ALEX HOUSE: Inspiring activism through art

Exhibition focused on ‘germinating hope’ to be mounted at May 25 festival

The news reports of the multiple threats to our planet’s life-support systems have become more frequent, and more insistent.

Many of us are anxious and concerned for the future – for our children and grandchildren. And many of us feel helpless.

What can we, as individuals, do to have a positive, life-affirming impact on our society, so that we can build the sustainable economy necessary for our common future?

One avenue is through the arts. The visual, literary, and performing arts have the power to inspire and transform us. They help crystallize those private thoughts and impulses; connecting our hearts and minds with those of the artist.

The arts have the power to spark community. I’m excited to announce that Alexandra Neighbourhood House will be hosting an exhibition focused on germinating hope, through advocacy and activism, that we can and must create a sustainable future for ourselves and all living things.

That exhibition is called Our Common Future: Finding Hope in the Midst of Crisis, and will be mounted at our 45th annual Alexandra Festival, May 25; with selected pieces exhibited at the White Rock Community Centre for the month of June.

Our Common Future is the title of the report of the World Commission on Environment and Development, published in 1987. Often called the Brundtland Report, after its chair, Gro Harlem Brundtland, it brought the issue of human-induced climate change to public consciousness; and reinforced the novel idea that development and sustainability are a single issue.

Our Common Future explores, through art and creativity, responses to the various threats to life on Earth, seeking to inspire those who experience it to hope; and with hope, to local advocacy and activism to build a more aware and sustainable community – both individually, and collectively.

Artists for a Change is an initiative of Alexandra Neighbourhood House to encourage and support collaborative projects devised and delivered by visual, literary, and performing artists.

These projects are intended to foster community engagement and development around issues of social or environmental concern, with a view to inspiring the public to individual and collective action for positive change. Our Common Future is more than a juried, multi-media exhibition.

As a centrepiece of our annual Alexandra Festival, it will include opportunities for visitors to indicate interest in participating in one or more community conversations focused on the theme, with a view to cultivating advocacy and activism in our community.

We are recruiting up to 20 visual, literary, and performing artists in adult and youth categories. Submissions will be assessed by a team of three jurors per category; and those selected will receive a $100 honorarium. For more information, or to receive a copy of the call to artists, please contact me at communityprograms@alexhouse.net

Neil Fernyhough is manager of Alexandra Neighbourhood House’s community programs. For information on programs/services at Camp Alexandra, call 604-535-0015 or go to www.alexhouse.net

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