SEE:kelowna

DSC_0292In April, 2016, Kelowna Museums Society approached Metro Community and invited them into a collaboration. Lesley-Anne Evans, Metro Creative Curator, and Linda Digby, KMS Executive Director, began to envision how to creatively offer opportunities for story telling in the voices of the Kelowna street community.

Amber Krogel (Metro) joined the collaboration late spring 2017, and brought an exciting new element to bear, that is, the distribution of disposable cameras to project participants. Together with written narratives, these day-in-the-life photographs answer a deeper question, that is, what is important and beautiful to those with real lived experience of homelessness in Kelowna.

Amanda Snyder (Curatorial Manager, KMS) Lesley-Anne, and Amber melded artistic, educational, and relational approaches for the purpose of impacting the public perception of homelessness. Supported by key relationships within the Metro team and other social agencies, each project participant was gently encouraged to complete the task of offering their beauty and truth to the world.

SEE:kelowna is the outcome of the slow work of building trust, listening, coming alongside and facilitating for each individual storyteller. SEE:kelowna has developed into a compelling multi-media artistic expression of photographs, stories, and myth confronting elements that welcome museum visitors into each surprising and insightful story, to:

 “this is what I want you to SEE”

“SEE:me”

SEE:kelowna opened at the Okanagan Heritage Museum on August 29, 2017, and is part of the KMS permanent collection. The creative installation includes an interpretive cart and contents, artistic creations, statistics and facts, a favourite photo of each participant offered as a postcard, visitor feedback in response to thought provoking questions, and an accompanying website. The installation continues to morph and change as community members become engaged with the work.

SEE:kelowna participants Rob and Diane offered music, poetry, and personal insights at the opening, a moving experience for those attending.

 

 

http://seekelowna.com

http://www.metrocommunity.ca

https://www.kelownamuseums.ca/museums/the-okanagan-heritage-museum/

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The Red Couch

Red Couch and Liz RanneyRED COUCH is a pop-up visual arts gallery celebrating the art of Metro Community artists and friends. Red Couch doesn’t take a commission, instead they support, honour and share Metro Community artists works in hopes they will find a way into the lives and hearts of others.

Lesley-Anne led the ideation and creation of Red Couch, and is excited to be opening the bright little street front space to the public. 

Lesley-Anne Evans, Librettist on opening night

For me, Metro Community is a convergence point of spirit and art, made up of people who are hungry to belong, to be heard, and loved, and at the same time are risk takers open to creative expression and the rawness of sharing that process with others. I’ve seen transformation take place, for example, within our writing circles, where the hard truths of personal experience are spoken of and held with such grace and tenderness. The marginalized and vulnerable are capable of deep love and trust, which is a beautiful mystery.
So I believe Red Couch is going to be a surprising place where image dei and the creative spirit of Metro Community is celebrated, and I expect those who come to see the art might just sense something otherworldly is taking place here.
Lesley-Anne Evans, Metro’s Art Curator, and poet/community artist

Red Couch window

If you pass by Red Couch on St. Paul Street in Kelowna, you will see a number of brilliant, vibrant portraits newly installed in the space. They were created by the talented artist Liz Ranney, and will be on display through August 15th. Liz designed the Red Couch logo, and along with her husband, artist Dylan Ranney, consulted with Lesley-Anne during gallery planning and implementation. Liz and Dylan are Metro Community family.

You might like to know why a red couch?

The retro, up-cycled couch in the Red Couch was found in the corner of a thrift shop. Like the overlooked, burnt out, vulnerable, and disenfranchised people often welcomed into Metro Community, the red couch is slightly tattered, and is an imperfectly beautiful centrepiece. The red couch has become a symbol of home and radical welcome, the heart of Metro Community and the art gallery.

“Paint The Town Red” is a mini-launch for the gallery which will take place at Red Couch on Thursday, July 6, 2017 from 5-7 pm. Wear something red for a photo op with the red couch. Red Couch is at 1262 St Paul Street, Kelowna.

Follow Red Couch on Facebook www.facebook.com/artbymetro/

Enquire about showing your work at Red Couch: lesleyanne@metrocommunity.ca

Kelowna Gospel Mission Poetry Panels

Kelowna’s Gospel Mission courtyard officially opened for use on September 14, 2016. It was a glorious day for a grand opening, celebrating creative community and this safe gathering space which will graciously welcome our city’s most vulnerable for years to come.

A special congratulations to poets Norm and Nobu, whose meaningful and honest words now grace the walls in brightly coloured steel panels. Lesley-Anne Evans was invited to commission and mentor the poets throughout the creative process from ideation to installation.

Leon Avenue has often been cluttered with the personal belongings of those served by the Gospel Mission – causing complaints about the eyesore. Randy Benson, Executive Director with the Gospel Mission, says there was no place for clients to wait for services outside except the sidewalk, but that has now changed.

