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

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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

kelowna-poetry-wall

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

 

Announcement

Head Shot 2014

Lesley-Anne Evans is pleased to announce that she has accepted the position of Creative Curator for Metro Community, in Kelowna, B.C..

Lesley-Anne was drawn to Metro Community’s Metro Central in 2014, curious about this unique group of people, and wondering if Metro might align with her deepening desire to find God in a more earthy expression of spirituality. She soon became Metro’s poetry facilitator, then Artist-In-Residence, engaging the community in various initiatives such as;

• creating and stewarding a Little Free Library as a gift from Metro to the greater community, a static LFL then became mobile,

• organizing a community member’s first visual art exhibit at a fundraising event,

• encouraging twice-weekly blasts of creative “Pop-UP’s” in the coffee bar, for musicians and wordsmiths,

• hosting open studio for artists,

• installing illumination and poetry in the Wild Goose Cafe,

• facilitating a newly branded Metro Arts social media group where members can connect and inspire one another,

• finding ways of cross pollination and relationships between community artists and greater community cultural experiences, ex: Metro Community invited guests at LAKE of TEARS Opera at RCA, mentoring Metro poets for Kelowna Gospel Mission Courtyard poetry wall.

Metro Arts is Lesley-Anne’s passion, fleshing out her belief that we are all created in the image of God, and therefore creative. Her desire is to come alongside others as they discover, engage, contribute and celebrate their creative gifts within community. But Lesley-Anne’s most meaningful role is to be present, and to listen. Through this, Lesley-Anne has begun to experience the rawness of the street community, and the gift of holding space without judgement. Metro Community has at its centre Kelowna’s most vulnerable residents, upholding values that align deeply with Lesley-Anne’s own. Lesley-Anne is honoured to find belonging in such a place and at such a time as this.

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.