The Art of Hospitality: 3rd Downtown Eastside Artfare Institute

Vancouver Moving Theatre and Jumblies Theatre in partnership with Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden present

The Art of Hospitality: 3rd Downtown Eastside Artfare Institute

A volunteer work-learn opportunity and mini-practicum in art that engages with and celebrates community

        Photo: MABELLEarts Midwinter Parade 2013, by Katherine Fleitas

This workshop will explore artful hospitality and develop skills in art making that is welcoming, inclusive and able to bring people together across differences, facilitated by some of Canada’s leading community artists, including Ruth Howard (Jumblies Theatre, Toronto), Savannah Walling (Vancouver Moving Theatre) and Leah Houston (MABELLEarts, Toronto). Introductory sessions, a mini-practicum with an active community arts project, hands-on activities, discussions, take-home resources, and a culminating event that weaves together feasting, conversation, storytelling, music and cultural sharing from Coast Salish, Chinese, and Ukrainian traditions. DATES:  April 7-15, 2013 April 7, 8, 9 – 10:30-12:30 pm - Group sessions; 1:30-4:30 pm - Work according to individual plans April 11, 12 – 10:30-4:30 pm - Work according to individual plans April 12 – 1:30-4:30 pm- Work according to individual plans; 6:30-10:00 pm – Rehearsal April 13 – 10:30-6:00 pm - Final Preparation, Performative Feast, Wrap-up April 15 – 10:30-12:30 pm – Closing reflections and evaluation WHO’S IT FOR?
  • People interested in and/or with experience in art that engages community;
  • People with flexibility and reliability who enjoy working creatively with diverse people;
  • People with arts-related background (experience  &/or training) to contribute to the creation of our performative feast (e.g. visual arts, design, music, performance, calligraphy, culinary arts);
  • People who can apply what they learn and share it with others through their work.
  • Participate fully from April 7-15 (days off April 10 & 14), including core group sessions, individually-tailored work plans and schedules, final rehearsals, culminating performative feast and closing gathering;
  • contribute in a spirit of collaboration, cooperation, and respect for community needs;
  • notify project coordinator in advance of any scheduling conflicts and changes and to work out a solution.
  • Deepen your community arts skills and experience;
  • Meet and network with like-minded creative people locally and from across the country;
  • Be part of an ambitious and innovative multi-year Vancouver project with Toronto partners;
  • Jumblies’ training workshops are recognized nationally as credentials by arts employers and academic institutions;
  • It will be lots of fun!
LOCATIONS: Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden (578 Carrall St.) and Ukrainian Hall (805 E. Pender St.). FEE: There is no cost involved.  This is a work-learn volunteer experience and exchange. MEALS: A community feast on April 13; coffee/tea; otherwise bring your own. CERTIFICATION:  Those completing the intensive will receive a certificate form Vancouver Moving Theatre and Jumblies Theatre APPLICATION PROCESS: Limited to eight participants, selected partly based on experience and potential to benefit, with a view to creating a compatible and diverse group, including Downtown Eastside community members. Click here to download an application (Word doc) or email Leah Houston at to request a form. Application Deadline March 20, 2013, midnight. Email completed application to both and See details in application form about mailing the application. Applications arriving by March 20 will be assessed and space confirmed by March 28.  Late applications will be processed only if there is space. Please visit and for information about our other activities.

Reflections on a Cross-country Collaboration in Community Arts Training

Originally published in Vol. 7.3 (March 2010) Download a PDF version of this article  By Savannah Walling and Ruth Howard In November 2009, Vancouver Moving Theatre and Toronto’s Jumblies Theatre joined hands across Canada to present the Downtown Eastside Arts4All Institute—six days of learning, idea-sharing, films, panels, art-making, mutual support, and inspiration. Produced for the first time in western Canada, and specially tailored for the Downtown Eastside community, the institute provided an in-depth introduction to principles and practices of art that engage with and build community. Host director Savannah Walling and lead artist and facilitator Ruth Howard joined forces to adapt an intensive course developed by Jumblies in Toronto over the past three years as part of the Jumblies Studio. The name 4All springs from a close relationship between this initiative and Jumblies Offshoot project, Arts4All, at Davenport Perth Neighbourhood Centre. Joining Savannah and Ruth as facilitators were Canadian community play movers Terry Hunter (VMT), Varrick Grimes (Toronto/Newfoundland ), Keith McNair (Jumblies), Cathy Stubington (Runaway Moon Theatre, BC), and Lina de Guevera (Puente Theatre, BC). Panels on forming community partnerships and making room for diversity reflected a spectrum of community-engaged arts as practiced by Judy Marcuse (ICASC), Rosemary Georgeson (urban ink), Bruce Ray (gallery gachet), jil p. weaving (Vancouver Parks Board), and others. Coordinator Susan Gordon organized nourishing lunches. Community partners included Carnegie Community Centre, Community Arts Council of Vancouver, DTES Heart of the City Festival, UBC’s Humanities 101, Ukrainian Hall, and Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation. Reflecting most community art projects, the twenty-one participants represented a diversity of backgrounds, skills, interests, and purposes. Most were local, but some arrived from other neighbourhoods, from Victoria, from Kamloops. All shared an interest in gaining skills and in processes that engage with community. Participants included veterans in the field wanting to revisit basics, challenge skill-set weaknesses, learn from and share with peers; professional and emerging artists wanting to engage more effectively with communities and learn how this differs from mainstream arts presentations; and others who’ve participated in a variety of arts-related community activities wanting to learn how to go about becoming professionals in the field. Some wanted to put Downtown Eastside-created projects onto the road to share with friends and relatives, to shed light on realities of city life, and to inspire other communities to put on their own plays. Most had big or small projects in mind and were ready for tips and tools on project start-ups; on facilitation, communication, conflict-resolution, delegation; on preparing (and maintaining) budgets, business plans, and funding proposals; on forming partnerships; on assembling collaborative creative relationships; and on documentation, evaluation, and legacies. Big questions were addressed. What do artists need to know to work successfully with community members on arts projects? How do we create projects accessible to diverse levels of experience, age, cultural and social backgrounds, and openness? How do we ensure that community-engaged artists focus on a community’s real issues and understand that when we risk opening up old wounds with tough themes, we must ensure that these communities and individuals will be okay after we leave? The energy and enthusiasm during the institute were contagious. Collaborations were great fun. Participants appreciated the diversity and willingness of people to be themselves, the respect and humour displayed throughout, and the shared wealth of resources and breadth of life and artistic experience. Everyone learned.   BIOS Savannah Walling is Artistic Director of Vancouver Moving Theatre, and interdisciplinary company producing community-engaged art and the DTES Heart of the City Festival. Ruth Howard is a theatre designer and creator and founding Artisitic Director of Jumblies Theatre, a company that makes art with, for, and about people and places of Toronto. Contact: