Online funding campaign seeks to open community art space in East Vancouver

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      An East Vancouver group is hoping to raise enough support to open a community art space in the Hastings Sunrise neighbourhood.

      Sarah Peacock, the director of Magpie’s Nest Community Art Society, said the group has launched an online funding campaign and is planning a series of fundraising activities in an effort to lease a studio.

      Since forming about a year ago, the non-profit society has organized eight “pop-up” studio events intended to provide an affordable, accessible arts space that engages community members.

      “We kind of see art as a way to foster community, because it’s something that equalizes people,” Peacock told the Straight by phone. “Everyone sits down and they’re engaged in the creative process and you don’t really need to speak the same language or be the same age.”

      Peacock said the group hopes to host open studio time and workshops at the space, and to make it available for rentals for other artists that want to host events there.

      She noted the open studio concept is prevalent in other cities like Montreal, but is lacking in Vancouver.

      “There’s a lot of art studios, and they can be sort of expensive and have that feeling of being elite almost, and we just want it to be…open and welcoming to everybody,” she said. “Especially with the focus in the city about trying to bring people together and create community.”

      The Magpie’s Nest Community Art Society consists of five members with a range of artistic backgrounds. Peacock and another member are art therapists, while the others have experience with mediums including painting, mixed media, and photography.

      The group is hosting an art sale at Baaad Anna’s Yarn Store at 2667 East Hastings Street on Friday (September 13) from 7 to 9 p.m. Its other upcoming events include a collage workshop at the Hastings Community Centre on September 21 and a community map-making workshop at Kiwassa Neighbourhood House on October 5.