Union Gospel Mission opens Eastside Culture Crawl gallery to feature art created by DTES residents; partners with Pivot and PHS
Vancouver, BC—From November 15 to 17, the amenities room of Union Gospel Mission’s Downtown Eastside (DTES) housing complex will be transformed into an art gallery. Participating as part of Vancouver’s Eastside Culture Crawl, the gallery will feature works from UGM’s two flagship art programs, which are taught by prominent local artists, as well as works from PHS’s The Window Community Art Shop, and Pivot Legal Society’s Hope in Shadows calendar project, a new participant this year. The exhibition is entitled, “Uncovering Vision.”
For many of UGM’s program participants, active involvement in photography and painting have been conduits for both healing and healthy new ways to experience life.
“I’ve always been interested in photography and I wanted to learn how to channel that into an actual piece of art,” says Mark Graham, a participant in UGM’s Photo 101, a program taught by esteemed photographers Kevin Clark and Leah Gregg. Available to UGM program participants, the course teaches photo composition and artistic vision, as well as historic themes in photography, as students explore their neighbourhood through the lens of a Holga camera.
“Taking Photo 101 has given me a different thing to do other than some of what I’ve done in the past,” Graham explains. After struggling with addiction to crack cocaine before coming to UGM’s Alcohol and Drug Recovery program, Graham knows what it’s like to have a shrouded view of the world. “When I was using, my eyes were on the sidewalk,” he says, “And now that I’m making art, they’re not on the sidewalk anymore. I finally get to see and show how beautiful this neighbourhood and this world are.”
Not only is the act of art creation a conduit for healing, but the opportunity to exhibit is both dignifying and practically helpful—especially when exhibition venues are few. Carolyn Wong, Pivot’s Hope in Shadows Project Coordinator, explains:
“Without events like Uncovering Vision these artists wouldn’t have that opportunity to have a legitimate showing because there wouldn’t be a space where they can exhibit their art,” she says. “They have nowhere to invite people, and their art isn’t seen.”
Hope in Shadows is a photography contest for low-income residents where disposable cameras are handed out to the community. Selected photos are printed in a book and calendar, showing the beauty in the neighborhood, and calendars are sold on the street by vendors, providing dignified income. This is the first year that Hope in Shadows is exhibiting in UGM’s gallery space.
“I am super excited about this,” says Wong. “It is really great that the artists who participated are able to take part in such a widely recognized cultural event in the City of Vancouver.”
Also exhibited will be works from UGM’s Women’s Centre program, Art from the Heart, and The Window Community Art Shop. Art from the Heart is a program initiated and supported by international artist Pamela Masik, where art therapists help women voice their feelings through art and work through them in a constructive way. The Window is a non-profit social enterprise showcasing art created and sold on the DTES. The Window sells thousands of hand-crafted items and involves more than 150 local artists.
What: Opening Event: UGM Eastside Culture Crawl Kick-Off
Date: Friday, November 15, 2013
Location: Maurice McElrea Place, 361 Heatley Avenue, Vancouver
Details: Short speeches; refreshments served thanks to H.A.V.E. Café catering and Ethical Bean Coffee
Gallery Hours: View gallery and connect with the artists
- Friday, Nov. 15 - 5:00 PM to 10:00 PM
- Saturday, Nov. 16 - 11:00AM to 6:00PM
- Sunday, Nov. 17 - 11:00AM to 6:00PM
Union Gospel Mission has been feeding hope and changing lives of men, women, youth, and children for over 70 years. Through its 7 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 www.ugm.ca.
13/11/13Back to Media Centre