“Birds in Residence” is a collaborative project led by four established community-engaged artists:
Carmen Rosen and the Still Moon Arts Society are leaders in environmental and celebration arts in the Renfrew Ravine area of Vancouver, designing community engaged projects that link with scientific, environmental, and youth leadership groups. Carmen is a veteran organizer and has many artistic skills as a trained singer, a visual artist (including public art), fabric artist and stilt dancer. Her enthusiasm about all of these is generous and infectious. Still Moon Arts’ signature event, the Moon Festival (attended by up to 7000 and now in its 15th year) involves professional artists collaborating with local youth to create the 30 minute finale with a full band and fireworks; skills they learn include theatre, character, costume design and creation, dance, acrobatic stilt choreography, and shadow puppetry. This year the moon festival theme is “Migrations” featuring bird themed lantern installations and Bird Characters. Many of Still Moon’s other existing projects will take on the theme of Birds, including their Fine Arts and Performance day camp which has evolved into a collaboration with the Vancouver International Children’s Festival, providing training to youth who are hired as on-site roving performers. See more of Carmen’s work on her blog.
Paula Jardine has a long history of creating public celebrations and parades with large-scale puppets and stilt-walkers through Public Dreams events including Illuminares and Parade of the Lost Souls. Paula Jardine was the founding artistic director of Public Dreams in Vancouver, introducing community parades, big puppets, lanterns and small scale pyro-technics into community-based arts and celebration. She has produced community events and parades in Edmonton, Toronto, Vancouver and Victoria. Along with Alan Duncan and others, she organized the Vancouver Children’s Parade to celebrate the City’s 100th Birthday, the Public Dreams Illuminares event (a lantern event attended by thousands), and led the Trout Lake Restoration Project (which combined the insights of biologists, scientists, engineers, city planners, artists and the public to create a 20 year plan for the health of the lake). In Victoria, she has been part of representing wild salmon in local parades, winning silver in the Victoria Day Parade and First Prize in the Bucanneer Day Parade (for parading “upstream”!). In recent years, Paula has been Artist-in-Residence at two urban cemeteries where she facilitates hundreds of peoples’ desires to remember their dead with beauty and creativity. She is very excited about bringing people, artists, and birds together. See Paula’s work at PaulaJardine.com.
Cathy Stubington and Runaway Moon, near Enderby/Splatsin First Nation in the Interior of B.C., have been exploring Calendario, a cumulative research/artmaking project, encouraging a recognition of time that is based on the sequence of local seasonal events rather than calendar dates. Cathy is a puppet theatre artist who has created massive and elaborate community plays and events, and puppets of all sizes, including birds! Through her company, RUNAWAY MOON, Cathy has been initiating large-scale innovative spectacle in a cumulative process incorporating visual art and music into theatrical events, involving innumerable artists and residents in Enderby, Splatsin First Nation, and other towns in the Interior of BC. Her work has been nationally recognized for its success in collaborating across historical and cultural barriers here. Each project has been designed for and situated in a particular setting (by a river, in the woods, in a street, on a farm…), in such a way that reflects the form and content – principles we will apply to ”Birds! Birds! Birds!” Along with many other people, Cathy has been learning about the birds through the arts and dabbling in creating choral score from birdsong. See Cathy’s work at Runaway Moon.
Robi Smith is a mixed media and installation artist from Vancouver whose work explores the connections between people and coastal ecosystems. She is also a multi-year Artist-in-Residence with the City of Maple Ridge (2014-2019), where she connects community members with nature through nature sketching, mixed media collage, and an annual lantern installation celebrating the return of spawning salmon to the Alouette River. Other recent projects include working with the False Creek Watershed Society and residents of Vancouver’s Strathcona neighbourhood to create an art map of nature in their neighbourhood, as well as creating a large-scale mural for the new BC Children’s Hospital Teck Acute Care Centre. She is currently pursuing a Masters of Education in Arts for Social Change at Simon Fraser University. See Robi’s work at robismith.com.