Student artists raise funds for health aid
Hundreds of guests attended the Vancouver General Hospital and University of British Columbia Hospital Foundation’s signature fundraiser this past weekend and cheered for some exceptionally talented young artists who are working to support mental health.
Organized by the foundation’s Youth Leadership Team, the inaugural The Life of Art: Young Artist Exhibition — For a Better World showcased works from 15 student artists between ages 9 and 18.
When Tony Wang, curator of the exhibition and founding chair of the Youth Leadership Team, first took a ceramics class four years ago at St. George’s School, he didn’t’ know that one day his hobby would become a way for him to give back to the community.
“I love ceramics, for there’re so many uncertain elements that can affect the outcome of the work. I call them ‘elements of surprise.’ This kind of uncertainty always intrigues me,” said the 17-year-old. “But as I grow older, the desire of using my talent to contribute to something bigger always strikes me. That’s also what made me want to organize this fundraiser.”
A young Chinese Canadian, Wang said his exposure to both societies opened up his horizons and gave him a chance to absorb the essence of each culture. He admitted that there might be a certain disconnect between the newly landed Chinese Canadians and the mainstream society. But he is hopeful serving as a bridge between the two communities.
“I hope my endeavor can somehow set an example to both my peers and kids who are younger than me, which is no matter what our backgrounds are, we are all essentially part of the society. And the responsibility to make it a better community falls on each of us,” Wang said.
Among guests at the opening ceremony was Shengtian Zheng, adjunct director at Vancouver Art Gallery’s Institute of Asian Art, who boosted the youngsters’ spirits.
“Arts make us young and humane. It is very encouraging to see so many promising young talents,” Zheng said.
Other guests included Richard T. Lee, deputy speaker of Burnaby North; Qingxiang Guo, chief curator of Wanda Group’s Art Collection Department; and Adrienne Davidson, director of advancement at St. George’s School. Tom Matthews, headmaster of St. George’s, sent video greetings to the event.
The two-day event raised $27,015, almost double the goal of $15,000.
All the proceeds go to support VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation’s the Art Studios, a therapeutic art program for people struggling with mental health problems or mental illnesses and addictions.
“We’re very grateful to all the members of the Youth Leadership Team and the supporters who’ve made this [event] happen,” said Barbara Grantham, president and CEO of VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation.
“It is very fitting that this group of young people are using their art and expression to help other people who also see art as a pathway to find a good life,” she said.
Wang expressed his gratitude to all the supporters and said he is positive that the fundraiser will come back in the coming year.
“There are many successful and accomplished Chinese Canadians in our community, and I am sure they would be willing to contribute to the city for a great cause,” Wang said.
“I think all of us have a desire for this community to be a good place to live, and everyone has an opportunity to give back to the community in terms of our time, talent and our treasure, no matter which ethnic group you come from,” Grantham said.
I love ceramics, for there’re so many uncertain elements that can affect the outcome of the work.”
From left: Mexico’s President Enrique Pena Nieto, Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and US President Barack Obama shake hands while posing for a family photo at the North American Leaders’ Summit in Ottawa, Ontario on Wednesday. Canada, the US and Mexico vowed to deepen their economic ties, pushing back against anti-free-trade sentiment that has shifted political debate in the United States and Europe. The three nations are members of the North American Free Trade Agreement. Obama, Trudeau and Nieto said an efficient North American economy was vital for creating goodpaying, middle-class jobs.