This is a welcoming space; we want people to feel like they’re appreciated,” Randy said. “We have staff here so we want people who are out here to be able to engage with our staff.” 

norm-kgm-opening

Chris is one of the Gospel Mission’s clients who has been using the courtyard space. He says staff allow him to woodwork in the space, a favourite pastime of his.

“I am very lucky to be here. I like the environment and it keeps my mind off of things. It is a safe place and drug-free zone. I really enjoy it,” said Chris.

The KGM courtyard project was coordinated by the British Columbia Society of Landscape Architects – Interior Chapter, with wide community involvement. Well done dreamers and creatives and politicians and donors and accounts people and hard labourers and craftsmen. Well done team, well done!!!

Holding Out Hope

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For the past several months Lesley-Anne Evans has been curating the social media campaign Holding Out Hope.

Beginning with a commemorative poetry wall (see CBC article here) immediately prior to the demolition of Metro’s drop-in centre, Metro Community members are invited to share words that humanize and build understanding. Lesley-Anne and others listen, record and share.

Holding Out Hope invites Kelowna’s marginalized and vulnerable ‘others’ to be known, rather than passed by in fear, disinterest, or hurry. Stories are raw, surprising and authentic. Some of our storytellers are homeless, some live in shelters, halfway houses, and the suburbs. All share the poverty of living ‘outside’ an inner circle, a poverty of relationships. All share a hunger to be loved and to belong.

Holding Out Hope is a powerful and risky exchange. Each candid photo puts a face to a name. Each story becomes an opportunity to see the humanity we all share.

Where do we find the courage to let ourselves be challenged and transformed so that we might rise up as messengers or peace and unity? I pray and hope that this…may encourage more and more people to risk crossing the barriers that separate us, and to risk becoming friends with those we have rejected, so that they too might rise up in hope.

Jean Vanier, Tears of Silence, A Meditation

 

Story Synopsis | Lake of Tears

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Darling, do you write prose? Can you write a libretto for a commissioned opera? Alexandra Babbel, Artistic Director, Opera Kelowna.

And so the conversation began, in early winter, 2014. Opera Kelowna commissioned Lesley-Anne Evans to write a libretto, and enter into a creative collaboration in which a visual art installation by Jane Everett, and filmography by Daniel Cameron, would come alive in a new Canadian operatic production, to a musical masterpiece created by one of Canada’s most renowned composers, Imant Raminsh.

A little background.

Before an opera is performed, a narrative or story is written, perhaps based upon a theme, and for an assigned performance length. Before any musical notes dance in a composers mind, characters and symbols and themes come to life in a librettists imagination. Time, research, input, editing, testing, editing, and a story begins to morph and solidify. Characters are named. Personalities are developed. Relationships grow. A story line is committed to, and written down as truth, in a format called a libretto. The libretto is the script of the operatic work.

Then, a magical melding of words and music takes place, as the composer takes the libretto and sets all dramatic conversations and clever pronouncements and interactions between each character to a new musical score. The composer creates each character’s identifying melody, makes audible the sound of hopes and dreams and conflicts, writes the connecting musical themes between acts, and the openings and closings of the overall work. The composer makes the words…SING! Yes, and he has the power to make the librettist and the future audience weep with the beauty of his music.

And then, finally, after much application of time and gift and patience and input, a new operatic composition is born, with words and music blended seamlessly into a score.

Meanwhile, brilliant artwork is created, filmography is envisioned and shot, funds are raised, singers and orchestra members are hired, costumes are dreamed alive, custom jewelry ‘vial-of-tears’ is handmade, and the collaboration of a large team of creative individuals continues to synergize, mold and develop to bring the work to the stage in a huge outlay of time and energy and excitement. Opening night is anticipated by all, and it is almost here!!!

Alexandra Babbel’s idea, has become a reality!!!

Following is the narrative of LAKE OF TEARS, a new Canadian Opera, to the libretto of Lesley-Anne Evans. And very soon, the gorgeously haunting music of Imant Raminsh’s score will be heard as LAKE OF TEARS is performed for the very first time, in Kelowna, British Columbia. Jane Everett’s installation of luminous canvases and iconic art pieces, along with Daniel Cameron’s filmography, will create an sensuous stage for the audience’s experience of an Okanagan fantasy. You won’t want to miss it!

Tickets and details through Opera Kelowna, and at Rotary Centre for the Arts.

LAKE OF TEARS

Once upon a time, in a faraway land, the Loon people transformed at will at the water’s edge, and enjoyed living on land in human form, or on the water as loons.  Brothers Turmoil and Gavia, both in line for the Throne of Loons, and for the rule of the Loon people, are secretly in love with the beautiful Viviana whom they hope to marry, and with her produce a royal heir. The brothers pursue Viviana to win her love, and Viviana gives her heart to Gavia.

Rejected by Viviana, and now filled with hatred for his brother Gavia, Turmoil seeks power through dark magic. Turmoil curses Viviana and Gavia to live separate lives forever; Viviana, to remain on arid land in human form with all the Loon people; Gavia, to live alone on the great lake as a loon.

