Monday, September 2, 2013

The Drop-In Centre a Leader of Hope

Homelessness is one of the biggest issues in the City of Calgary; in East Village it is more than an issue - it is an integral part of the neighbourhood, more so due to the existence of the Drop-In Centre on 4th Avenue SE. After opening in 2001, the 107,000 sq.ft. centre has been the home for those who have not one, reaching capacity one year after opening.

Homelessness is not a "pretty" subject - one reason for this is the lack of actual, physical colour in the surrounding area of the centre; the area is literally gray. But soon that is about to change!

With EV becoming more and more colourful, thanks to the multiple artworks that are spread-out around the neighbourhood, an idea came up to create an artwork on the street-wall by the Drop-In Centre in an attempt to beautify the area and bring a community together.

4 people make up the artistic collaborative which will bring us "This is OUR City"; Hannah Poon, Mark Vasquez-Mackay, Ryan Delve and Bill. All are professional artists who bring something different to the table, with 2 of them living in the DI - which makes this project all that more personal.

(Left to Right) Bill and Ryan;
Artistic force of the Drop In Centre
Here is a brief overview of what the artwork is all about:
The piece will showcase the history and development of the Drop In Centre, as well as the path of those who need and use it. Most of all, this work is going to manifest HOPE - the process of changing a person's Life, the difficulties in transforming a personal story and the gift of finding hope in finding a Home.
Starting from the south side of the wall, the art is going to grow from slightly darker colours into a celebration of bright colours and a bright future; not only as a means to better present the idea of optimism and hope, but to attract people to it, engage a community with it and utterly beautify this currently-gray area.

There is yet another symbolic aspect to this creation of hope, in a way that is not connected directly to the DI: Currently, in the City of Calgary, there is no-one that is assigned to deal with ideas for artworks - if the they come from an individual or a private group. All the other artworks around East Village were a result of an organization's initiative (Calgary Municipal Land Corporation); the DI's project aims to be the first coming from the "common people" and maybe open a door for many others.

There is support for this project, including from the City of Calgary and CMLC, however a lack of funding is still holding back the project. Momentum is very strong and it would be a shame to miss out on it; the project is planned to commence at the end of September, 2013, but if funding doesn't come through the project will have to be postponed until - at least - Spring 2014. With a budget of $10,000, a relatively small number, there is hope that funding will be found, but until it becomes official the project is at a halt.

For more information, or to show and offer support of any kind, here is who you can contact:
Jordan Hamilton
(403) 699-8227

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