Dear Readers

Dear Readers, The Kerrisdale Sakura Festival 2017 was a huge success with the sunny weather and the great turn-out. More importantly, we were so blessed to have such a wonderful community of volunteers that made this year’s Sakura event all possible, we can’t thank you enough!  This includes all of YOU, the enthusiastic participants, supporters, and collaborators who made the event so engaging and inclusive. We certainly made new community connections through sharing the moment.   Speaking of aha moment, we all learned during the Sakura Walking Tour with Robin Clark, that cherry trees release oxygen through stem pores called lenticels, whose function is equivalent to that of stomata, or breathing cells, found on leaves. Who knew! The DOUBLE thank-you to cherry trees for what they do! Next time when you go near cherry trees, look carefully for lenticels which can be easily seen on the trunks, and then BREATHE!  The community engagement committee is gearing up for the next big event, Vancouver Regional Heritage Fair, scheduled on Saturday, May 20th. Please stay tuned! Happy Spring! Keiko Honda, Editor-in-Chief, Chair of Community Engagement...

The Art of Being Bold...

 By Jamie Zabel Photo courtesy of Jennifer Taylor Permission to reprint granted by the Vancouver Arts Colloquium Society Cultural vibrancy. This is a term that we often hear associated with countries in Europe or South America, a term used to describe societies that are very much in touch with their traditions and where they come from. This term has become especially important since 2004, when the UN ratified an agreement making culture the fourth pillar of sustainable development, meaning that the vibrancy of culture is essential to creating sustainable communities. Vancouver just signed on to this agreement last year. While Canada is not as well known for this worldwide, there are quite a few things we can do to increase the importance and vitality of culture in even our local communities. When I met with Jennifer Taylor, the Community Engagement Coordinator at the Kitsilano Community Center, we discussed the role that culture could play in Kitsilano. Excellent arts programming is one essential part of how community centers uphold the place of culture. For Jennifer, an important way to keep these programs dynamic and relevant is to ensure that the programs at the Kitsilano Community Center reflect Kitsilano itself. Part of her job is to ensure that the center continues to represent the community by keeping the board accountable as well as encouraging community members to speak up for what they want or need.  She believes that “there isn’t a lack of willingness to change, there’s a lack of willingness to challenge those who could effect change.” It is heartbreaking for her to know that the people who don’t feel heard or accepted in their community are the least likely to speak out, leading to them giving up and moving rather than bringing their concerns...

A Fundamental Stepping Stone in fostering Community Change Apr17

A Fundamental Stepping Stone in fostering Community Change...

By Tatiana Zamorano Photos by Syed Mustafa Permission to reprint granted by the Vancouver Arts Colloquium Society Community is necessary and a crucial element that society requires in order to thrive as community has the power to create culture and sense of belonging, which produces unity amongst individuals and fosters compassion for one another, that then contributes to the wellbeing of individuals and the regeneration of sustainable communities. However, over the years the values and dynamics of communities have changed due to the framework that encompasses us, which has worked to generate a society founded on profit and individualism. This urbanized society has increased the levels of social isolation and self-interest within our societies, which has broken the necessary bonds needed to keep community and culture alive and thriving. So the question that remains is how can we combat social isolation and reignite sustainable communities? Well the Vancouver Arts Colloquium Society (VACS) believes that art is a central tool in creating this vision of sustainable community as, art is rooted in culture which has the capacity to bind people together through profound relationships, that produce bounded solidarity amongst community members that then incites change and builds strongly connected communities.  Therefore, through VACS’s mission art has played a pivotal role in building community and in nurturing and cultivating culture, which VACS wanted to share with the public but not solely through their initiatives. Instead VACS wanted to take their idea centered on the vitality of art even further and focused on how they could relay this revelation of art to others in order to make others comprehend their vision in which art is an essential component in generating sustainable communities and culture. However, the hurdle that stood in their path was formulating a method that...

Drumming Away at Kerrisdale Sakura Festival Apr17

Drumming Away at Kerrisdale Sakura Festival...

