Car Free Day Vancouver: West End saw the WE Arts’ Youth Art Jam, the beginning of a new mural, “What a Ride” by Steve “The Creative Individual” Hornung, and the birth of WE Arts as a local arts community group for Vancouver’s glorious West End. King George students will design and paint stage two of the mural this fall semester as part of their art class, celebrating 100 years of King George Secondary.
The West End Youth Art Jam was made possible by a Neighbourhood Small Grant through the Vancouver Foundation and Gordon Neighbourhood House. “Our mission is to engage the youth in art events and projects in their own community and connect to artist mentors – youth of all ages creating art together,” said Chris Hyndman, project leader for the Art Jam. “The West End Youth Art Jam partnered with the West End BIA and WE Arts at Car Free Day to engage youth in the creation of art and music with their community.”
 “We had an art table for King George students, alumni, and West End community members to create their own original piece of art, to share what they love about their school and/or living in the West End,” said Satomi Hirano, co-facilitator of the Art Jam. “We also had a ‘Speakers’ Corner’, with featured performers and an open mic, which was very successful – an opportunity to be seen and heard, to sing a song, or tell a story. Everyone from very young children to the young at heart had a turn at the microphone.”
Elise Hirschi kicked off the Art Jam, performing songs by First Aid Kit, Canadian Indie-rocker Dan Mangan, Rilo Kiley, and the classic “Me & Bobby McGee” by Janis Joplin. Immediately following her performance, she was asked to perform at King George Secondary’s 100th Anniversary. Fellow Neighbourhood Smal Grant recipients, The Gordon Neighbourhood House Third Wednesday Sing-a-long Group, lead by Robert Turner, graced the Art Jam with Car Free-themed spins on popular songs. The Christine U Trio (Christine Unterthiner, Diane Brophy, and Lara Paul) were the finale act, and they had some impromptu guest backup singers join them for their rendition of “Happy” by Pharrell Williams.
“The West End Youth Art Jam was a resounding success,” said Hyndman. “The feedback from the neighbourhood was very encouraging, so now we’re looking at turning it into a regular event in our community.”
The Art Jam will continue over the summer with the Casting Call for “The KG100 Players”, a group of King George students and alumni who will gather over the summer months to put together a theatrical musical production, including writing a new school song for King George Secondary, as part of their Centennial Celebration in the fall. The King George High School 100th Anniversary Reunion (KG100) will be celebrating the past, present, and future of King George on October 3rd and 4th of this year, welcoming back students and staff and community members from across the decades.
The KG100 Committee was present on Car Free Day to give out information on the reunion and helped alumni to register and get involved. The committee has been meeting twice a month, led by 1955 grad Dr Gary Pennington, and is truly an example of inter-generational collaboration. Committee members include King George Alumnus Jackie Hooper, 87; current KG student council president, Maha Alfahim, 17; and grade 2 student at Lord Roberts Elementary, Nayana Hyndman, age 7, along with numerous early grads and current staff and students. Jackie and Maha have been working together on a creative writing project, and Nayana is putting together a student welcoming committee at her school to greet returning Lord Roberts alumni. Work on KG100 uniquely embodies the oft spoken but seldom realized notion of inter-generational relations.
KG Principal, Roger Wiebe, and his staff have been much involved in KG100 planning and are organizing many school events and the big main assembly to open the Centennial weekend.  Special rooms that demonstrate current school activities are being prepared by students and teachers and School Counsellor, Jess Coomes, has developed a “Living Archive” of school memorabilia and artifacts that is certain to be a hit with grads. In addition, there will be “Era Rooms” featuring photos, music, and memorabilia for the different periods when people attended their old school.  School dances will renew the old dance steps popular at different times across the generations.
Returning students are being invited to bring their instruments and jam specific genres or songs in a coffee house setting during the daytime of the reunion. Many local community groups, artists, and musicians will be conducting student workshops, including Canadian Jazz Pianist Miles Black. On Friday night, there will be a 40’s, 50’s, and 60’s themed dance for the alumni, and on Saturday night, there will be a 70’s – present themed dance for current students and alumni. The organizing committee’s goal for the dances is to intersperse the DJ’ing with a rotating set of live music acts, playing music of the respective eras. We’re putting a call out to West End musicians, especially KG alumni and students, to get involved and share their talents at this once in a lifetime event.
An umbrella project to the KG100 event is the West End Memories Project ( that has been underway for two years gathering stories and photos from youth and adults who grew up in the West End.  This unique project will result in a commemorative book and an ongoing heritage website where stories and photos from former, current and future WE youth can be lodged and preserved.  This project has the endorsement of many governmental and non-governmental agencies and will contribute significantly to the social history of Vancouver.
For more information:
WE Youth Art Jam is a WEArts initiative
WEArts is a community group dedicated to connecting our local community with arts –
Chris Hyndman – WE Youth Art Jam Project Leader (604) 697-0300
Satomi Hirano – WE Youth Art Jam Co-Facilitator (604) 696-0426
Pictures of the WE Youth Art Jam:

Start Your Application Today

Ready to bring your idea to life? Get started on your application today. You can always come back to your application later.

Apply Now