LAWRENCE AU: RECREATING A GENUINE EXPERIENCE...

  By Liam McLean Photo Courtesy of Lawrence Au *Permission to reprint granted by the Vancouver Arts Colloquium Society Four and a half years ago, Lawrence Au returned home from a trip to Japan with a new vision. While visiting a mall attached to the Tokyo Skytree, he came across a floor devoted entirely to restaurants. An advertisement for a green tea café featuring a brilliant image of a bright green Matcha drink caught his eye. The advertisement stunned Lawrence and made him curious. As far as he knew from his experience living in Vancouver, Matcha was sort of a yellowish green or brown colour, not the vivid green he saw in the mall. He decided to go to the café and find out for himself. “I ordered an iced Matcha tea and sure enough it was that colour. And when I tasted it, it was very refreshing, very rich, completely unlike anything I’ve had in Vancouver before,” said Lawrence. “And that’s when I realized what true Japanese Matcha really is and I almost instantly fell in love with it.” The branding and tea culture also left an impression on Lawrence, and he visited Kyoto later on his trip where he was further exposed to the beauty and depths of Japanese green tea history. Returning home from Japan, Lawrence searched everywhere for a similar Matcha experience but was unsuccessful. He realized that the Matcha served here was actually green tea powder and had nothing in common with the authentic drinks he had in Japan. “And so, at that point, I decided to start my own business by recreating the experience that I first had in Japan,” said Lawrence. “That was basically my guiding light: what should I do in creating a brand that would...

AN INDIGENOUS PERSPECTIVE OF RECONCILIATION AND ART...

By Tatiana Zamorano-Henriquez Photo Courtesy of Dr. Mique’l Dangeli *Permission to reprint granted by the Vancouver Arts Colloquium Society Art plays an integral role in the process of reconciliation as it is a way in which people, nations, and cultures can “say what goes unsaid” (Dr. Dangeli). For this reason, art “has a really important place within the reconciliation dialogue and… more funding should go to supporting Indigenous people creating their art (culture and way of being) with and for their people rather than reconciliation being focused on Indigenous and non-Indigenous collaborations because we have so much to reconcile within our own communities” (Dr. Dangeli) first and foremost. The process of reconciliation itself is a challenging one, and the difficulty of this process comes in understanding what reconciliation truly embodies. I had the privilege to sit down with Dr. Mique’l Dangeli, an Indigenous visual and performing artist who holds a PhD in Northwest Coast First Nations art history , while also working as a curator and a professor. As I sat in her and her husband’s art studio, I was so encompassed by culture, histories, and knowledge that it was as if the entire room was alive. It was breathtaking and moving all at the same time. It was here, as she painted one of her collaboration pieces that she had done with her husband, Mike Dangeli, that she relayed to me her powerful words and guidance for a legitimate form of reconciliation and the role of art in this process. Through her words, what profoundly resonated with me was the following statement: “Education is important, but if the focus is always outwards and not inwards, then we are not strengthening our practices we are just practicing for others” (Dr. Dangeli). These words were striking,...

Passion and Positive Effect: The Arts Working in the Community...

By Jamie Zabel Photo Courtesy of Rebecca Salters Engagement with the arts and arts-based programs is a new primary focus of the Kerrisdale Community Centre in the coming year. As such, the Playbook is highlighting a few instructors already running arts-based programs to showcase their efforts and emphasize the wonderful effects of their programs. I had the honour of talking to one of these instructors, Rebecca Salters. Who is Rebecca Salters? Currently, Rebecca runs a program called Drama Bugs at the Kerrisdale Community Centre for children ages 1-15. I sat down with Rebecca to talk about how her early, persistent passion for drama and her belief in the power of the arts manifested itself into her children’s program. Rebecca grew up in Liverpool, England. What better place than the home of the Beatles to become passionate about the arts? She began going to drama schools at the age of three, and as she grew older, she became involved in more proper performances as well. One of her favourite experiences from this time was participating in pantomimes — i.e., theatre performances in the UK generally around large holidays like Halloween or Christmas — that would be on different themes like Cinderella or Peter Pan. The performance she loved the most was performing in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat. Following university, she went on cruise ships for five years, working as part of the entertainment team for Royal Caribbean. All of these different experiences solidified Rebecca’s love for drama and the arts more broadly. Her university experience added another dimension to this. Her degree from Manchester Metropolitan University was a double major in Drama and Community Arts. She explained that the Community Arts side entailed using different art forms and putting them...

New Collaborative Garden in the heart of Kerrisdale...

Since the beginning of this year, a new community urban agriculture project, Come To My Yard (CTMY) led by Vancouver Arts Colloquium Society supported by the City of Vancouver, has been well underway.   As Vancouver becomes more urbanized, and gardening space is harder to come by, CTMY aims to fill the gap by teaming up with homeowners who have space for a garden and can share some of that space with other community members wanting to grow food, learn more about permaculture, and connect people.  CTMY is way to form stronger, healthier communities. If you are looking to connect with nature and like-minded people, there is one CTMY garden in the heart of Kerrisdale. There are 2 accessible raised beds (wood donated by Kerrisdale Lumber) that are allocated to any community members who would like to garden. Please go check it out and sign up. It’s FREE and OPEN to all abilities. For more information, check out their FB page or email to contact@myvacs.org  ...

KCC’s Youth Leadership Program Sep10

KCC’s Youth Leadership Program...

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A GLIMPSE OF THE FUTURE: REFLECTIONS ON THE 2017 VANCOUVER REGIONAL HERITAGE FAIR Jul14

A GLIMPSE OF THE FUTURE: REFLECTIONS ON THE 2017 VANCOUVER REGIONAL HERITAGE FAIR...

