zoo have worked together to help understand black-footed ferrets and black-tailed prairie dogs in Canada.
A Poetry Machine for Kids is coming to the Val Marie village square (corner of Centre Street and 1st Avenue North) on Tuesday, August 9 at 10:30! Hosted by Prairie Wind & Silver Sage writer in residence Bren Simmers, the event is ideal for ages 7 to 16 and features Mad Lib, Five-Senses poems, and Poem Scrambles. There is no charge and no registration is required.
Three days later, Bren hosts a Words and Music Open Mic at the Val Marie Hotel for grownups. Five minute readings or share a couple of tunes – your own or someone else’s – or be there to cheer and enjoy this celebration. Starting at 8:00 p.m. and open to all open forms of musicianship and spoken word, the event is free of charge, though donations to the work of Prairie Wind & Silver Sage are greatly appreciated.
You can also enjoy Unexpected Poetry Encounters from August 8 to 16, with erasure poems and poetry machine for all, throughout Bren’s artist residency. Encounters will take place in Grasslands National Park and at Prairie Wind & Silver Sage and everyone is welcome. No registration or fees are required.
Bren Simmers is the second PWSS resident artist of this summer. She is the winner of the Arc Poem of the Year Award, finalist for the Bronwen Wallace Memorial Award and the Malahat Review Long Poem Prize, and longlisted for the CBC Poetry Prize. Her first book of poems, Night Gears, was published by Wolsak and Wynn in 2010. Hastings-Sunrise, a book-length poem about her old East Vancouver neighbourhood, was published by Nightwood Editions in 2015. Bren Simmers lives in Squamish, BC.
The Prairie Wind & Silver Sage Artist Residency program, now in its third year, annually hosts four or five artists in all disciplines. While they are in residence, the artists spend 50% of their time on their own work and 50% on projects in the community. Upcoming resident artists in 2016 are musicians Melissa Goodchild and Kevin Brady from Saskatoon, and photographer Valerie Zink, also of Saskatoon. The PWSS artist residency program is cosponsored with Grasslands National Park and funded by the Saskatchewan Arts Board and SaskCulture/Saskatchewan Lotteries.
You are invited to a performance! At 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, August 3 at the Val Marie Hotel, Prairie Wind & Silver Sage presents Madonna Hamel in a performance of My Sister’s Apron in conjunction with the exhibition My Mother’s Apron, now on view at PWSS until September 18. Help pass on the legacy of apron, and enjoy cameo appearances by the women of Val Marie – your friends and neighbours.
Performance art combines visual art with dramatic performance and has its history as far back as France in the early 20th century. It began to be more widely seen in North America in the 1960s and 1970s. Performance art uses styles and ideas from other forms of art, or sometimes from other forms of activity not associated with art, to create its own style.
Madonna Hamel is an artist, writer, performer, columnist and broadcaster currently resident in Val Marie. Her performance pieces/monologues/collages have been published in literary journals such as Capilano Review, Room, Fireweed, and others. As a journalist she contributes to CBC radio and the Globe and Mail. Her radio documentaries have won awards, including the New York Festival of World’s Best Radio. In Quebec she fronted the band Aunty Maddy and worked as a backup singer, touring professionally in the United States. She continues to write songs and is currently working on a book, Habits, Orders & Vows, about faith as inheritance. Her mother was born in Val Marie in 1930.
Prairie Wind & Silver Sage writer in residence Roger Mitchell is hosting open office hours this week at Prairie Wind & Silver Sage (the Little Brick Schoolhouse) in Val Marie and at the Frenchman Valley Campground, Grasslands National Park. Feel free to drop by to discuss writing, reading or books. Please disturb the writer at work!
Monday July 18, 10:00 – 12:00, PWSS
Tuesday July 19, 2:00 – 4:00, Frenchman Valley Campground
Wednesday July 20, 2:00 – 4:00, PWSS
Thursday July 21, 10:00 – 12:00, Frenchman Valley Campground
Friday July 22, 10:00 – 12:00, PWSS