Gallery Opening: Prominent Vancouver artists lend painting to bring hope, healing and recovery at Union Gospel Mission

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When Union Gospel Mission (UGM) approached artist and Emily Carr University Instructor, Jean Krabbendam, about donating art to hang in the alcohol and drug recovery program’s building, she knew she could do much more than that.

Through her vision, an entire rotating gallery emerged at UGM. Notable artists from across the city are lending their works to the project and on Thursday, September 5, from 7 to 10 p.m., the public is invited to drop-in to the gallery’s second annual opening, where the 23 new paintings will be unveiled.

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A mixed media artist and trained art therapist, Krabbendam understands the connection between art and restoration. “Beauty is good for the soul,” she said. “It brings hope and healing. A lot of the people in UGM’s recovery program had lost that for a while. They couldn’t see beauty in life.”

Krabbendam explains that art is only hung in spaces that people care about. “When you live on the street, there’s generally this sense that you’re a nobody. That’s hard to shake even once you’re housed. Hanging art that is valuable, thought-provoking and beautiful counteracts that message. The sheer act of displaying paintings of this caliber at UGM says ‘you are as worthy as everyone else, and you are respected.’”

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Krabbendam wasn’t the only artist to give back. When she presented the idea to her network, many noteworthy artists agreed to contribute. Beginning September 5, 23 paintings from 18 Vancouver artists will be on display at UGM. They replace the 17 paintings from the inaugural rotating gallery and will remain hung for one year.

“This is good for the residents, but it’s also good for the artists,” explained Krabbendam. “It gets them into the Downtown Eastside, a neighbourhood that many of these artists care about but may be apprehensive to enter into. The gallery is a perfect first step.”

Sally Clark, another submitting artist, has a deep connection to this project. An award winning playwright, author, painter and filmmaker she’s used to telling stories of struggle.

“In my life I have known a lot of people who struggle with addiction, and many men who died because of it,” said Clark. “I wasn’t able to talk to them in a way that would help them stop. So if I create a painting and someone in recovery finds peace in it, or it helps them in a way, I might make up for being powerless to help the men I knew.”

New this year, is the opportunity to purchase photography and paintings created by those from the Downtown Eastside community—specifically from UGM’s art programs, Photo 101 and Art from the Heart. Photo 101 is a two-month class for UGM community members to study and participate in photography with renowned photographer Kevin Clark. Art from the Heart is an art therapy program fostering healing, wholeness and creativity for women at UGM and was founded by prominent artist Pamela Masik. All proceeds from the sale and admission go towards UGM’s life-changing programs and services.

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Event details

When: Thursday September 5, 2013

Time: 7 to 10 p.m.

Where: Union Gospel Mission, 601 East Hastings

Admission: $10 (funds support UGM programs). Visit www.ugm.ca to purchase tickets.

Refreshments will be provided.

For more information, contact: annualgiving@ugm.ca or 604-215-5440 ext.358.

Guided Tour Times: 7:30 p.m., 8:15 p.m., 9:30 p.m.

About UGM

Union Gospel Mission has been feeding hope and changing the lives of men, women, and children for over 70 years. Through its seven locations in Metro Vancouver, UGM provides counseling, education, safe housing and alcohol and drug recovery to those struggling with poverty, homelessness, and addiction. The heart of the mission is to demonstrate God’s transforming love, ease the burden of the most vulnerable, rebuild the lives of the broken, and offer dignity to those who feel cast aside. To find out more, visit www.ugm.ca.

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