Contributed by Gabriela Torres, Communications Assistant

Photos by Maxine Tamoto @prunecandy and Gabriela Torres

Well folks, another year of the INCLUSION Art Show & Sale has come and gone! This year’s show, like many others, was full of excitement, wonder, and hard work.

From pottery to paintings, to jewelry and more, there was truly something eye-catching for everyone who attended. Whether you made it to the show or not, here’s a look at the unique artwork and special moments we cherished.

Highlights

This year, the INCLUSION Art Show & Sale was a one-day affair instead of two. The event began at 10:30am at Vancouver’s historic Heritage Hall building and cruised on well into the evening ending at 8:30pm!

After nine months of careful planning by the organizing committee and a full day of set up and preparation, the doors were finally opened. In came the artists, families, and guests! Following doors, American Sign Language interpreters began interpreting the show, door prizes were drawn, and live art demonstrations took place throughout the day. The first two demonstrations were carried out by our very own Andrea Hrysko, who taught guests how to make clay mandalas and Rebecca Nosella, who showed off her painting techniques using everyday tools like pot scrubbers! The final two demonstrations were carried out by Justin Albay and Cody Tresierra. Justin showed guests how to make chainmail jewelry and Cody painted a beautiful landscape using only his mouth, a technique he learned while recovering from a life-threatening vehicle accident.

The show saw its first big rush in the morning and picked up again in the late afternoon and evening. Maria, a Residential Services Facilitator who offers home care for persons served, whipped up a big batch of her famous homemade Mac & Cheese to keep guests’ and artists’ energy levels up while they mingled. Once in the room, it was easy to see how eager and excited the artists were to share their creations with others. Artists Rachel and Fatima from the Community Living Society shared their thoughts on the show with us. Here’s what they had to say:

“This is a really fun environment! When individuals admire and appreciate my art and all of the hard work that goes into creating it, it helps me gain confidence.” – Rachel

“It’s fun to be here because I get to meet new people and engage with the community.” – Fatima

Music, Emcees, and Special Performances

This year’s show was also unique because of the many talented individuals performing and speaking on stage.

While previous shows had great emcees, singers, and musicians adding ambience to the event, the 14th Annual Art Show & Sale incorporated performances by Ben Simcoe, Singer and Impressionist, Manuel Hii, a skilled local pianist, and jazzy beats by the Jack Ray Trio, who guests very much enjoyed.

Co-emcees Justine Chubb, Larissa Gunkel and Monique Nelson worked the event seamlessly, facilitating the program. One of the most memorable moments of the night was the closing commentary offered by Larissa, a budding public speaker. Her remarks were both moving and hopeful, touching on ways that our global community is positively united through art.

The Guests

After speaking to a few guests, their thoughts on the show became apparent. It was clear they were having fun speaking to the artists, buying the art, and admiring everything on display.

Sheena Macintyre enjoyed the show stating that it was a “very pleasant experience all around. Everybody was friendly. The variety of crafts and artwork was amazing.”

While Kim C. said she had a “wonderful experience attending the annual INCLUSION Art Show & Sale. I will look forward to next year’s show. The pieces I purchased are now hung on my walls, and every time I see them I feel happy!”

Students from Kwantlen Polytechnic University also had the opportunity to attend and were in awe of the magnificent creations. Hunter stated: “I really like it! The pieces on display are unique and you can tell that all of the artists are really proud of their creations! I’m surprised to see so much talent in one room. I definitely couldn’t create anything as amazing as the artwork I see here!”

Successes

Fourteen years ago INCLUSION was the first public art show to celebrate the creative talents of people living with developmental disabilities. Today, the show has become our unique way of contributing to community living month alongside other agencies that host art shows of their own showcasing the world of talented all-ability artists. We hope to continue the tradition of diversity and inclusion by remaining open to agencies, studios, and artists across B.C who are passionate about the work that they do and are eager to share their creativity with others.

posAbilities is extremely thankful for the opportunity to put on a show of this magnitude every year. The art sparks conversations that teach us something new about ourselves, the artists, and the surrounding community. We’d like to extend a special thank you to everyone who helped make our 14th show happen – from devoted team members, to artists, families and guests. We couldn’t have had this experience without you!