Harry & KatieFounders of the Kiyooka Ohe Arts Centre
Photo by Jeremy Fokkens for Avenue Calgary
Harry Kiyooka, RCA (1928 – 2022)
B.Ed., B.F.A., M.A., M.F.A.
Co-Founder, Kiyooka Ohe Arts Centre
With great sadness, the KOAC Board of Directors shares the news that our Co-Founder and friend, Harry Kiyooka, passed away peacefully on Friday, April 8, 2022.
Harry’s influence in the art community spanned across Canada. He was active not only as an artist but as an educator, curator, collector, mentor, activist, administrator and philanthropist.
Born in Calgary in 1928, Harry overcame prejudice and poverty to become an artist. He eventually received four degrees, including a Bachelor of Education, a Bachelor of Fine Arts, a Masters of Art, and a Masters of Fine Arts, all before turning 30 years old. In 1958, Harry left Canada to study art in Italy. Upon his return to Calgary in 1961, he began a teaching position at the new University of Alberta, Calgary campus. In 1988, Harry retired from the University of Calgary after 27 years with the rank of Professor Emeritus of Art.
Throughout his long career, Harry served on local, provincial, and national boards such as the Canadian Conference of the Arts, the Royal Canadian Academy, the Alberta Society of Artists, the Alberta Art Foundation, Calgary Allied Arts Centre, the Calgary Allied Arts Foundation and the Calgary Contemporary Arts Society. Harry was a founding member of the Calgary Contemporary Arts Society (1982), a Life Member of the Alberta Society of Artists and a member of the Royal Canadian Academy.
In 1988, Harry was awarded a 125th Anniversary Medal of Confederation for his contribution to the community in establishing the Triangle Gallery of Visual Arts (now Contemporary Calgary). In 1966, Harry received the Award of Excellence from the Alberta College of Art and Design for contributions to the visual arts.
Harry was a passionate advocate and inspiration for the Kiyooka Ohe Arts Centre. Founded in 2007 with his wife, sculptor Katie Ohe, the Kiyooka Ohe Arts Centre, a year-round, art-in-nature destination, is dedicated to research, exhibition, education and documentation of contemporary visual arts. Harry successfully secured an Arts and Culture designation for the Kiyooka Ohe Arts Centre with Rocky View County, bringing the importance of the arts to the conversation of land use.
Kiyooka Ohe Arts Centre and all those he influenced and inspired will be Harry’s lasting legacy to the Canadian art world. He will be deeply missed.
In lieu of flowers, the family would appreciate donations to Harry’s beloved KOAC.
Rest in Peace, Harry Mitsuo Kiyooka.
Harry Kiyooka and Katie Ohe’s belief in giving back to the community at large and the friends and family who supported their careers is what prompted them to establish the Kiyooka Ohe Arts Centre (KOAC)
The KOAC is not only their cultural legacy but a fulfillment for a lifetime as teachers and artists dedicated to the education, creation and the promotion of contemporary art.
The land was purchased by Harry and Katie in 1973 and they have been living there since 1978. Their vision for a Centre fostering contemplation and creativity, and for promoting and experiencing contemporary art through exhibitions, research, lectures, symposia, workshops, and residencies includes the donation of the property, residence, artist studios and facilities to the KOAC Society – of which they are lifetime Board members. In the near future, as the Centre becomes operational, they will complete transferring to the Society their personal works, their art collection and endowment funds for operational purposes.
Harry and Katie’s entire personal ‘oeuvre’ of paintings and sculptures and their extensive and valuable international and Canadian contemporary art collection will form the core of the artwork display at the Centre.
B.Ed, BFA, MA, MFA, RCA
Dip. ACA, LLD, RCA
The Kiyooka Ohe Arts Centre was incorporated in 2007 and received CRA charitable society designation in 2010. Since then, the Centre has improved the property’s infrastructure, increased the protection of the wetlands, changed the land use designation and finalized the design of a future arts Pavilion.