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Uncovering Vision: UGM’s Culture Crawl event features photography and art by men and women on the Downtown Eastside

Vancouver, BC—Art has long been a source of healing for many, and few know this better than the UGM clients who have accessed one of UGM’s two art programs—“PHOTO 101” and “Art From The Heart.” The beauty of art, however, is that often the healing process yields incredible creations. Metro Vancouver residents are invited to visit the UGM gallery at 361 Heatley Avenue as part of the Eastside Culture Crawl to view photos, painting and drawing created by UGM recovery graduates and UGM guests.

Official studio opening and reception is 5:00 to 5:45PM on Friday, November 18, with the gallery open till 10PM that night and all weekend.

Photo 101 is the brainchild of UGM’s Leah Gregg, Community Engagement Specialist & Photographer, and renowned professional photographer Kevin Clark. It’s a weekly class for two months where nine men involved in UGM programs learn about photography and composition, and are given cameras to explore their neighbourhood while striving to capture beauty.

“One of my favorite moments I witnessed was between Kevin Clark and a UGM Alcohol & Drug Recovery program participant,” says Gregg. “Kevin’s been a professional photographer for over 20 years and this gentleman has struggled with a serious addiction. But one class, the program participant was wearing a ‘World’s Greatest Dad’ T-shirt and Kevin and him starting talking about what it’s like to be a dad. In that moment, something special happened. Suddenly, walls fell and they didn’t seem worlds apart; they were two photographers bonding over having kids and trying to be a good dad. That’s what I love about photography and art in general—it breaks down barriers. It gives us new eyes, not only to see the world with, but to see each other.”

The second art program, Art From The Heart, was made available to UGM women through internationally renowned artist Pamela Masik. The eight-week summer workshop encourages the ladies to reach within and express themselves creatively through healing art. This year at UGM an Art Therapist was hired to facilitate the ladies, while Pamela Masik continued to generously fund the program, offering input amidst her demanding schedule.

“Through this brilliant program that Pamela initiated,” says Skye Walks, UGM Outreach worker, “Eight women have found a safe place where they can explore their story and find peace as they work individually and together.” Each woman will have a piece on display at the Culture Crawl showcasing not only their own work, but also a collaborative piece on a large canvas, themed “Hopes and Dreams.”

What:          Opening night: UGM Culture Crawl Kick-Off  Reception  
Date:           Friday, November 18, 2011
Time:           5:00PM to 5:45 PM
Location:    Maurice McElrea Place, 361 Heatley Avenue, Vancouver

Gallery Hours:
The community is invited to visit the gallery and enjoy art and refreshments, connect with the artists and visit us over the weekend:
•    Friday: 5:00 PM to 10:00 PM (reception and short program 5:00PM – 5:45PM)
•    Saturday: 11:00AM to 6:00PM
•    Sunday: 11:00AM to 6:00PM

Thank yous
Photo 101 and Art From The Heart have been made possible not only by professionals donating their time and resources—Pamela Masik and Kevin Clark—but by businesses who have generously provided supplies:
•    Rocket Repro: donated film processing and scanning for all Photo 101 film
•    Opus Art Supplies: provided art supplies for Art From The Heart
•    Beau Photo: provided the HOLGA cameras used in Photo 101
•    Framehouse Boutique: sponsored part of UGM’s framing costs.

Union Gospel Mission has been feeding hope and changing lives of men, women, youth, and children for nearly 70 years. Through its 9 locations in Metro Vancouver and the city of Mission, UGM provides counseling, education, safe housing, and alcohol and drug recovery to those struggling with poverty, homelessness, and addiction. The heart of the mission is to demonstrate God’s transforming love, ease the burden of the most vulnerable, rebuild the lives of the broken, and offer dignity to those who feel cast aside. To learn more, visit


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