Rosebud Camp of the Arts started in 1973
ROSEBUD, Alta. — The sheltered valley setting of Rosebud has attracted many people throughout the years, from nature lovers to Group of Seven artist Alexander Young Jackson.
Settler James Wishart founded the hamlet in 1885, calling it “the promised land.” It flourished in the early 1900s, reaching a population of 300 in the 1920s but dropping to fewer than 30 by the 1970s.
Farming and oil and gas activities surround the hamlet, but coal mining petered out decades ago. School closures also led to local business and population losses.
The community’s transformation dates back to 1973, when LaVerne Erickson, a music and visual arts teacher, started the Rosebud Camp of the Arts as a summer outreach program for Calgary youth. The summer programs expanded into weekend vacations throughout the school year.
Old buildings found new uses as dorms and a retreat centre. In 1977, the camp developed into a residential fine arts high school named Rosebud School of the Arts and operated until 1986.
The school combined academics, arts and work experience with individual attention, with Erickson’s brother, Tim, managing the new school.
The Rosebud School of the Arts began to run theatre, which eventually developed into Rosebud Theatre and a shift in emphasis to post-secondary education.
In 2001, an eight-month certificate program began, followed by a revised mentorship program offering three years of professional training. The Studio Stage opened to provide increased performance opportunities for students.