Did you know that you can learn about the basics of comics drawing or traditional Aboriginal weaving after, say, a game of Frisbee or a picnic with friends in a Vancouver city park?
For the last two years, Vancouver artists and art collectives have moved into local field houses and park buildings in a city initiative that provides free studio space to Vancouver arts groups in exchange for community-based art outreach and programs to the public.
In 2011, two field houses were granted to two artists groups, in 2012 seven more parks-based spaces were opened up to artists, and most recently four other artist residencies started their community-focused programs in city parks.
Over 50 artists (solo or collective) work out of Vancouver field houses (former resident care-taker accommodations), park facilities, marinas and community centres from Slocan Park to West Point Grey Community Centre. The program accepts new artists each year by putting out a call for proposals to Vancouver’s vibrant arts organisations.
Some of the field house arts projects include work by: weavers, theatrical troupes, bird-loving designers and comic artists. Here’s a quick glance at some of Vancouver’s 13 field house artist residencies.
Sassafras Project/Aberthau Mansion at West Point Grey Community Centre – An interdisciplinary collective of working artist-teachers, the Sassafras Collective is focused on performance, body work and media. The group hosts regular demos, dinners and discussions about engaged arts practice.
The Bird Project/Queen Elizabeth Park – Artist/designers Geneviève Raiche-Savoie and Jesse Garbe produce art that raises awareness about issues facing local and migratory birds. Part of the City of Vancouver’s Bird Friendly Strategy, Raiche-Savoie and Garbe’s art will pop-up throughout Queen Elizabeth Park but will be based in a workshop space near the entrance to pitch and putt.
Urban Weavers/MacLean Park Field House – Located in the heart of East Van’s Strathcona neighborhood, the MacLean Park Field House is a place where the environment meets the arts. Todd DeVries, a Haida cedar weaver, and Sharon Kallis, an ecosystems-focused artist, head up the Urban Weavers. The group uses invasive plant species as their principal weaving materials. Re-purposing English ivy, Himalayan blackberry, and yellow flag iris into weaving materials, the Urban Weavers are able to substitute traditional materials such as cedar bark and cattails that cannot be sustainably harvested in the city.
Cloudscape Comics Collective/Memorial South Park Field House – Focused on cross-cultural communication, the Cloudscape Comics Collective holds weekly meetings, is developing a community comic library and publishes yearly comics anthology based on the work of Lower Mainland Comic artists. In fact, on August 24 and 25 Cloudscape Comics Collective will leave their normal Memorial abode to host a comics jam at the Stanley Park 125th birthday celebrations.
To learn more about Field House Residency Program visit here.
Have you visited one of the field house residences? Share your community arts in Vancouver city parks experience in the comments section below.