Summer School will turn a Vancouver-based Artist-Run-Centre (Project Space) into a free pop-up school for one week. Classes will be taught by Erin Jane Nelson and Ming Lin and several local guest teachers and will cover a wide range of topics such as:
Sustainable Dye Techniques
Homemade Looms and Back-Strap Weaving
Making Chapbooks out of Anything
Mushroom Spore-Printing and Edible Mushroom Identification
Creative Analysis and Redesign of Local Flora
In addition to the school component, Nelson and Lin will also be mounting an exhibition of the works of art and design created by students + teachers of Summer School which will be on view in Project Space for the entire month of August. We will also host public artist talks and openings. Finally, Project Space will be publishing an accompanying book, Lesson Book, which will feature instructions from all of the classes, curatorial essays, images of the projects, and other surprise material. So, if you don’t live in Vancouver, you can still learn from Summer School.
Born out of our experience working in the art-hub of New York City, we would like to challenge notions of what constitutes an artists “work” and shift the focus from producer of luxury goods, to an identity rooted in research, curiosity and creative problem-solving. As such, Summer School promotes a vision of art as an emancipatory tool with which one can take charge of his or her everyday experiences. In the spirit of Dada, and other avant-garde artist groups, the aim is to initiate experiences that challenge the routines established by the dominant social discourse through the use of banal and accessible materials. The artist, then, is seen as a teacher and facilitator of these alternative events.
As this project emphasizes the latent potential of everyday activities and materials to produce new and potent art forms, it also aims to engage members who don’t necessarily consider themselves as being part of the arts community. By using familiar and accessible materials and concepts, Summer School will encourage the participation of both the long-time and the new residents of Strathcona and Chinatown neighborhood. Since these are considered “transitional” neighborhoods, we feel that new art initiatives in the area should not only target young, culturally savvy attendees to migrate in, but also extend a welcome to the long-standing residents and encourage cultural diversity. By creating a project that is contingent on public participation, we are promoting the mingling of Vancouver’s arts community with the more established communities in the area, thus allowing both parties to benefit from the exchange of dialogue and ideas.