Congratulations to the following Downtown Eastside organizations – stay tuned for updates on their fantastic projects!
(Photo courtesy of Talentosa Productions and Accordion Noir Society. Left to right Rosa Prieto, JJ Harper, Peter Dale, Emily Neumann, Dr. Ross Braes)
Accordion Noir Society in partnership with St James Music Academy
The Great Accordion Journey
This project provides an enriching and intensive experience for youth at St James Music Academy to participate in the music and story of the accordion. From August 2017 to June 2018, students will have an immersive introduction to accordion arts through workshops, performances, and hands-on creative experiences with up to 12 professional accordion artists from diverse artistic and cultural backgrounds. Lead artist Anastasia Gereluk will guide students on a journey providing examples of accordion music from around the world, accordions for them to play and explore, and opportunities for musical and storytelling creation with the instrument. The project will begin with students receiving scholarships to the Accordion Noir Festival in September 2017, integrate with existing performance opportunities at St James throughout the school year, and culminate at a final show produced by Accordion Noir Society to honour the accordion journeys of the students and other community members.
Gallery Gachet in partnership with WePress and the Powell Street Festival Society
Create and Share Community Sketchbook Project & Exhibit
Gallery Gachet and WePress will bring together 40 diverse participants from Downtown Eastside organizations, connect them with professional artists to make sketchbooks filled with artwork, and share that work and their stories at a public exhibition and art opening. The vision of the project is to help communities of the DTES dispel stereotypes about the neighbourhood and tell their own stories to the broader Vancouver community. It will bring together the best elements of WePress’ community workshops over the past year in letterpress, bookbinding, and block printmaking, and combine them with other media such as journaling, collage, hand-sewing and embroidery. The artists say, “The beauty of the sketchbook lies in its roughness, serendipity, and the unexpected. There is a freedom that comes from the reduced pressure of having to make ‘the one perfect piece’ and the chance to try many things over time.” The completed sketchbooks will be exhibited at Gallery Gachet for one week, with a public opening taking place on April 6, 2018. A host of community partners such as SFU Office of Community Engagement will support dissemination of the project to a wide Vancouver audience.
Theatre Terrific in partnership with Kokoro Dance
As an inclusive theatre company that works with artists of all abilities, in this project Theatre Terrific will develop a work that features the artistic strengths of deaf artists. Theatre Terrific Artistic Director Susanna Uchatius and General Manager Landon Krentz together led a workshop for deaf students who attend Vancouver Community College. It was made clear that the deaf community has little to no access to performance either as artists or as audience. BREATH-ahhh will open this door to inclusion and create a theatre production that explores breath as something we all share. The performance will explore the nature of breath relying heavily on movement, choreographed dance, imagistic gestures, and a self created/expressed soundscape. Narrative will be sourced from the many mythic and cultural stories that address breath. Up to 15 cast members will work in the Kokoro Dance Studio on the main floor facing the Atrium in the Woodwards Heritage Building. Composer/musician Angelo Moroni will provide soundscape and on-site music to accompany the production. The production will be part of the 2017 Vancouver Fringe Festival in September 2017 as well as performed in the Kokoro Dance Studio.
Jacob’s Well in partnership with Servants and Strathcona Vineyard
Nest Community Mural 2.0 – A Sequel to a Collaborative Effort
This project will build on the success of the 2014 Nest Community Mural Project with another large-scale outdoor mural, with the intention of enhancing leadership skills in individuals, especially those who participated in the last project. This includes hiring and training local community leaders to manager, plan, co-design, document, and of course paint! Building on the theme “resilience”, lead artists Jenny Hawkinson and Cate Wikelund will work to find points of healing and resilience within the diversity of the neighbourhood in three community design workshops. The identified mural site is an exterior wall located at 575 East Cordova Street, to be confirmed but discussions with the owners are underway. The collaborative painting will take place in summer 2017 with an all-day block party to celebrate the finished mural in September. Developments from the last grant received include enhanced documentation including a time-lapse video of the whole painting process.