Organized by Zane Coppard and Maya-Roisin Slater
At the Remington Gallery
Words by Jadynn Wolff
Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside has been a point of convergence for many people who live on opposite ends of the spectrum. It is the central location point that can lead from anyone from business entrepreneur, students pursuing education, to the homeless and addicted with nowhere else to go. Some choose this area based on convenience and the promise of future development. For others, the choice has been made without option due to inadequately funded support programs. So it’s Downtown Eastside where they fall into the cracks of local industry. We carry on living our own daily routine and push past those fighting for existence with means much less than what we have available. It is a common misconception that because of our social and economic differences we should remain separate; but these are the reasons we should maintain our community.
This concept of community is overlooked, thus forgotten, as life runs away from us. It is this quality of life that concerns two young individuals from the Downtown Eastside (DTES) in particular. Zane Coppard and Maya-Roisin Slater both live and work in the area which grants them a unique and personal perspective on community and its current state. Their drive to give back to their local surroundings has been fuelled by the things they see in their neighbourhood. They want to contribute towards change in this particular corner of the city. After exploring their options within the area, they began to discuss the idea of an art show. An art show that would reflect back on the community calling together artists, DJ’s and local businesses to come together in support of a local charity.
It came so naturally to them that the charity they would choose to partner with would be the Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre. DEWC is in no means fighting alone for its cause to provide a better standard of life for those struggling but it is one of the less prominent support groups in Vancouver. Despite this, they still maintian a large resource of programs that help build a sense of confidence, stability and community in women and children of the DTES. It was this detail that both Coppard and Slater thought was a great fit for their cause. Coppard states, "We have lived in the area for several years now, and women have it the hardest of the street people down here, and it is not to say it is easy for anyone.”
With DEWC as their charity choice in mind, the concept of group art show at The Remington Gallery had been finalized. It consisted of local artists and friends and was called: Helping Hands - a name that was more than fitting. The two of them personally approached each business within the area. All of them within a ten-block radius of the Remington Gallery and DEWC. And they began to receive donations and the necessary resources needed as sponsorship from an array of businesses.
Maya-Roisin admits, “It’s hard to when your life gets busy and you’re trying to hustle when you’re working your regular nine to five thing, with your own creative thing on the side and you forget that I need to lend a helping hand sometimes but can’t always find the time and who just need the opportunity.”
Through Helping Hands, an opportunity provided by Zane Coppard and Maya-Roisin Slater, the total amount of $2,230 dollars was raised in aid of the Downtown Eastside Women’s Center. This could have not been achieved without the collective effort of the all artists, musicians, and businesses, and is an example of what we can accomplish together through art, community and music.