Contributed by Gabriela Torres, Communications and Events Assistant

Artists Derek Armstrong and Manny Ravelo pose for a photo and wave hello.

Every year, during community inclusion month, talented artists get together and gear up for the biggest disability art show in the province – the posAbilities INCLUSION Art Show & Sale!

For fourteen years and counting, the exhibition features the works of artists across Metro Vancouver living with diverse abilities. Ranging from autism to physical challenges such as vision, hearing, or mobility impairment, artists display their unique creations and worldviews at Vancouver’s historic Heritage Hall, a venue filled with cultural significance and heart, making it the perfect fit for the occasion.

Over the years, the show has seen its fair share of changes. It began as a one-day event and transitioned into a two-day celebration after its 10 year anniversary. As the event grew, artists and several participating agencies began creating their works in studios instead of day programs. Other key changes include the introduction of live music and co-emcees, some of whom are persons served and public figures like the former media personality, Arran Henn, who continues to support the show.

Since the inaugural event in 2005, INCLUSION made waves as the first public art show to feature and celebrate the creative talents of people living with developmental disabilities and will continue its tradition of celebrating creativity this year on October 11th from 10:30am – 8:30pm. This long art-filled day of fun, music, and wonder is a great way for guests and passerbys to learn about the people, art, and community that surrounds them.

Flashing Back To Shows from The Past

Sadly, time machines haven’t been invented yet. This means we can’t take you by the hand, ghost of Christmas past style, to guide you through each of our previous year’s shows. However, we figured words can paint a picture of the past, almost as well our artists can. So let’s take a quick stroll down memory lane and see what we come across!

Past art shows have varied in size, type of art, and audience but have all shared one commonality, and that’s excitement! Every show to date has had a magnetic energy that brings people into Heritage Hall to admire the curious, original, exciting, and provocative artwork on display.

Live musician adds ambiance to venue.

Even though art is the main attraction, live demos and music add to the exciting energy in the room and tie the event together. Introduced as recently as three years ago, demos of the past have included and continue to include, mouth painting, glass fusing, pottery, and jewelry making, all of which artists who have their own special styles and strategies showcase.

Artist hosts a mouth painting demo.

Artist hosts a pottery demo.

In 2016, we hosted a community weaving project as part of our alliance with Project Everybody, a multi-agency collective lead by the Open Door Group that showcases disability arts, culture and employment. Guests, artists, volunteers, and team members had the opportunity to add a strand to the fabric art, which brought friends and strangers closer together within the walls of Heritage Hall.

Fernando Coelho participates in community weaving project.

From Then to Now: The Show Goes On

Now that we’ve given you a feel for past shows, here’s what to expect in 2018.

Artist showcases her creations.

Individual pieces and collections from over 150 artists and more than 850 original creations including photography, paintings, pottery, glasswork, and more will be showcased at this year’s show. Similar to previous years, emcees will break the ice by rocking the house with information about the show, artists, and door prizes. Yes, you heard that right! Four lucky guests turned winners will receive incredible prizes.

A look at the diverse creations from jewelry to glasswork.

Sprinkled throughout the day, there will be live art demonstrations that are bound to make you “oooh” and “aaah” while live music will have you bopping to funky beats. This year’s musicians include Manuel Hii, a talented pianist and the Jack Ray Trio, a bluesy soul and jazz band.

Live stain glass demo in action.

While ASL interpretations are available at every show, this year they will run from 10:30am-2:00pm and 5:30pm-8:30pm. So come on down to this annual exhibition. Interact with artists, enjoy beautiful creations, connect with like-minded community members, and most importantly, discover how individual challenges can be transcended through art.

Event organizers pose for a group photo.