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November 04, 2015

Celebrating Our Common Ground

ArtStarts Gallery Common Ground

Last Sunday, we were happy to welcome the community into our space to celebrate the opening of our latest exhibition of young people's art, Common Ground. It was a wonderful day that included so many of our favourite elements: a community of teachers, artists and families; amazing artwork created by young people, delicious wild foraged treats and even some hands-on art-making!

Common Ground features a variety of projects that present how students in schools across British Columbia explored their local landscape and its relationship with the people, animals and plants who live there.

As guests gathered, they snacked on a special spread of seasonal treats, including crackers stacked with smoked salmon, wild mushrooms and pickled fiddleheads, while sipping on nettle tea and elderberry sparkling water. (Thanks to Eric Peake for catching and smoking this salmon and for handpicking and drying the nettle leaves for the tea for us to enjoy!))

Gallery Manager Juliana Bedoya told guests a little about her curatorial process, as well as what was involved to install the exhibition. One of the efforts unique to mounting Common Ground was harvesting and drying large amounts of various native and invasive plants to create the big woven structure in the gallery. Juliana and ArtStarts volunteers became very familiar with the processes involved in weaving with natural materials.

Juliana described the places where these projects took as "spectacular containers for this experiences". Students were able to learn both academic content and artistic skills, as well as interacting with the natural environment.

We were honoured to have a special guest with us on Sunday: Squamish weaver Spelexílh Anjeanette Dawson joined us to share her ancestral knowledge and lead us through a workshop on how to make a woven wool bag.

Anjeanette spoke about her cultural and personal connection to weaving, and showed us some of her beautiful works. She explained how her ancestors couldn't simply purchase wool in a store, like we can today, so they would collect fibers from woolly dogs to weave with.

Anjeanette then handed out cardboard looms and taught us the basics of how to weave. The group was focused as they set to work, weaving their own colours and patterns.

Thanks to everyone who came out on a rainy Sunday to celebrate with us, and to Spelexílh Anjeanette Dawson for sharing her knowledge with us all!


Check out lots more photos from the event on Facebook!

Common Ground is open at the ArtStarts Gallery until the end of March 2016. The ArtStarts Gallery is located in downtown Vancouver at 808 Richards Street, near the corner of at Robson (map). We are open Wednesday to Sunday, from 10am to 4:30pm. Admission is free and all ages are welcome! Guided tours are available for schools, day camps, or other interested groups.

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