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Artists in Communities program

Artists in Communities program in Vancouver

The Artists in Communities Program provides artists the opportunity to work with community centres to develop innovative strategies for involving diverse members of the community in creative practices. The program is based on principles of community cultural development and is funded by the Vancouver Park Board and Community Centre Associations.

Through this program, artists/artist teams are assigned to a sponsoring community centre where they establish a creative presence in the community. For example, the artists may set up a project blog site, attend committee meetings, lead workshops, or create some other form of connection with the centre. Artists may also work off-site with a variety of community groups and individuals.

The program is based on a term of approximately 300 hours. At the end of the program, the artists’ projects and activities are expected to have a lasting impact on the community, such as new understandings of creative processes, stronger community bonds, annual festivals, or artwork that remains in the community.

Indigenous Artist in Communities Program, honouring the Year of Reconciliation

Participate in weekly Artists in Communities workshops near you

Portrait of William Wasden Jr
Button blanket by William Wasden, Jr
March 31, 2014 – Artist William Wasden, Jr, has been awarded the Indigenous Artist in Communities Program.

Wasden and the Vancouver Park Board invite you to join in the spirit of reconciliation with weekly workshops that work towards sharing truths about residential school history and First Nations children.

"We all have a story about family, history, and traditional lands. Reconciliation can only begin when we begin to accept and respect each other's stories."

— Chiefs Kamkakawidi and Kwankwanxwalige'dzi

Inclusive, creative workshops that focus on family, arts, culture, and tradition

Everyone is welcome to attend the weekly workshops: all ages, all cultural backgrounds.

Workshops will focus on family and the importance of cultural tradition within families.

  • Learn about the traditional upbringing of children in Kwakwaka'wakw culture through language, song, dance, art, and history.
  • Create personal regalia and dance screens as a way to share your diverse identities, linking your family, history, and heritage.
  • Build an inclusive, creative collaboration shared with the public on National Aboriginal Day on Saturday, June 21, 2014.

The workshops will take place:

  • Mondays, 10:00am – 12:00 noon at Britannia Community Centre, 1661 Napier St
  • Tuesdays, 2:00pm – 4:00pm at Hillcrest Community Centre, 4575 Clancy Loranger Way
  • Wednesdays, 10:00am – 12:00 noon at Hastings Community Centre, 3096 East Hastings St
  • Thursdays, 4:00pm – 6:00pm at UBC Learning Exchange, 612 Main St 

Event and workshop details

Previous programs

Artists selected for the 2012 Artists in Communities programs

In 2012, three artists were selected for the Artists in Communities programs. Read about the selected artists and view their blogs.

Kensington Community Centre: Habitats

Dance artists Julia Carr, Meghan Goodman, and puppeteer Maggie Winston are creating a unique, site-specific performance experience that will animate the Kensington Community Centre in an open house celebration. The Kensington community is invited to participate as performers or audience members to explore and discover what makes a healthy habitat. Together, the artists and community members will represent a healthy habitat from puppetry to contemporary dance. They Habitats artists aim deepen the roots of the community while enhancing the ecology of the community.

Renfrew Park Community Centre: Our Footprint

Whether you are an experienced local artist or just interested in meeting some neighbours and having a lot of fun, Our Footprint will let you discover the Renfrew area in a whole new way. Join the artist team from Something Collective - Laura Barron, Flick Harrison, Juliana Bedoya, Maggie Winston, and Natalie Gan - to explore your neighbourhood through dance, sound, video, green graffiti, puppets, and photography. Friends and neighbours will create an interactive, living picture of Renfrew that aims to put all our favorite spots on the map.

Trout Lake Community Centre: Are there trout in Trout Lake

The Trout Lake community is invited to work intensively with artist Anthony Schrag on-site at the Trout Lake Community Centre. Anthony holds a social intervention arts-making practice that evolves from the community through discussion, play and stories. "I don't make 'art objects' but instead prefer to work with people, using art to encourage conversations and develop events that can continue on in myths and stories, linking the diverse community together in shared memories," says Anthony. Anthony is looking to find new collaborators, arty or not, if you live near or use Trout Lake.

The Artists in Communities program is based on partnerships between Community Centre Associations and the Vancouver Park Board. Each year, several interested community centres are selected to host an Artists in Communities program. The selected community centres then create information packages, called community profiles, that outline the issues and interests of their community, and a call for artist applications is issued.

Note: The Artists in Communities program is not a live-in residency. It is open only to artists who live, work, and have a permanent residence in the Greater Vancouver Regional District, British Columbia, Canada.

The Vancouver Park Board and the sponsoring Community Associations review each application and award the programs to artists. The selected artists/artist teams begin their work at the host community centre. The community centre committee members and staff, as well as other interested groups and individuals, provide support and collaborate with the artists throughout the program.

For more information, contact the Community Arts Programmers.

Each Artists in Communities program is a team effort involving the Vancouver Park Board, Community Centre Associations, and artists. Each member of the team plays an important role in the program.

The Vancouver Park Board:

  • Supports the process at each participating community centre
  • Assists with the initial stages of the community cultural development process and helps create a plan for the program
  • Problem solves and liaises with other Park Board staff and artists when required
  • Provides partial funding for each program

The Community Centre Associations:

  • Provide staff and committee support for the artists
  • Provide space and, wherever feasible, access to other facilities
  • Assist in promoting the program and act as the community liaison
  • Provide partial funding for the program
  • Manage the financial administration of the program

The Artists:

  • Establish a creative presence at the community centre and in the community
  • Interact with all community members and staff
  • Develop a program that can be completed for the agreed upon artist's fee and materials budget
  • Submit regular reports about their activities to the Community Centre staff, Community Association, and Park Board
  • Work with the Park Board staff to plan for any permanent installation of their artwork and provide a maintenance plan for the installation
  • Submit a final report at the end of the program

Selecting artists for the Artist in Communities programs is a challenging process that involves two stages:

  1. Initial review of applications
  2. Applicant interviews and final selection

Initial review of applications

During this stage, juries made up of arts professionals and community centre representatives (with Park Board staff as advisors) review and discuss each application. Each jury creates a short list of artists who meet the criteria for the program and whose proposals directly relate to the issues and interests outlined in the community profiles for the program.

The initial review is based on the following criteria:

  • Artistic merit and experience in relevant disciplines
  • Experience, inventiveness, and attitude about working collaboratively with community members
  • Knowledge and skills required to facilitate, coordinate, and administrate the program
  • Interest in the issues outlined in the community profile

Applicant interviews and final selection

Representatives from the Community Association and community center staff interview each applicant on the short list and award the program to an artist or an artist team.

The final selection is based on the following criteria:

  • The experience, interests and talents of the artist and how they complement the experience and talents of the community centre staff and committed community members involved in the project
  • The demonstration of new and creative ways to approach community engagement as it relates to the community profile

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Danita Noyes,
Community Arts Programmer

Cyndy Chwelos,
Community Arts Programmer

Last modified: Mon, 06 Aug 2012 13:55:17