January’s Salon was a thought provoking event attended by an enthusiastic, engaged audience of CACV members together with people attending a Salon for the first time which was great to see.
The night kicked off with an insight into the fantastic eco-arts related work being carried out by three different local organizations- The Stanley Park Ecology Society, The UBC Student Environmental Council, and the Vancouver Maritime Museum. First up was Krystal from the Stanley Park Ecology Society, who talked passionately about their role in the stewardship of the park achieved through a combination of education, research, and conservation. Photos that Krystal had brought along to the salon showed children who were experiencing the sheer delight of nature, using their hands to create and nurture, which is a rare opportunity for some but an essential step in encouraging young minds to appreciate the world we should protect.
Following on from this, Sarah from the University of British Columbia gave us a look into the world of the Student Environmental Council- this group encourages people to really think about the effects each person has on the environment- cleverly demonstrated for example by the construction of a coffee cup tree (precisely as it sounds- a tree constructed from disposed coffee cups) as these cannot be recycled due to the plastic coating inside each one. I think this provides strong visual imagery about how an everyday object can have a powerful contribution to negative environment impacts. The students also organizes the Eco Fashion week, which uses solely ‘up-cycled’ clothes.
And Jamie from the Vancouver Maritime Museum gave a great interactive talk (with prizes included!) on the valuable work the museum does for our beautiful coastline. The museum brings stories alive through using artifacts, and Jamie conveyed this brilliantly bringing a selection in with him and talking about BC’s rich maritime history.These groups alll do a great job at emphasizing the fact that environmental awareness doesn’t have to be a repetitive message coded in scientific terminology, doom and gloom; what each of the speakers inspired in me was a sense that anyone, and everyone, has the opportunity and potential to engage with their community and environment, and that it can and should be FUN!
Following on from the presentations and to close the session, the Salon evolved into a group discussion on what do We believe to be Eco-arts…. with input from a wide range of people from guerilla gardeners, an engineer, students involved in environmental focus groups, volunteers, and members of the local community (and several more!), everyone had a slightly different but fascinating stance and motivations for being involved in some form of eco arts- but the general consensus was that art made environmental issues accessible to everyone, with no barriers, discriminations, or negativity. Art is a positive and creative energy which comes naturally to people when given the opportunity and tools- and as was demonstrated today- Vancouver has much to offer….
Stay tuned for our February Salon featuring local playwright Jordan Hall!
Author: Natalie Francis