With the skillful and passionate teaching of Doug Masuhara, the Tetsu Taiko sensei (master), twenty-plus participants, an absolute beginner’s group, learned the drumming basics. They had become ONE after drumming away on garbage can drums for about one hour! It was so touching to watch and listen the transformation.   Here are what participants said about the workshop: He first showed how to play the drums and then he had ALL of us play it; An amazing workshop! We learned the Japanese polite way We learned the world and words of the Taiko Drumming together was really fun The introduction, explanation, and practice; Very well done! It was excellent; I want my son to learn more! The Kerrisdale Sakura Festival was planned and organized by the Community Engagement Committee of the Kerrisdale Community Centre Society. The Japanese drumming workshop was our first attempt to enthral you through the powerful sound of the Taiko (Japanese drums).  It seems that the participants were left with an unforgettable, artistic and cultural experience. Photo credit: Syed Mustafa  ...

There Has To Be a Better Way!...

By Lara-Sophie Boleslawsky Photo courtesy of Brian Feldbloom Permission to reprint granted by the Vancouver Arts Colloquium Society If you’re an animal-lover, this one’s for you. Sitting down and talking to Brian about his recent venture into the pet food industry, I didn’t really know what to expect. Of course our conversation invariably strayed to our pets, nonetheless the real story lies in-between these small pockets of pet-talk. ‘Naturally Urban Pet Food Delivery’ provides free delivery of pet food all throughout Vancouver, the Lower Mainland and Burnaby. It’s simple: pet-owners order their food on the Naturally Urban website and its delivered right to your door. Did I mention it’s free? I was fascinated to know what prompted Brian to start this business: “The reason I started was, I had my doggy, and we switched her over to raw food. I was a flight executive at Flight Centre and I used to have to work late and then I would have to run home, get my car, and drive out to the pet store before it closed,” Brian told me, “And I thought, this is so annoying, its such a stress and I thought: ‘There has to be a better way!’” And so, Naturally Urban was born, with Brian looking to service a need, one undoubtedly shared by many pet owners throughout Metro Vancouver and beyond. “The two markets right now that we are doing well with are seniors and people with disabilities and physical challenges. We love helping them,” Brian shares with me, but emphasizes that the service is available for anybody to use. Convenience is one Naturally Urban’s main functions. Brian cites his colleague Kris McRonney as an “integral” part of his business. “I mean, my business associate Kris has been with me from...

Kerrisdale Sakura Tree Walking Tour with Robin Clark Apr17

Kerrisdale Sakura Tree Walking Tour with Robin Clark...

Commencing on the sunny day (April 15th 2017), Kerrisdale Sakura Tree Walking Tour with Robin Clark, organized by the Community engagement Committee of the Kerrisdale Community Centre Society, was a big success with enthusiastic 23 local participants.  We were very honoured by the presence of the Vancouver Cherry Scout, Ms. Anne Mah, who turned the walk tour into a combination of interactive brain-engaging quizzes and animated story-telling.  We were able to learn and enjoy the last of Jugatsu, the peak of Tai-haku, the fullness of Akebono, the decline of Takasago and the coming of Kanzan, along with the contrast of cherry and plum in the Kerrisdale neighbourhood. For those who missed this incredibly interactive and fun tour, Ms. Mah provided the following information: The link for the VCBF’s cherry trees map http://www.vcbf.ca/neighbourhood-maps For a complete Kerrisdale listing, you need to go in and search for 1.  Kerrisdale and 2. all cultivars. This information is based on the footwork of the VCBF scouts and is thus more reliable than the City of Vancouver tree listings. If you get a chance to drop by the VanDusen Garden shop, they carry Ornamental Cherries in Vancouver by Douglas Justice; Kerrisdale’s Washi-no-o tree is pictured and described. Here is the scouting link for the Shogetsu and Shirofugen trees, where and what they look like. http://forums.botanicalgarden.ubc.ca/threads/kerrisdale.36008/page-3#post-197346   Enjoy some photos from the tour. Photo Credit: Syes Mustafa...

RUDIGER KRAUSE: “RELATIONSHIP IS OF THE ESSENCE”...

