Stu­dent artists raise funds for health aid

China Daily (Canada) - - FRONT PAGE - By XUETING ZHAO in Van­cou­ver For China Daily

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.

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