BY JAMIE ZABEL PHOTOS BY SYED MUSTAFA *Permission to reprint granted by the Vancouver Arts Colloquium Society Most of us feel like we have a certain amount of stake in the future of the coming generations. We want to leave our world, the future world of our children, in good enough shape to allow them to live well and in comfort. This depends so much on the children that are right now entering elementary and middle school, the future world changers and earth shakers. This being so, we pay a great deal of attention to what the generations behind us are doing and how they are acting. Undoubtedly, it was like that for the generations that came before us as much as it is for us now. So, who are these children that are entering the school system, the ones that will one day become our doctors, lawyers, and Prime Ministers? I’ll confess, after my brother left middle school a few years ago, I’ve been quite disconnected from that age group since most of my cousins are already grown. This is where the Vancouver Regional Heritage Fair was so enlightening and, I may say, uplifting. Before I continue with this thought, however, I feel it might be useful to give a bit of context to the event in which I and the students participated. The Vancouver Regional Heritage Fair is part of an initiative run by the BC Heritage Fairs Society affiliated with Canada’s National History Society, Heritage BC, and under the patronage of the Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia. Their main goal is to create an environment in which students have the opportunity to learn and get excited about Canada’s history and the Canadians that made our country what it is today. The...

KATHY SAYERS: CREATING AN INTERCONNECTED COHOUSING COMMUNITY...

BY LIAM MCLEAN PICTURES BY SYED MUSTAFA *Permission to reprint granted by the Vancouver Arts Colloquium Society This past month, I had the opportunity to have a conversation with Kathy Sayers in her bright and comfortable condo to talk about her experiences with cohousing in Vancouver. In the past few years, Kathy has been working alongside her community at Our Urban Village to integrate a successful cohousing community into the urban space of Vancouver. Along her path to forming a cohousing community in Vancouver, she and her team would face many unique challenges. “Because Vancouver is so pricey, we decided to look at cohousing from a different angle, and that is to try to find an innovative developer that would work with us,” said Kathy. “[The developer] would own the land and we would have less say about what the building would look like. And most cohousing, they [the community] make every choice. They hire the architect and they buy the land. [But] it’s at least 6-8 million dollars in Vancouver.” Over the course of our conversation, Kathy explained to me how her group adapted the cohousing model to make it work within the limitations of an expensive city with its many high-rise buildings. We also talked at length about the values important to building and maintaining a healthy cohousing community, and how these communities thrive on a sense of interconnectedness. By sharing with me her experiences, Kathy taught me about the growing popularity of cohousing in Vancouver and its role in promoting social connections that may potentially solve feelings of isolation in the city. To bring cohousing to Vancouver, Kathy and her group at Our Urban Village had to discover a way to adapt the cohousing community model to the urban city and...

ACTIVATING NEW SPACES: THE ARBUTUS GREENWAY AND THE VALUE OF PUBLIC ART...

By Haroun Khalid  *Permission to reprint granted by the Vancouver Arts Colloquium Society In March 2016, more than 20 years city planning and policy efforts came together when the City of Vancouver officially purchased 42 acres of land passing through neighborhoods from False Creek to the Fraser River. The new Arbutus Greenway project, already accessible to cyclists and pedestrians, aims to offer a shared passageway connecting Vancouver’s residential and public spaces. What’s particularly interesting about this endeavor is that the Greenway offers an exciting chance to see how public art ventures intersect with the process of urban development. To learn more, I sat down with Maggie Buttle, the Senior Project Manager of the Arbutus Greenway Project, and Eric Fredericksen, the city’s Public Art Programs Manager From an artistic perspective, the realization of the Arbutus Greenway represents a chance to open up new spaces in the city for creative expression. So as to integrate art completely with the design process, Mr. Fredericksen explained that: “We now have an art consultant form a core part of the development team.” On this subject, Ms. Buttle added “this inclusion of artists in the procedure is meant to bring new perspectives and a different focus” to the city planning approach to prevent shutting down valuable opportunities to foster a creative and inspiring city. The development of this “art intelligence,” as Eric called it, enables the planning process to more holistically reflect the cultural environment of the community. The implementation of an urban development plan on the scale of the Arbutus Greenway is a lengthy affair, and is at the moment still in the early days. However, the prospect of bringing about the Greenway has been on the City’s horizon since the Arbutus Corridor was first highlighted as a potential site...

Vancouver Regional Heritage Fair 2017 Jul14

Vancouver Regional Heritage Fair 2017...

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LIGHTING THE WAY: DR. TOM HUNTER...

BY TATIANA ZAMORANO-HENRIQUEZ *Permission to reprint granted by the Vancouver Arts Colloquium Society Over the years the integral humanizing qualities of humanity have become almost non-existent, as our economic model is responsible for prioritizing monetary endeavours rather than the arts. Theses values have fragmented our way of being and devalued the arts as art has now become commercialized for profit and disconnected from our culture.  This almost irreversible divide has hindered our relationships with others and ourselves as it has detached us from our histories, cultures and knowledge.  The formation of this divide has left us stranded and we have become like a wave of sailors trying to navigate the seas without a compass where we have not only lost our sense of direction but also our purpose. However, art has the power to steer us back in the right direction as it illuminates our path by reconnecting us with our origins, which allows us to embrace diversity, and knowledge that then has the potential to lead to community. The world carries with it a kaleidoscope of art forms and rooted within them are diverse cultures that are entrenched with an array of histories and knowledge that shape our values. This is paramount as it is our values that construct the stories that we relay to others and ourselves about what is important. Therefore, it is these values that shape not only who we are as human beings but who we will become and the responsibility we hold to the future generations. Values create empathy and it is this compassion that allows individuals to embrace new cultures and form profound and intricate relationships that have the power to produce viable communities where culture becomes a way of life.  This is why art is integral...

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...

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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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...