Archive for ‘Community’

October 19, 2015

Monday October 19 12 noon – I’m preparing for the next 12 hours

It’s twelve noon October 19, 2015. My friends and I are full of anxiety. In recent days we have allowed ourselves to consider it could be a Conservative (minortiy we assume) government on October 20th.

Various friends are working in the election either as paid employees or unpaid scrutineers. They will go to a party with their colleagues tonight and I and a few people will eat, drink and watch at the Wolf & Hound pub tonight.

I heard recently that “worry does not equal preparation”. I am now preparing myself for the next 24 hours.

Tonight when I return after beering and possibly cheering, I will sit in front of a small Buddha statue, light incense and do a loving kindness meditation ritual

May all beings be safe from danger.

May all beings have physical happiness.

May all beings have mental happiness.

May all beings live each day in peace.

I will start with me: May I be safe, happy and at peace.

Then I will focus on my friends. May they all be safe from danger.

Even if or especially if a Conservative government with Harperman at the helm wins, may we all be safe from danger. May Shane Koyczan and Rick Mercer be safe from danger. May they have mental happiness and live each day in peace.

Let Hurricane Hazel at 94 be my inspiration in achieving mental happiness and keeping fear at bay.  “Do I look scared to you, Steven?” she asks.

May we live in peace.

May Steven Harper have mental happiness.

May new Canadian citizen and first-time voter, Zunera Ishaq  live in peace.

May the servers at the Wolf and Hound, be safe from danger as they bring beer to us. Does Extra Old Stock still exist? But we are Craft brewery people, not old stock.

May our servers have happiness – and large tips.

This morning a friend’s father was taken to hospital having trouble breathing and finding himself confused.

He managed to whisper, “I’m incoherent.”

“No you’re not. I can hear you fine.” was the initial response, but then 911 was called and he was taken to the hospital.

My friend and her daughter, a first-time voter, are heading out to vote this afternoon.

May my friend, her daughter, her daughter’s grandfather all be safe from danger.

And her grandmother as well. And the paramedics and doctors and nurses.

May they all be well.

My favorite Buddhist podcaster, Gil tells me from Redwood City, California:

Don’t trust your mind. Identify with your breath not your mind.

Mental happiness includes clarity, calmness, equanimity.

One can learn this, Gil—and others—tell me.

We can purify our minds.

What will Scott Andrews, NDP candidate in my riding, do on October 20th?

He just walked by the coffee shop with a group of young people, probably UBC students. When I knocked on the window and gave the thumbs up salute, he ran in to give me a brochure and introduce himself. I told him I heard him talk at the Unitarian Church. I said, “good luck” since it didn’t seem appropriate to chant at him.

May Scott be safe, healthy, happy and at peace.

I didn’t tell him I’d already voted and for the incumbent Liberal candidate. If he wants it I believe he has a future in politics, but tomorrow he won’t have a job as a Member of Parliament. This riding has been held by Liberals since 1984. Joyce Murray will win. I predict. I am happy to not live in a swing riding.

On October 20th, Tom Mulcair, Justin Trudeau and Steven Harper will all go back to work, possibly with new job titles – promoted or demoted as as may be the case.

It was not out of character for the Globe & Mail to endorse the Conservative party, but to endorse the Conservatives minus Harper is quite a statement. So perhaps one of the leaders will decide to leave his job and seek employment elsewhere. May he be safe, healthy, happy and at peace.

On CBC Early Edition this morning, Rick Cluff promised (or warned) that tomorrow morning, we will “hear all about it”. He sounded tired but resigned as he said it.

How will we live without knowing the daily whereabouts of Justin, Steven and Tom?

Justin needs to go to a doctor to look at that sore throat of his. Rest in bed, Justin. Drink plenty of liquids. Don’t talk. Breathe.

Let’s all breathe. That’s all I can offer. Keep on keeping on. I will try to follow my own advice.


October 8, 2015

‘Tis the Season to Give Thanks…


Rain or Shine Ice Cream in Kitsilano #grateful


Kitsilano Neighbourhood House Gratitude Tree


Neverland Tea Salon expressing #gratitude

‘Tis the season to give thanks and we in Kits have a lot to be thankful for.

A couple of years ago with the support of a Neighbourhood Small Grant funded by the Vancouver Foundation and managed by Kits House, a group of women started encouraging people on the West side of Vancouver to express their gratitude by writing on windows, ribbons or post-it-notes.

And they just keep going.

This year they have over two dozen Gratitude Stops around the west side, including eight in Kitsilano.

The idea is simple: Just add your comment to what your neighbours have said.

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May 7, 2014

Stimulating Community Through Art

For New Year’s this year, I made a resolution to publish something once a week. Twitter or facebook posts didn’t count. Blog posts or e-newsletter articles did count.
Mayday! Mayday! May Day is both an emergency call and a spring celebration, so a good time to revisit those resolutions made in the depths of winter. To use a gardening metaphor: Time to look for the sprouts emerging from seeds cast in January. Thin them out. Pull out the weeds. Remove the slugs.
A friend of mine still recalls vividly when as a child she helped her neighbour weed the garden and pulled up all the plants, not knowing which were which. Her face went pink as she told me that story – even 40 years later.
Plant identification for my resolution is in order. Here’s my updated resolution:
I will write a post every week that stimulates community through art.
Conversations that happen around art have a greater potential to connect people at an intimate and deeper level than, say, conversations about the weather or sports. At least that’s how it works in my life.
It’s possible to have an argument about art, of course. But more often art allows for many perspectives and perceptions. On the weekend I exhibited with Artists in our Midst and enjoyed hearing what people saw in my paintings. Sometimes they articulated something I hadn’t put into words. One person said every nest painting seemed to have its own story. Another said it had soul. Other times people shared reflections that were about them not me. A friend who had just returned from a trip to South America saw cheetahs, not nests, in the trees of one painting.

