Finding He(art)

by Candice Yee

For the young artists out there …who believe they have wandered into all of arts most obscure dimensions, uncovering its best kept secrets and unlocking the portal of the non-mainstream into the open arms of hipsterdom—well sorry, eager hipster, but you really haven’t explored enough. That is, not until you’ve experienced GO8, a teen program that will truly reveal Vancouver’s local art scene, build friendships and test your personal creativity. Through this awesome program at Satellite Gallery, I was introduced to the fun and scary world of public art.

There has always been a thick line between a stranger and another stranger interacting. Vancouverites seem to believe that it would be most polite to respect each other’s privacy by avoiding eye contact or conversation with anyone unknown. A paradox, isn’t it? Thus we grow to understand that each person is enclosed in their own personal bubble. We are taught that it’s best to leave each other be. However, my GO8 leaders, Amie and Kari, pretty much erased these delicate boundaries.

It is vital to share art with the community. Not only physically with public installations, but also emotionally, as art can transform and connect people and places. Activities that focused on engaging the public with art was a unique, eye-opening experience for GO8 participants. For example, we created Artist Cards. We were given about 8 small cards to expel our creativity on, designing them however we liked. Next, we wandered the streets of downtown Vancouver to distribute our small art pieces (free art!) Initially, we were shy and reluctant to approach strangers. But gradually, we freed ourselves from civilization’s unwritten rules. Shouts of “Would you like some free art?” erupted, and we began to quickly give away the precious pieces. It was exciting, frightening and intense. Strangers would share a story about how the art made them feel, and a connection would form between artist and recipient. Some would silently accept the card, others would frantically hurry away. Most didn’t take the time to listen, and assumed we were trying to sell them something. Not only was the activity a reflection on the people of our city, but it also gave us a chance to change someone’s day and make an impact.

GO8 members also performed other forms of art interventions, but this activity truly stood out for me. Break boundaries, and follow wherever your he(art) may lead you.

Applications for Satellite Gallery’s 2013 GO8 teen program are now available online at: http://www.satellitegallery.ca/go8.html

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