Inspired By

Last evening the “Inspired By” exhibition launched at the Summerland Arts Centre, a first for this initiative of the Summerland Community Arts Council in conjunction with the Ryga Arts Festival. The rooms of the Centre were abuzz as creatives and their friends celebrated each other and the creation of 70 new works.

“Inspired By” matched writers and visual artists who each received a piece of visual art or writing. Each then created a new piece of work inspired by what they were given. The outcomes were quite extraordinary, and reading the artists statements it was very clear that even over a long distance, and engaging with someone we have never met, we can influence one another’s creative process in surprising and beautiful ways.

Lesley-Anne Evans was invited to submit two poems, An Artists’ Invocation and Love Song for Morning. In return, she received the visual works Windfall, by Kathy Smith, and Blue Cottage, by Mary Fisher. Lesley-Anne looks forward to meeting the artists who inspired her new poems The Lifespan of Peaches and Original Wisdom, as she was unable to locate them last night in the busy and joyful gathering. She did have the pleasure of meeting the artists who received her poems.

Anna + LA - Inspired By

Anna Wolleben’s mixed media piece, inspired by Lesley-Anne Evans’s poem “An Artists’ Invocation”

Congratulations to the event organizers, promoters, and especially all the talented creatives who inspired one another to create more beautiful things. The “Inspired By” exhibition continues until September 27, 2018. Visual art pieces are for sale. Poems and stories are free to view. Copies of Lesley-Anne’s poetry is available upon request through this website or by emailing evanslesleyanne@gmail.com.

 

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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.” 

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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

 

Celebrate the good!

DSC_0212Reasons to celebrate;

  1. hackers can be overcome with diligence and tenacity!
  2. literary journals (paper and virtual) are alive and well!
  3. poetry is read, voices are heard!
  4. a poet and a journal can find converging sense of place, life experience, and poetic sensibilities.

Last autumn, CASCADIA REVIEW intended to publish four of Lesley-Anne Evans poems. Then quite abruptly, a hacker wreaked havoc, and CASCADIA went down. Nothing was published. The website remained frozen. But, thanks to the deliberate behind the scenes elbow grease and expertise of a team of someones, the respected CASCADIA REVIEW is back online, and back in the business of sharing poetry with people.

Today, Cascadia Review published Lesley-Anne’s poem “Vineyard” and tomorrow, another poem, and the day after that, another poem, and the day after that, another poem. We so grateful for the good folk who believe passionately in the good work of publishing journals and collections and books of poetry. Even when things go sideways, they rise again. Thank you, Cascadia Review. THANK YOU.

 

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.

Sage-ing Journal and journeying together…

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Amanda Kelly, Lesley-Anne’s friend.

Earlier this week, Sage-ing Journal released its Winter Issue #14, and within those pages, the article “Writing A Friendship,” documenting a chapter in the story of two writers who find one another and begin to journey together. One writer/poet is Lesley-Anne Evans, and the other, her friend of almost a year, Amanda Kelly. Together, Lesley-Anne and Amanda are exploring the way they can sustain a stable and supportive friendship that is cross generational and open to change. Their collaborative article in Sage-ing Journal touches on their discovery process.

An excerpt from the article:

Q ~ What is your biggest struggle as a poet/writer?

LA: Isolation, feeling like I’m not contributing to “real life.” or what I’m doing has value. I think we all need folk to remind us that we are not alone and what we do really matters.

A: My Achilles heel as a writer is a paralysis that often comes out of the exhausting demands of my perfectionism. When I have my fingers poised over the keyboard, my mind twitches and suddenly my chest feels as if it is contemplating collapse. In desperation I ask myself is what I have to say even worth saying and will it be what I want to say? I eventually regain my breath, whether if it’s five minutes later or the next day; I keep going. Writing will always hold insecurity, yet it is often one of the few things I feel is feeding me nourishment.

With this Sage-ing Journal publication, Amanda celebrates her first publication of poetry and prose. Congratulations Amanda!

Sage-ing Journal is a gift of love and conviction, produced fully by volunteers to “honour the transformational power of creativity. We are a quarterly journal intended as an initiative for collaboration and sharing. We present the opportunity for the free exchange of wisdom gleaned from creative engagement. We invite all ages to contribute their discoveries.”

Sage-ing with Creative Spirit, Grace & Gratitude, invites you to engage with them. You may contact the Editor, Karen Close at karensageing@gmail.com.

KNOW YOURSELF. BE YOURSELF. LOVE YOURSELF. SHARE YOURSELF.