Over the past 4 months, I've had the pleasure of getting to know the Community around Thunderbird in East Vancouver and lucky for me theres usually food, art or conversation involved :)
In November I stopped by Skeena Social Housing to join them for a weekly dinner. While they played dominos we talked about what made Thunderbird unique. It seemed to me that they were grateful to be part of such an inclusive and friendly community. They would like to see more activities that weren't just colouring books, as one lady remarked "we aren't school children", I tried to explain the colouring book trend. It also seemed that some were more difficult to motivate then others. There lays a challenge to find a way to engage this part of the community, beyond colouring books and dominos.
Later that month I went to Bulla Seniors Home. During afternoon tea I had many lovely and interesting conversations about the history of the neighbourhood. Apparently there had been a lot of orchards in this part of East Vancouver and some shared stories of when they were kids. Many other residence had not grown up here but also shared their different backgrounds and why they enjoyed being at Bulla. They really enjoyed the group outings and getting together for tea and meals. One sweet woman gave me a "care share prayer bear", one of the 5,000 she had knitted! She informed me that my name would be added to the list of people who would be prayed for. I felt very blessed to have been able to connect with these individuals who I might not have otherwise had the opportunity to meet.
Next I met with the Youth Council to do an envisioning workshop. As with the other community conversations, I explain that I am doing a art project through Artists in Communities. The theme of our project is to create a mural and distinguish Thunderbird Community Centre. So I got them to tell me about what its like in their community. We brainstormed on that topic for awhile before I shifted the focus towards the mythology of Thunderbird. Many had heard the name but not the variety of stories surrounding the mythological creature. I had explaining what I learned from researching Thunderbirds, and then asked the youth to draw their own version of a Thunderbird. Such a variety of beautiful and unique drawings that will be posted soon!
At the beginning of February I spent two days presenting at Thunderbird Elementary School. I went to all the classes to talk about being an artist and explain our community art project. Honestly I was a little nervous but I soon realized that they were the best audience. They were very excited to see my art work and to learn about the mythology of Thunderbirds. We had a lot of fun drawing our own Thunderbirds. I was honoured to be there getting creative with so many brilliant and diverse children. From this experience I have a collection of beautiful art that will be displayed in part on this blog and at the Thunderbird Community Centre.
The next step is for me to synthesis this information and formulate a couple mural designs that will be put to a vote in the community. Please stay tuned for this story's inciting incident is just around the corner!