By Liam McLean Photo Courtesy of Rudiger Krause Permission to reprint granted by the Vancouver Arts Colloquium Society Earlier this month, I had the great opportunity to sit down and talk to Rudiger Krause, a man greatly interested and invested in the community, art, and human connections. Rudiger, or Rudi as his friends call him, was born in Germany and moved to Vancouver when he was a little boy, where he lived most of his life. As we sat down to talk one early March afternoon at the Vancouver Arts Colloquium Society (VACS) headquarters, our conversation began with the topic of Rudi’s gardening initiatives before shifting into a deeper introspective about human relationships and connections. The importance of relationships to other people, nature, and art surfaced as the overarching theme of our conversation, emphasizing relationship’s important role in the human experience. As our conversation continued, it became increasingly clear that relationships and the connections they foster are an essential element in Rudi’s and all our lives. If we can recognize and overcome the barriers we face when making genuine connections, then we can live satisfying and rewarding lives in relationship and harmony with each other.         Our conversation started with Rudi’s lifelong passion for gardening. Rudi’s interest in gardening and the communal relationships it encouraged started at a young age and has been a constant passion in his life. “I grew up with parents, especially my father, who loved gardening. When I got married in 1970, my wife and I, wherever we lived, we had at least a small garden,” said Rudi about his early gardening, “When we moved to the Okanagan, we bought an orchard and developed a very large commercial garden. We grew garlic, berries, besides the fruit, and...

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Dear Readers

Dear Readers, As our Kerrisdale Community Centre Society’s AGM is fast approaching (Wednesday February 15th, 7:30pm), I reflect on the vales of community. What is community? –  That is a complex question.  What motivates us to seek ‘community’ as a means of achieving what we want for ourselves and our family? And what shapes our choices about which communities we belong to? Locality? Familiarity? Convenience? Ancestry? or anything else? — What makes a life ‘liveable’? As part of my non-profit work at Vancouver Arts Colloquium Society, I’ve been involved working with various “communities” to organize numerous community gatherings and create processes that are engaging, inspiring and inclusive. More and more, however, the creation of “community” has become an end in itself, as we come to learn from our experiences that the community is a vital aspect of a person’s ever-evolving sense of self and a source of creativity.  We continue to engage in community-participately practices and public discussions of how our identity is formed and its relation to perceived community on a deep level.  There are a few noteworthy new initiatives in Kerrisdale that create the conditions for effective community development by helping the smaller groups to form and to connect their goals with the broader, overarching alliance. One is KCCS’s Community Engagement new initiative, English-Mandarian Language Exchange Meetup. The other is Vancouver Arts Colloquium Society’s Come To My Yard, a permaculture garden project in the heart of Kerrisdale funded by the City of Vancouver. Be curious, come together, help others, and be a part of a strong community!  Keiko Honda Editor-in-Chief Chair, Community Engagement...

The True Pursuit of Happiness lies in rebuilding our Community and Social Interactions...

By Tatiana Zamorano-Henriquez* Photos by Syed Mustafa* My background is Chilean-Canadian and having a Chilean family the values and morals that many Chileans have are profoundly rooted in family, social interactions and relationships. In the older generations of Chilean culture the collective and community was what bonded people together and was always cherished over individualist aspects of life and over the work life. An example of this in Chile that still occurs is the entire city shuts down for dinnertime. The workplaces close and people are given an hour to two hours to go home and sit down with family friends and coworkers and are encouraged to socialize over a meal. This system in Chile is a structure that promotes and inspires social interactions and forging social ties to fortify the sense of community, and although Chile’s structure has evolved and has been influenced by consumerist and individualist ideals from North America it still holds true to this system where social interactions and community is of central importance and as a result, sense of belonging and community has not dissipated in Chile and these principles can be found across the country. Thus, these ideals that made these interactions and community priority were always a part of my life. When I was young my days were filled with love, laughter, stories and endless conversations, these days were the happiest days of my life. Growing up I was encompassed by my family, we lived in East Vancouver on Venables Street in a vintage white house bordered with a light blue trim. I remember it as if it was only yesterday, walking up the blue steps of the house I opened the giant wooden door to my grandparents house, I remember my heart was always filled with happiness...

