Unique art forum will push boundaries

A unique three-day interdisciplinary forum dubbed But Enough Art, Eat! will include readings, workshops, cooking demonstrations, carving demonstrations, music and more at the Comox Valley Art Gallery starting March 31.

The event is facilitated by Grant Shilling, a writer, artist and outreach worker, in conjunction with the Dawn to Dawn Action on Homelessness Society. It is designed to explore issues related to home, homelessness, contemporary art practice, graffiti, food production, and the role of art galleries.

"It's pushing boundaries," said Shilling, noting CVAG's initiative for outreach and education. "It started from sort of a subversive idea: What's the role of the art gallery? Let's put a soup kitchen in the art gallery."

He has arranged three chefs who, each night, will serve food and give a cooking demonstration. The only appliances used will be hot plates and microwaves "to reflect some of the limitations" of Dawn to Dawn clients.

Daytime workshops are geared towards the homeless while public activities are scheduled each evening.

The first evening features a reading and talk by award-winning author Amber Dawn at 7 p.m. Monday in the CVAG contemporary gallery. Dawn’s memoir, How Poetry Saved My Life: a Hustler’s Memoir, won the 2013 City of Vancouver Book award. She teaches speculative fiction at Douglas College. The evening will also feature a cello performance by Shilo Gottried.

Dawn will also teach a daytime writing workshop "to help get their stories out and to realize their stories are important and worth sharing," Shilling said.

On Tuesday, First Nation carver Randy Frank will give a carving demonstration and talk at 7 p.m. Frank, a Dawn to Dawn client whose ancestors are from Comox and Sechelt, is renowned for his carvings of masks, sculptures, totems and traditional cedar canoes.

Wednesday at 7 p.m., Shilling will join another local writer, Matt Rader, downstairs at the CVAG studio for Maple Pool United, a discussion that will explore questions and issues surrounding homelessness. Maple Pool United is the name of Courtenay’s homeless street soccer team.

A photo exhibit by photographer Ron Pogue is on display at the gallery until April 12.

The event will also feature workshops related to food, art, writing and other subjects, geared toward the homeless community.

April Dawn Brass will teach a drawing workshop each day from 3 to 5 p.m.

But Enough Art, Eat! will conclude with music by DJ J-Prime at 8 p.m. Wednesday.

For more information, contact Shilling at outreach@dawntodawn.org.

For gallery details, visit www.comoxvalleyartgallery.com.

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