The Walk a Mile in My Shoes triptych hangs on the wall of TREC at 425 Park Street. Emelie Peacock/Hope Standard

Community briefs: Tolerance and respect the theme of new public art in Hope

Also Hope’s water celebrated with new fountain, free counselling group starts

A new work of public art is on display in Hope and it’s packing a powerful message of inclusion, empathy and art as resistance to discrimination.

Walk a Mile in My Shoes, a triptych painted by students at the Two Rivers Education Centre together with the Hope Inclusion Project, is mounted in all its colourful glory on the walls of a TREC portable at 425 Park Street. The three-piece metal painting depicting a road leading into a sun peaking above the horizon and lighting up the sky with blue, purple, yellow and pink rays, was created by 12 TREC students last spring.

Michah Chernoff, Grade 11 student at TREC and participating artist, said the work is about breeding empathy and understanding for the troubles people are going through — especially for people of a different race or background.

“Displaying it and showing it, expressing it is really important because sometimes there’s language barriers so pictures might show more than language,” she said of the power of art in relaying this message of understanding.

“I do express my emotion most of all, how I’m feeling, things that are overall going on in my life — I use the brush and the paint and then I express it in that way,” she said.

Chernoff said her 11 fellow artists and students who took part in the project are also very creative with illustration, graffiti art, drawing and sketching. “There’s such a vast variety of different artists and art.”

Peter Bailey came with both a somber message of the racism — alive and well in Hope — and the way art can counteract this hate. It is the second public art work the Hope Inclusion Project has worked on, the first is a mural on the wall of Treehouse Health Foods on Wallace Street that wraps around into the alley behind —symbolizing how hate can linger in the shadows.

“Art is basically a symbol of resistance,” Bailey said. “It stands in opposition to hate, because beauty and love are conveyed in art and that is the opposition. It’s that symbol of resistance. ‘No we will not settle for racism, we won’t settle for hate.’”

Karen Nelson, superintendent at School District 78, said it takes a village to put together a project like this: along with the school district, the Hope Inclusion Project and Hope, District Arts Council, Free Rein Associates, Fraser Health, Yale First Nation, the Read Right Society, the Hope RCMP were involved.

Paying homage to Hope’s award-winning water

Now the runners, joggers, walkers and dogs of Hope will all be able to get a drink of water in Memorial Park, thanks to Hope Rotary’s latest project.

A fountain at the park, which was out of commission, has been replaced with a new fountain with a dog bowl and tap for bottle refills. The Rotary Club of Hope will be at Memorial Park this Saturday unveiling the fountain and holding a fundraiser for the Silver Creek playground.

“A couple of years ago Hope was awarded with the best drinking water in North America,” Rotary president Hondo Stroyan said. “So we wanted to honour that by installing a water fountain everybody could share.”

Adding a dog bowl, which fills automatically when anyone takes a sip from the main fountain, was an obvious choice for Stroyan as he knows how much the four-legged residents loved the water. He spoke of a dog, famous for its love for Hope H2O, whose owners would have to bring a few five-gallon bottles of water dog when on trips as nothing less would do.

“He would just look at it and walk away,”

The club will be at Memorial Park Saturday from 9:30 a.m. selling hot dogs, pop and chips, with every penny going to the playground project.

Making counselling accessible

Sunshine Valley counsellor Marion Baker is starting up a group therapy drop in for Hope residents.

Baker has been a registered therapeutic counsellor since 2010, her focus is on forgiveness and coming to the solution to anxiety and depression through the work of forgiveness and letting go of guilt. Baker said the group sessions, held the second and fourth Tuesday of the month from 6:15 to 9 p.m., are well-suited to this kind of work.

“When one person benefits from the group, the whole group benefits, because there’s so much relatability. People can look at it and go ‘oh yeah, I was feeling that too, oh I thought that too and now I can see it differently’. That’s the power of the group,” she said.

Baker asks those who want to attend the session to contact her at marionbaker@shaw.ca.


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