Kevin Wong: Forming a Community through Language Exchange...

By Liam McLean* Photos by Syed Mustafa* Arriving in Vancouver from Hong Kong in 1980, Kevin Wong understands the difficulty of learning a new language in a foreign place. As we sit in the Kerrisdale Community Centre, his hand holding a book that will foreshadow the content of our conversation, he tells me about his first encounters with the English language in Hong Kong and in Vancouver. “When we were in Hong Kong we had English classes, but they are just basically grammar,” said Kevin, “Because every day we just spoke the Chinese [Cantonese]. We seldom used English in writing, speaking. So, basically when we came over here […] it was quite difficult to communicate.” After arriving in Canada, Kevin first attended Langara where his struggles with English continued, failing his first two attempts at a required first-year English course offered by the English as a Second Language (E.S.L) program. For Kevin, those early days of learning a new language were made more difficult since “everyday you have to encounter people [who speak English] and some people they talk really fast and don’t have the patience to say it again. Then you just have to guess what they’re talking about and half of the time you guess wrong.” With his sights set on attending Simon Fraser University, it was vital for him to understand English well enough to acquire the necessary transfer credits from Langara and to communicate in daily Vancouver life.          Kevin’s struggles diminished during his third attempt at the English program when he received the proper aid to accommodate his learning style. “The turning point was the teacher,” Kevin said, looking back at that third class, “She actually taught me the basics of grammar and she had the...

Making Genuine Connections Through Music...

By Jamie Zabel* Walking into the Musical Voice Lab for the first time is an intimidating experience. As a newcomer to the program, this is certainly what I felt at first. However, the actual experience, while it may press your boundaries, is nothing but uplifting. Sitting around the circle of participants and hearing the chatter of people around you, you can tell that friends have been made and that trust has been built. This is inevitably the result of the Musical Voice Lab’s fantastically warm and bubbly facilitator, Jane Perrett. Her open and inviting presence, as well as her willingness to help with even the simplest questions about voice, breaks down any walls that people might have coming into the program.  The Musical Voice Lab is a Skill Share project run by the Vancouver Arts Colloquium Society (VACS) that aims to help people discover and develop their voices. As of now, participants meet once a month to learn songs from a variety of genres as well as vocal techniques. Jane is a Dramatic Coloratura Soprano, meaning that she can hit the high notes with ease while also having a rich darkness to her tone. Performing has been a passion of Jane’s for most of her life, starting as early as high school where she would treat her classmates to performances of ABBA’s “I Dreamed a Dream,” and other popular songs. She would always be the first to volunteer whenever there was an opportunity to sing. While her first love is singing for people, Jane “always knew in the back of [her] mind that [she] wanted to teach.” When Keiko Honda, the president of VACS, approached her about running the Musical Voice Lab, she was hesitant but allowed the courage gained from her passion for...

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Dear Readers

Dear Readers, Thanksgiving is upon the U.S.  As being an American living abroad for a while now, I still consider this day as my most favourite holiday. I fondly remember how we all suddenly tuned out from our crazy busy hustle-bustle for a moment and came together to listen and reflect what we were truly thankful for. In this last issue of 2016, I am reminded of how we all came from somewhere else, some earlier and some later, and strive to live in a world that shares our values – that’s Art, I think. In this issue, you will learn the best of the human spirits and practices of all different cultures including German, Japanese, Chinese, Canadian, and Kadazandusun, an ethnic group indigenous to Kota Kinabalu in the Malaysian state of Sabah! The power of art is that it asks us to reflect on other people’s creative choices. So, enjoy reading. Lastly, I am delighted to share some wonderful new collaborative spirit for Musqueam youth – Beyond Music Initiative, as some of you may know. On behalf of the entire team, I thank you for being a part of our journey and welcome everyone to join. For those who missed the Opening Ceremony at Musqueam Cultural Centre by any chance, here is the complete recap.  Enjoy!  Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Holidays! Cheers, Keiko Honda Editor-in-Chief Community Engagement...