Union Gospel Mission opens Eastside Culture Crawl gallery

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ugm eastside culture crawl

From November 15 to 17, the amenities room of Union Gospel Mission’s Downtown Eastside (DTES) housing complex will be transformed into an art gallery. Participating as part of Vancouver’s Eastside Culture Crawl, the gallery will feature works from UGM’s two flagship art programs, which are taught by prominent local artists, as well as works from PHS’s The Window Community Art Shop, and Pivot Legal Society’s Hope in Shadows calendar project, a new participant this year. The exhibition is entitled, “Uncovering Vision.”

For many of UGM’s program participants, active involvement in photography and painting have been conduits for both healing and healthy new ways to experience life.

ugm eastside culture crawl

Untitled, created by Liam – a participant in UGM’s Photo 101 program

“I’ve always been interested in photography and I wanted to learn how to channel that into an actual piece of art,” said Mark Graham, a participant in UGM’s Photo 101, a program taught by esteemed photographers Kevin Clark and Leah Gregg. Available to UGM program participants, the course teaches photo composition and artistic vision, as well as historic themes in photography, as students explore their neighbourhood through the lens of a Holga camera.

“Taking Photo 101 has given me a different thing to do other than some of what I’ve done in the past,” Graham explained. After struggling with addiction to crack cocaine before coming to UGM’s Alcohol and Drug Recovery program, Graham knows what it’s like to have a shrouded view of the world. “When I was using, my eyes were on the sidewalk,” he said. “And now that I’m making art, they’re not on the sidewalk anymore. I finally get to see and show how beautiful this neighbourhood and this world are.”

ugm eastside culture crawl

Untitled, created by Liam – a participant in UGM’s Photo 101 program

Not only is the act of art creation a conduit for healing, but the opportunity to exhibit is both dignifying and practically helpful—especially when exhibition venues are few. Carolyn Wong, Pivot’s Hope in Shadows Project Coordinator, explains:

“These are artists who don’t have private studio space,” she said. “They access community and public spaces to make their art. Uncovering Vision and the Eastside Culture Crawl have created an opportunity for them to display their artwork both publicly and professionally.”

ugm eastside culture crawl

“Bounce” – a collaborative piece by women in UGM’s Art from the Heart program

Hope in Shadows is a photography contest for low-income residents where disposable cameras are handed out to the community. Selected photos are printed in a calendar, showing the beauty in the neighbourhood, and calendars are sold on the street by vendors, providing dignified income. This is the first year that Hope in Shadows is exhibiting in UGM’s gallery space.

“I am super excited about this,” says Wong. “It is really great that the participating artists are able to take part in such a widely recognized cultural event in the City of Vancouver.”

Also exhibited will be works from UGM’s Women’s Centre program, Art from the Heart, and The Window Community Art Shop.

ugm eastside culture crawl

Submission from the Window’s collection, artist unknown

Union Gospel Mission Eastside Culture Crawl gallery

Dates & Hours:
Friday, November 15 from 5 to 10 p.m.
Saturday, November 16 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Sunday, November 17 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Where: Union Gospel Mission Vancouver – 601 E Hastings Street, Vancouver

Kick-Off Event: UGM will be holding a kick-off for the gallery on Friday, November 15 from 5 to 6 p.m. at Maurice McElrea Place (361 Heatley Avenue, Vancouver). There will be short speeches and refreshments will be served thanks to H.A.V.E. Cafe catering and Ethical Bean Coffee.

About Union Gospel Mission

Union Gospel Mission has been feeding hope and changing lives of men, women, youth, and children for over 70 years. Through its seven locations in Metro Vancouver and the city of Mission, 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 learn more, visit www.ugm.ca.

Images: Submitted
Feature image: “Pacific Rim” by Wade Edwards – part of the Window’s collection, a non-profit enterprise and part of PHS

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