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Art project explores issues of racism and diversity

The journey to community inclusion and awareness about racism could begin with a painter’s brush stroke.

People who have been marginalized, dealt with racism or diversity issues are invited to participate in an art project created by the Central Vancouver Island Multicultural Society.

“Art can be a very powerful tool for engagement,” said Samantha Letourneau, diversity coordinator for the multicultural society. “The art project provides the ability for the community to explore issues, to voice concerns and to express the culture of diversity that exists in their community and create solutions together.”

The Journey to Inclusion Project pairs nine visual artists with nine community members to work collaboratively to create art for an exhibition held at the Port Theatre March 21, 2013, which marks the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

Letourneau said the exhibit will focus on how the community can move from racism and discrimination to an exclusive society. There are three main themes explored: racism and discrimination, a community transitioning from racism to inclusion, and images of an inclusive society.

“We’re looking for the diversity that exists in our community,” she said.

The 18 participants will work collaboratively from October to March. Visual artists of various mediums interested in participating are asked to send digital samples of their work, a written commitment to working five hours per month until March with their community partner, evidence of their ability to work with diverse people and a curriculum vitae highlighting their professional experience as an artist.

The project also seeks community participants who are willing to share their experiences of how they have dealt with racism, identity or diversity issues. They aren’t required to have artistic experience but must be willing to make the same time commitment as artists.

To apply please go to www.cvims.org/diversity-program/embrace-bc/the-journey-to-inclusion-project or pick up application forms at the multicultural society, Nanaimo Women’s Resource Society, Haven Society, Nanaimo Association for Community Living, Vancouver Island Vocational Rehabilitation Services or the Tillicum Lelum Health Centre.

The application deadline is Oct. 15 at 4 p.m.

reporter3@nanaimobulletin.com

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