Collaboration is a major theme behind the 7th Annual Up with Art in support of Unity Project Relief for Homelessness. 75 works of art, donated by artists or off the walls of notable collectors, will be up for bid by silent auction. Unity Project residents and New School of Colour artists showcase their work on equal footing with some of Canada’s most celebrated artists. A multisensory experience of art in all forms and a cool mix of people make the scene at London’s best arty-party for relief of homelessness.
“UP has always had Unity Project residents contributing pieces of art to the show,” says Silvia Langer, Unity Project Development Manager. The Unity Project provides emergency shelter and transitional housing with a peer-supported, community model. Langer explains how, unexpectedly, art has become part of life to many at Unity. “You see people here looking to do something when they’re sleepless, because of the trauma they have experienced. And some sit awake at night drawing and doodling as an outlet.” She says, originally, Unity lacked the resources for people to explore this outlet. “But that’s why we are so happy the New School of Colour exists.”
The New School of Colour is located across the street from the Unity Project at the Ark Aid Mission. It’s a creative social space for all community members and an opportunity for artists in the community to access other creative individuals with a special focus on providing opportunities to youth and adults dealing with issues of poverty, mental health and other social barriers. All programming is free.
For the 2015 edition of UP, students of the New School of Colour have collaborated with world-renowned artists to create work especially for the June 20 ‘Arty-Party.’ “It’s quite a transformative experience for both parties. They would meet over coffee to discuss the work, then one would bring it home and work on it, then pass it off to their partner. This process would continue for weeks!” These works will be available for auction in the New School of Colour and Collaborative Works. Artists like Wyn Geleynse and Geoffrey Hume; and Mathew Trueman and Lou LaButte work together to bring one of a kind pieces to the Up with Art Silent Auction.
Langer says it’s wonderful to see Unity residents contribute with some of Canada’s greatest artists on an equal level to the show. She says the experience can be quite life-altering for some. “A couple of years ago I ran into a former resident who came to the event and afterwards he was standing on the door step of the Unity Project. And he promised that next year he was going to contribute a work of art, he was going to have a job, he was going to have a partner, and he was going to be in a different place,” Langer explains. “You could tell in that moment he was already there in his head after attending Up with Art. And he did it. The next year he contributed a work of art, he came with his fiance. He came back to do what he said was going to do.”
Up with Art takes place on June 20 at The Palace Theatre. Enjoy the silent auction, stage production, live music and catering by Youth Opportunities Unlimited. Proceeds support the Unity Project for the Relief of Homelessness. Tickets, and more information, can be found at www.upwithart.ca.
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