Heart broken, Viviana secretly collects her tears of love in a magical vial she wears around her neck. According to ancient legend, a royal heir has power to lift the curse, but only in their 16th year on the anniversary of their birth. Before sunset on that day, the heir must pour true love’s tears into the headwaters of the sacred pool to set the Loon people free.

With Viviana and Gavia now cursed to live separate lives, Turmoil vows to destroy the sacred pool, preventing the Loon people from ever transforming at the water’s edge, and any possibility of the lovers being reunited. Turmoil is unaware of the existence of an heir. Masika, the secret love child of Gavia and Viviana, and their royal heir, carries power to end the curse and strip Turmoil of his dark magic.

Sixteen years have passed, and Masika is now coming of age to fulfill the ancient prophecy and free her people.  Join Masika as she goes on an extraordinary journey and discovers the power of true love.

Lesley-Anne Evans, SDG

Metro Community Artist-in-Residence

DSC_0038_2In September 2014, Lesley-Anne Evans was asked to facilitate a small group of poets and writers at Metro Community’s Metro Central, a Kelowna street level gathering place for the marginalized. The “Poetry Circle” at Metro has become a weekly open table where regulars and newcomers are welcomed and heard. Participants are invited to share words in any form, life stories, and encouraged to live out the creative thumbprint of God on their lives that heals and transforms along the way.

“Art is a wound turned into light.”

At Poetry Circle, Lesley-Anne facilitates a way to belong and be known that grows through sharing creative works of writing, mainly poetry. Word activities include introductions to published poets and their work (contemporary and masters), free writing, found poetry, letter writing, and discussions around creative process.

The Poetry Circle has initiated projects such as the Metro Little Free Library, and stewards and stocks it with gently used books from generous donors such as SHARE and Bibles For Missions. A recent fundraiser became an opportunity for the first exhibition of one community member’s visual art and poetry. Lesley-Anne continues to look for ways of engagement that grow out of the common ground of creative arts and community.

Being known and knowing one another is where it all begins. A rich history of artistic expression within Metro Community, and deep ongoing potential, requires presence to build trust and invite engagement. Which is why Lesley-Anne has committed to being Metro Community’s Artist-In-Residence at Metro Central. 

What is an Artist-In-Residence? Artist-in-residence programs and other residency opportunities exist to invite artists, academicians, curators, and all manner of creative people for a time and space away from their usual environment and obligations. They provide a time of reflection, research, presentation and/or production. They also allow an individual to explore his/her practice within another community; meeting new people, using new materials, experiencing life in a new location. Art residencies emphasize the importance of meaningful and multi-layered cultural exchange and immersion into another culture. (Wikepedia)

Lesley-Anne will be present at Metro Central on Tuesdays and Thursdays during open hours. Feel free to drop by and visit, and if you are a poet/writer, the Poetry Circle is open from 9:30-10:30 am on Tuesdays.

If you are an artist, poet, musician, dancer, photographer, with a heart for social engagement through the creative arts, please connect with Lesley-Anne in person or at mygracenotes@gmail.com.

Metro Central is at 1470 Water Street, Kelowna, across from B.C. Tree Fruits.

Lake of Tears ~ An Opera

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Photograph by Claire C. Evans

LAKE OF TEARS

Imant Raminsh | Composer • Lesley-Anne Evans | Librettist

In October, 2014, Lesley-Anne Evans was approached by Opera Kelowna Artistic Director, Alexandra Babbel, to write a libretto for a multi-arts collaborative between Opera Kelowna and the Kelowna Art Gallery.

In the vein of Tracy Chevalier‘s novel “Girl with a Pearl Earring” and the subsequent screen adaptation of the novel which brings an oil painting by 17th-century Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer to life, KAG commissioned renowned B.C. artist Jane Everett to create an installation of visual art that will come alive in an Opera Kelowna production based on the theme of water. Everett’s oversize vellum screens and sculptural pieces will engage the audience in a fully sensual experience, accompanied by filmography by Daniel Cameron.

Lesley-Anne Evans‘ compelling story Lake of Tears, Canadian in content and Okanagan in setting, follows young heroine Masika on an extraordinary journey of self discovery. The narrative of treachery, love, and destiny does not disappoint. Lake of Tears has been now been set to music, and performance dates confirmed.

Imant Raminsh, respected Canadian composer of Latvian descent, best known for his choral compositions, has created a luminous musical score for Lake of Tears. Raminsh is one of the top leading Canadian composers of our day, his repertoire performed world wide.

Opera Kelowna’s star cast includes Calgary’s soprano Ainsley Soutiere, Penticton’s mezzo-soprano Mia Harris, Vancouver’s tenor Frederik Robert, and Toronto’s baritone Tyler Fitzgerald, along with a female chorus of “voices of many waters.”

A sneak preview of the work will be held in February, 2016. Lake of Tears World Premier Gala Performance will be held in July, 2016, in the atrium space of the Rotary Centre for the Arts. Additional performances will be offered to the public, as well as educational opportunities available to local schools.

Ticket Sales TBA, through the Opera Kelowna website.