Local Art Project Launches: The “Power of Portrait – We are all in this together, Vancouver”

The “Power of Portrait – We are all in this together, Vancouver”

Local art project launches to connect community and beautify boarded-up streets

The “Power of Portrait – We are all in this together, Vancouver” is a citizen-led initiative to reclaim boarded-up storefronts as canvases to share stories of resilience and reinforce community connection, through portraits of Vancouverites. The project was initiated by Andrea McLaren, a local clinical counsellor who was concerned about the psychological impact of social distancing and of the boarded-up businesses in our community during this time. She brought on Jai Djwa, a digital media artist, to help with the idea and build the website.

The Power of Portrait project will curate a series of photo portraits submitted by Vancouverites, based on project guidelines. The photos will be shared on the project’s Facebook page and website. In addition, up to 50 portraits will be selected to be printed in black and white and displayed in a location on Robson Street. The final installation, showing the displayed portraits, will also be shared through the project’s website and Facebook page.

McLaren and Djwa wanted to create something that might capture the hearts and minds of people who are socially distancing, to inspire togetherness, despite being apart. “These portraits will allow us to see each other in new ways and remind us of our common humanity as we all navigate the new normal of social distancing and self-isolation,” says McLaren.

The selection process will be conducted by a committee of local artists and business owners to ensure the photos meet project guidelines and are representative of the wonderful diversity that makes Vancouver such a great city.

As this is a community art project, residents of Greater Vancouver are encouraged to submit either a self-portrait or a photo of a fellow self-isolator within their household to powerofportrait.com. Professional photographs are not required. As social distancing is critical at this time, participants are encouraged to take photos inside their homes and not out in the community. All ages are welcome to submit their portrait.

“We are pleased to support an art project of this kind that celebrates our amazing city,” said Teri Smith, Executive Director of the Robson Street Business Association. “The initiative also provides a unique way for us to stay connected to one another during these challenging times.”

McLaren’s goal with the project is for the portraits to provide a reminder of our collective experience living in the era of COVID-19 in Vancouver, as well as help inject life and soul back into Vancouver’s quiet neighbourhood streets.

McLaren and Djwa would like to acknowledge the artist JR and his Inside Out Project, which drew them to think about how art can bring people together.

Deadline for photo submissions is slated for April 15, 2020.

For more information, including guidelines, please visit powerofportrait.com.

Media release provided by Serena PR.

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