“Our Park” Project seeks to connect diverse communities surrounding Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside

Sylvan Hamburger screen printing drawings
Artist Sylvan Hamburger screen-printing drawings from participants of the Our Park Project taking place at Andy Livingstone Park in Vancouver - Photo courtesy of Our Park Project / Facebook
James Mainguy - CFRO - VancouverBC | 10-08-2021

The ‘Our Park’ community art project is running now until September in Andy Livingstone Park. The project is a partnership between the Vancouver Parks Board and the Western Aboriginal Harm Reduction Society (WAHRS). According to the project’s Facebook page, it aims to “...engage, build connection, foster care and safety, and bridge the diverse communities who use Andy Livingstone Park by engaging individuals in community-based art events.” 

Every Wednesday and Sunday afternoon, from 2-6 pm, artist Sylvan Hamburger is joined by Carnegie Community Centre Elder-in-Residence Les Nelson, along with Les’ niece, Donna Charlie. The three lead passersby in “...a series of drawing and screen workshops...with people generating imagery through engaging with people as they stopped by.”  

Les Nelson, the Elder-in–Residence in the Downtown Eastside’s Carnegie Community Centre, sees his role in the project as providing, “...an explanation of what's going on and someone to talk to too probably. That's why a elder is here to support Sylvan.” 

Andy Livingstone Park was chosen to be the site of the project because of its location. The Park is situated at the edges of downtown Vancouver, historic Chinatown, Strathcona, and the Downtown Eastside. The Park is unique in that it has the most diverse group of people using it, everyone from million-dollar condo owners to those with far more precarious living situations. As artist Sylvan Hamburger said, we “...have parents and kids from Strathcona that will come to the park. We have women from women's shelters come by. Last week we had two young men that are just been gotten out of prison for the last six years that came and drew some amazing eagles with us.” 

You can follow the Our Park Project on Facebook and Instagram