The Community Arts Council of Vancouver (CACV) is coordinating 12 events in the Downtown Eastside between May 2010 and February 2011 as part of our new Creative Pathways program. The program aims to create connections between DTES community members and professional artists and to provide DTES visitors with a chance to experience the area in fresh and creative ways.
Program coordinator, Sita Kumar, has been inspired and energized by her work in the DTES and with the CACV. The program, which will include everything from light installations to an Aboriginal Summer Festival, will benefit from Sita’s knowledge, experience and connections in the DTES. “I believe these events will provide opportunities for DTES residents to engage with the arts as creators and performers and demonstrate to the public how welcoming and creative this community can be to visitors.” The neighbourhoods that make up the DTES are some of the founding communities of the city of Vancouver. By building bridges between local cultural organizations , community members, emerging DTES artists, and professional artists at large, Creative Pathways will not only help to revitalize this diverse area but will draw attention to the local concerns and values of the DTES.
New CACV president, Michael Clague is very enthusiastic about the CACV as it expands its support to the community arts in the DTES. “I believe engagement through culture and arts helps community members give voice to their experiences and dreams. Our new Creative Pathways project will showcase local arts talents of the highest calibre . All residents of Vancouver and visitors are welcome to join local audiences in this exciting, creative part of Vancouver that some know only as the ‘poorest neighbourhood in Canada’.”
Richard Evans who was part of the initial team that developed a Public Realm proposal in 2006 has been the lead board representative working to finalize the project. Evans says, “It’s been a long haul. And worth it. As Chair of the Friends of Victory Square, we raised over a million dollars for revitalization of the square and the cenotaph. Once complete, I could see that the next step had to be about programming events to make the square come alive. I am very committed personally and as part of the CACV to make this project a big success and welcome people into this creative and exciting neighbourhood.”
CACV thanks Great Beginnings, City of Vancouver, Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation, Vancouver Foundation, Legacies Now and BC Arts Council of Vancouver for their financial and advisory support to this program.
The CACV Creative Pathways Public Realm and Artists in the Streets programs aim to:
- Support Artists and Art;
- Develop and promote DTES artists and art;
- Produce and promote artists and arts activity in the public realm of the Downtown Eastside;
Support Capacity Building
- Build the capacity of DTES involved individuals and organizations to collaborate, partner, create and produce art for the streets
- Multiple opportunities for training and mentoring with local artists and residents with professional artists and production personnel. Workshops will be identified in dialogue between the Project Coordinator and the community.
Support Community Development and Engagement
- Create and promote art that reflects community concerns and values;
- Build relationships and bridges between the cultures, socio-economic groups and mini neighbourhoods of the greater Downtown Eastside.
- Animate the streets of the Downtown Eastside with engaging, artistic activity.
Extend awareness, information and skills of arts-based community development practice
- Communicate to artists and organizations about the workshops, mentoring and events including reference to ABCD resources and practices.
Contribute to the understanding and progression of arts-based community development
- Provide opportunities at CACV events and online for individuals to learn about and comment on this program.