Art at Work in New Westminster

Until July 2018, artist Molly Marineau will be creating art aimed at raising awareness about recycling and re-use. To get inspired, she’s hanging out among the utility and waste trucks and crews of New Westminster’s Works Yard.

“My inspiration for doing this kind of art is found materials,” she explains while examining a macaroni box she has pulled from the paper bin at the City’s Recycling Depot.  “It tells a story about people’s day, where it came from, where it is going.”

New Westminster Arts Coordinator Biliana Velkova is excited about the new waste-themed artist-in-residency program, developed together with Engineering Operations. Later in 2018 a second artist will focus on textiles, which comprise about 5% of  total waste.

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Councillor Mary Trentadue points out, “By interweaving public art and creativity into something that isn’t always considered that exciting, maybe we can get people thinking about it more.  If you can attach something kind of unusual or unique to something that is a bit mundane, perhaps people will be able to pay more attention to the fact that recycling is a real important issue.”

In February Molly hadn’t yet developed her art piece but expects it to be interactive.  “So the public can go in and manipulate and interact with the art” she explains.

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Considering common waste materials as resources comes easily for Molly. For example she sees plastic bags as source material for knitting, balloons, or building blocks.

Recycling supervisor Kristian Davis is eager to see what will emerge and pleased to  support it through his department. “We need to look at all opportunities to reach out to the public and engage people whether it is structured like a recycling calendar or the softer approach that we are taking with this project”.

Visit the Metro Vancouver Video Gallery for more videos on regional topics.


Surrey Nature Centre Gives Teachers an Outdoor Perspective

At the Surrey Nature Centre the City of Surrey is giving K-12 outdoor education a boost with workshop training programs geared towards equipping new teachers. These professional development workshops aim to equip teachers with the confidence and knowledge skills to lead lessons beyond the classroom walls. “In many ways the classroom is the community, the classroom is right outside the door – it might be a 100 meter field trip,” says Patrick Robertson, City of Surrey Workshop Facilitator.

Surrey Teachers Map

“In many ways the classroom is the community, the classroom is right outside the door – it might be a 100 meter field trip,” says Patrick Robertson, City of Surrey Workshop Facilitator.

The goal of the workshops is to encourage teachers to take advantage of the creative lesson planning space created by British Columbia’s New Curriculum. “We’re really training the trainers… that’s really building up the teachers’ confidence and knowledge skill to go back and take their kids out into the school yard or out into a park nearby,” says Leah Zia, Parks Operations Coordinator, Surrey Nature Centre.

Surrey Teachers Classroom

The New Curriculum promotes place-based learning in the students’ own backyard. There, engagement in unique history, environment, culture, economy, literature and art seeks to create connection and assign value to the place. Surrey Nature Centre’s workshops look to specifically engage students in environmental learning. The hope is that students will form a connection to their natural environment at a young age, find value and care in preserving the natural resource.

Surrey Teachers Listening to Nature

A longtime pioneer and leader in outdoor education, the City of Surrey’s Surrey Nature Centre has worked in collaboration with Metro Vancouver’s School Programs team, WildBC and the Environmental Educator’s of BC (EEPSA) in delivering workshops to teachers from throughout the region.

Surrey Teachers Sensory

For more information visit Metro Vancouver School Programs page.

Arts Spaces in Surrey Boost Regional Arts & Culture

Two City of Surrey arts venues are giving a boost to arts and culture for youth in Metro Vancouver. A refurbished auto garage is now home base for a theatre company and a hip hop group, and across the street a recreation centre wall is hosting innovative large scale digital art.

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“We are going to be… encouraging emerging artists, young artists and we’re going to ask them to speak with their own voices and build their own pieces and experiment” – Ellie King

Transformed through a $250,000 renovation, Parkway Studio has been overwhelmingly welcomed by its new tenants StreetRich Hip Hop Society and The Royal Canadian Theatre Company who, until now, had been operating without a home base. “Here, we have heat, we have light, we have access, we have up-and-over doors so, we can load our scenery in and out easily. We have bathrooms,” says Ellie King, Creative Director of The Royal Canadian Theatre Company.

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The 2500 square foot space allows the not-for-profit groups to spend more time focused on developing their craft and expanding their organizations and less time scrounging up funding. Ellie King, “We are going to be doing a studio series which we couldn’t do before and so that’s going to be encouraging emerging artists, young artists and we’re going to ask them to speak with their own voices and build their own pieces and experiment.”

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“StreetRich,” says co-founder Mattias Boon, “really wants to create this home for youth, through the artistic elements of hip hop culture help youth become themselves and build capacity.”

While each of the groups is based in Surrey they organize and participate in events throughout the region. The Royal Canadian Theatre Group tour their performances across the lower mainland.

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Another City of Surrey arts initiative is UrbanScreen, across the street at Chuck Bailey Recreation Centre.  It is Canada’s largest non-commercial outdoor projection screen. Projections are curated by the Surrey Art Gallery and can be viewed by the public evenings as soon as it’s dark.

King Tide Pics Offer Snapshot of Future Sea Levels

It’s December 8th and Vancouver is experiencing a King Tide — as the sun and moon’s gravitational forces come together to create some of the highest tides of the year. It’s also a preview of what we can expect if global temperatures, and sea levels, continue to rise. To better understand the future implications, the City of Vancouver has people taking pictures… in the name of science.

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Sea of Stories, a White Rock Play

A professional theatre group in White Rock has added a page to Greater Vancouver’s collective history books.  In ‘Sea of Stories,’ a teenager begrudgingly researches White Rock for a school project and discovers himself immersed in vignettes from different eras.

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The detailed costume of Seagod X’ya:s the Transformer was crafted by Semiahmoo First Nation member Roxanne Charles.

Peninsula Productions partnered with the City of White Rock to apply for a Canada 150 grant and the result was an original play with acting, singing, dancing, video and still projections, explained show producer Janet Ellis.

Artistic Director Wendy Bollard said the scriptwriting phase drew members of the community together. “People would sit around a table and start talking about things from the 1950s and it was very funny,  and different people would meet different people.” Play organizers also worked with members of Semiahmoo First Nation to weave their stories into the script.

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White Rock Pier in 1964.

Performer and assistant director Cory Haas says the play’s message goes beyond the borders of White Rock.  “It is a story of community building and people coming together  –and it’s musical, so there is singing and dancing that people love to come to!”