Starting this week, for three weeks, L’Arche art will be on display at the Zocalo Café on Fifth Street in Courtenay.
It is a show made by artists with and without developmental disabilities, who come together to do art projects and socialize at the L’Arche Outreach and Creative Arts Centre in Courtenay.
“Over the past few months we have really expanded our art projects”, says Claire Donovan, who works with the artists. “We have explored creating art on circular coloured card.
“We have experimented with wax crayons and acrylic washes. We have used dried leaves and flowers to make nature art. The group created a large banner together, with the theme Receive. They used their hands as the template for painting.
“The banner was used for a retreat in Nanaimo this summer. As well, preparing for a fall show gave artists an opportunity to focus on the themes of Halloween, Thanksgiving and autumn. I am always amazed at the variety of ideas and the individual and unique work that is created.”
The L’Arche Outreach and Creative Arts Centre has just moved into a new larger space at 1001B Fitzgerald Ave. so they can support those they welcome more comfortably. There is a reception area with a display of art and craft items for sale, as well as activity rooms for painting, beading and candle making.
“It is a great time to be showing our art at the Zocalo Café,” reports Christine Monier, the community leader. “At the end of October, our L’Arche community will be welcoming people from other L’Arche communities — Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, Lethbridge, Saskatoon and Winnipeg.
“Firstly we will be hosting a week of meetings for the regional leaders of these communities, then the Regional General Assembly on the weekend with 45 delegates. For the finale, there will be a mega celebration in recognition of our confirmed membership in L’Arche International to be held at the Native Sons Hall in Courtenay.”
L’Arche Comox Valley began as a probationary member of L’Arche in 2000 after a dedicated group of Valley locals, spearheaded by the late Lock Mawhinney and inspired by the social visionary Jean Vanier, opened Jubilee House, welcoming four people with developmental disabilities.
Assistants from across Canada and around the world come and live with them for a period of months or years. Four assistants live at Jubilee House, coming from Alberta, Ontario, Germany and India.
They come to learn about community life and as Jean Vanier, founder of L’Arche suggests, to become more human.
The first Outreach Centre was opened in 2007 and has expanded and moved three times since then.
L’Arche Comox Valley has more expansion plans. An architect has been hired to draw up plans for a purpose built Outreach and Creative Arts Centre with space for the whole community to gather for celebrations, potlucks and times of prayer. As well, the space will provide housing suitable for people with and without disabilities.
“We believe that there is a significant need in the Valley for a place where the gifts of people with developmental disabilities are able to be further developed, shared and showcased, and for the larger community to discover that this is a treasure and not a burden,” says Monier.
“This is clearly what makes L’Arche unique. It is more than a service provider for those in need of assistance, but rather it builds communities where all belong regardless of race, religion, social origin, intellectual abilities.
“If given the opportunity, we can all contribute to building a more human and compassionate society. If you would like to receive more information about L’Arche Comox Valley, please call 250-871-6288 or visit our website.”
— L’Arche Comox Valley