The Innovative Youth Academy Ethọ́s Lab Opens First Physical Location in Mount Pleasant

Ethọ́s Lab held a community event over the holidays in December 2021, prior to moving into the new space in Mount Pleasant.

The innovative youth academy Ethọ́s Lab is moving into their first permanent home at 177 East 3rd Ave. and celebrating with a public block party on Saturday, June 18 from 10am–8pm. The Black-led organization has been offering virtual, STEAM-based education within an antiracist, technology-forward framework throughout the pandemic, and will now be able to add in-person programming.

STEAM is short for: science, technology, engineering, arts, and math. Open to teens between 12–18 years old, the after-school curriculum includes weekly sessions led by industry professionals like engineers and artists, open studios where members can creatively apply the skills they have learned, and safe spaces to socialize.

A documentary crew captures the mural painting at Ethos Lab’s new home, located at 177 East 3rd Ave.

“Ethọ́s Lab was founded to increase access and representation in STEAM,” says Anthonia Ogundele, parent and founder of Ethọ́s Lab. “These past two years have shown us that this goal is more important than ever before. The ‘metaverse’ has become a hot topic since Facebook’s name change to Meta, the rise of NFTs, and the digital pivot the world underwent at the start of the pandemic. Parents are realizing that their kids need equitable access to tools and information that will help them challenge and shape a digital future that is quickly arriving upon us. We need young, diverse voices co-creating innovative solutions and leading change, in order to ensure we aren’t just perpetuating antiquated, unjust systems — whether those hierarchies are found in coding, urban planning, or the art market. We can’t wait to connect with even more young people with our new home in Mount Pleasant.”

The organization is housed inside a new building owned by the City of Vancouver and operated over the next 60 years by non-profit cultural organization 221A in collaboration with the Community Land Trust. In addition to a nearly 1,000-sq.-ft. dedicated space, Ethọ́s Lab has shared access to a 2,700-sq.-ft. production facility. The site is the physical manifestation of the thriving community that Ethọ́s Lab built in their own proprietary metaverse over the pandemic, a virtual hub called Atlanthọ́s that was co-created with youth members and developed by local tech start-up Active Replica. Now, the organization will be a hub for the broader community, a place for members and their families to gather and collaborate.

Comic artist and illustrator Jazz Gordon-Gillquist paints an original mural that was co-created by artist Chase Gray (not pictured).

The space features a mix of organic, sustainable materials and digital elements, and makes use of the site’s natural light. Local firm Tectonic Architecture, which prioritizes community-based work, led design discussions with youth members — also known as Ethósians — to ensure their vision was incorporated into the space. Comic artist and illustrator Jazz Gordon-Gillquist and Chase Gray (who recently designed the Vancouver Canucks’ First Nations Night warmup jersey) created an original mural in collaboration with curator Krystal Paraboo. Microsoft, Sony, and Heritage Office Furnishings equipped and furnished the space.

“Securing innovative, affordable and accessible arts and cultural spaces is a key focus for Culture|Shift, the City’s 10-year culture plan,” says Mayor Kennedy Stewart. “We are excited that Ethọ́s Lab is activating this shared artist production space to help the leaders of tomorrow grow and create. Under the operations of 221A and the Community Land Trust, this unique City-owned facility will provide a safe shared studio space for artistic production and community collaboration, as well as secure affordable housing for artists. I am extremely proud of this entire facility and cannot wait to see the innovation that comes from this production space, including Ethọ́s Lab’s contributions.”

The celebratory block party on June 18 will run from 10am–8pm. The public is welcome to drop in throughout the day to meet staff, Ethósians, and participate in the types of programming that the organization offers members. Activities will include virtual reality tours of Atlanthọ́s, a workshop on urban ecology, an OpenProcessing workshop on how to make art with code, a video game competition, and demonstrations from Microsoft and Active Replica. Barbecue will be available on-site in the afternoon and evening.

The party also marks the end of the organization’s $100,000 in 100 Days fundraising campaign. To date, $75,000 has been raised — Ethọ́s Lab hopes to reach its goal by the end of the block party. Major sponsors currently include Microsoft, Deloitte, Sony, PCI Developments, Black Business Association of BC, and more.

Registration is now open for Ethọ́s Lab’s two in-person summer camps, which are centred on the theme “Solarpunk Summer.” The July 11–15 camp will focus on sustainable fashion, with an emphasis on sneaker design, and the August 8–12 camp will explore urban wildlife and nature. Camps cost $175 for non-members, with members receiving a 50 per cent discount. Additional summer programs include an upcoming pilot project, Ethọ́s Lab Gaming Studio, with support from EA.

To learn more about the block party, register for the Ethos Lab Gaming Studio and upcoming activities, or donate to the $100,000 in 100 Days fundraiser, visit

Ethọ́s Lab is generously funded by the Government of Canada through Supporting Black Canadian Communities Initiative Capital Funding.

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