Celebrating Earth Day in Canada's poorest neighbourhood
Published Thursday, April 22, 2010 7:20PM PDT
A group of Vancouverites gathered in Downtown Eastside's Crab Park on Earth Day to create a small ecosystem for some birds in the area.
Local artist Sharon Kallis headed a group of about 20 people in creating woven globe sculptures, using cut tree branches, to be placed in the parks marsh.
"The sculptures will give birds an area to use as perches or a nesting area to get away from the dogs or other animals," Kallis said.
Kallis approached the Vancouver Parks Board about using the cut branches to create park structures instead of having them sent to composting.
"I think it's great, we're all about green," VPB supervisor of downtown parks and beaches Robert Leupen said. "We always try to support artists and especially green art."
Kallis was approached by Village Vancouver Transition Initiative, a non-profit community bonding group in connection to the Community Arts Council of Vancouver, about carrying out this Earth Day project.
"This project isn't only providing a safe habitat for birds but it's bringing the community together," CACV workshop leader and village Vancouver facilitator Mary Bennett said.
CACV was granted $300 from the Assembly of B.C. Arts Council to put into a project during arts and culture week.
"We're always concerned about funding with all our projects but I think we're moving forward with this one," Bennett said. "We're hoping to work on the project all summer."
The woven globe structure project is a part of a larger initiative which aims to bring communities together through art projects that build community ecosystems.
"There's always something going on here," DTES resident Julianne Cunningham said about park activity. "The [DTES] isn't all bad, it's good to see people coming together like this because I think there's a common misconception about our community."
Kallis previously headed another community project with the Project Arts in Residence program in Coal Harbour in 2008, where they created a woven canoe sculpture made out of eradicated ivy from the park.
"When we did that, that's when we realized there was actually a need for other structures for bird habitat protection," Kallis said.
The group plans on continuing their Earth Day project until they complete three large woven globe sculptures that will be placed in the park's marsh.
"I've seen the canoe they've put in the marsh," another DTES resident, David Hunter said. "This place could always use more art."
Kallis and Bennett encourage anyone interested in taking part of future projects to visit villagevancouver.ning.com.