Freak Out Movie poster
This week I’m volunteering at DOXA, the documentary film festival. I’ve enjoyed all of the films I’ve seen so far, and enjoyed the connections made with other volunteers. Triggered by talking about the film Freak Out! I learned from a journalism student from Colombia about communes formed by Afro-Colombians.
Later, I went to the Freak Out! Website. I sent a note saying a) I enjoyed the movie and b) you might want to fix these typos I noticed. This morning there was an email directly from the film-maker, Carl Javer, thanking me.
How has art stimulated community in your life?


September 19, 2013

Samhain Shrine

I’m part of a team making a Shrine for Samhain/Hallowe’en when the veil between living and dead is thin.

We want people to bring photos (actually photocopies of photos) of friends and family who have died that we’ll attach to a standing structure.

One person has offered to make block prints of bright stars on dark fabric.

As a big fan of the celebrations at Mountainview Cemetery, I’d like to help design the structure and how to invite creative participation.

I’m inspired by Marina Szijarto’s community shrine that I believe she paints every year so the names are layered year after year after year.

Pondering whether we could do photocopy transfer or it’s too complicated and time consuming.

Or perhaps copy the images onto transparency film and glue onto a backing.

I will test out some ideas and bring to share with others and see how we might combine all of the ideas – or at least most of them!

We have yet to decide on the exact location at the Unitarian Church at 49th and Oak – My personal preference is the outdoor memorial garden area, but I recognize the challenges of outdoor locations in wet Vancouver.

Some links for tips on photocopy images:

laser jet vs inkjet and Citra Solv as a tool

About shrines

Examples of shrines

pumpkins etc. on deck

September 18, 2013

Curating Community

I’m on a panel tonight called “Curating Community at Britannia Centre.  Looking forward to hearing the other 3 panelists – proud to be included with them – and the dialogue.

See here for details. Free – just show up. Maybe join me for a beer afterwards!

Britannia Art Gallery presents
Curating Community
A panel discussion on the differences and similarities between artist-run centres, arts councils, artist
collectives & community public galleries.
Wednesday, September 18th, 7 – 9 pm
In the Family Canuck Place building/Britannia Community Centre, on the north side of Grandview park
Panelists: Hank Bull, Mary Bennett, Sylvia Oates and Famous Empty Sky
Hank Bull is recognized as a pioneer of new forms of art and community engagement. As a curator,
administrator and arts advocate at the Western Front, he helped to establish a network of artist-run
centres across Canada. In 1999, he co-founded Centre A, the Vancouver International Centre for
Contemporary Asian Art. His personal art practice takes place at the intersection of painting, video,
performance and sound. His work is present in the collection of the National Gallery of Canada,
the New York Museum of Modern Art and other institutions.
Mary Bennett has been engaged in the art of creating community since an early age. She is the lead
artist on two community-engaged projects: RoundAbout Kits and Bird on the Beach and regularly
leads Kitsilano Bee-Line Walks that combine art, community and environment. From 2008-2013,
Mary worked for the Community Arts Council of Vancouver as it was rebuilding with a focus on
community-engaged arts and environmental arts.
Sylvia Oates moved to the Drive in the early nineties. In 1993, when the Gallery Project now the
Britannia Art Gallery,was created by the Britannia Community Centre, in partnership with the Library,
Sylvia was its first curator and for the next ten years firmly established the gallery as part of the library.
By the time she stepped down in 2003, over 200 artists who either lived or worked locally had shown
their work to their neighbours.
Famous Empty Sky is a long time member of Avenue for/des Arts/AVA, a community based artist
collective located in east Vancouver. Through AVA, she got involved in numerous art shows and
community projects. Famous Empty Sky was the Gallery Director during AVA’s two year residency
at the Cultch. In 1998 she was AVA’s facilitator for a series of public workshops whose results became
a mural called “The Party of the Century” and in 2013 she curated an exhibition as part of AVA’s
interdisciplinary project, “Clockwork Universe: A Steam Punk Art Happening” at the Havana Gallery.
– 30 –
Curator: Haruko Okano 604.874.5916
Hank Bull
Sylvia Oates 604.254.8305 Cell: 240-0419
Mary Bennett 604.617.0142
Famous Empty Sky 604.253.0164
1661 Napier St., Vancouver, BC

May 17, 2013

Welcome to my blog

Mary saying Welcome!I’m glad you dropped by. Please stay for a while and let me introduce myself.

If you’d like to connect, just send me an email to maryinvancouver and I’ll get back in touch as soon as possible.

To see photos of my art and projects, do visit my website at:

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May 15, 2013

RoundAbout Kits come to our free workshop

RoundAbout Kits come to our free workshop – make a (friendly) sign for your garden and meet your neighbours

April 26, 2013

Kits Eco Arts events

Just updated the Kits Eco Arts events.  Come and brainstorm ideas to make your garden friendlier

April 26, 2013

Kits Eco-Arts will be at Khatsahlano! Festival

Kits Eco-Arts will be at Khatsahlano! Festival July 13 In Kitsilano | .Volunteers needed to help build birdothebeach

April 23, 2013

Kitsilano Eco-Arts Meetup

Just updated with a couple of events. See you on a bee and/or bird walk?

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