Welcome / Home Art Exhibit – An exhibition in partnership with the Penticton Art Gallery
Download the Welcome / Home Art Book
Welcoming Communities is an initiative to develop our area as an inclusive community that welcomes and sustains new immigrants.
The South Okanagan has an active art community and we recognized this as an opportunity for our Welcoming Communities program. In partnership with the Penticton Art Gallery we put a call out to artists living in the South Okanagan, inviting them to meet with a recent immigrant to our community with the goal of creating a work of art in partnership with, or individually, that would document or express the immigrant experience.
The title “Welcome / Home” reflects the complicated relationship immigrants have between the place they have left behind and the community in which they are working to settle into and make their new home. The objective of the exercise was two fold: first to provide insight into the world each immigrant left behind and the world they are trying to embrace and second, to connect these immigrants with individuals in the community outside of their current circle of contact.
Foreign-born residents tally for almost 20% of the national population. Immigrants will account for 80% of B.C.’s population growth through 2036 (BC Statistics, 2011a) and already represent net growth in our labour market. Although the majority of immigration is to Canada’s larger cities, smaller centres are recognizing the positive impact, both from a social and economic perspective, that newcomer Canadians bring to an area.
Newcomer Canadians were matched with local artists. Through their encounter and interview, the artists created a rendering. The program was extremely successful with twenty-four art pieces on display at the Penticton Art Gallery from January 24th through March 16th 2014. Over 1000 guests visited the exhibit during the six weeks. We launched the display with a World Beats dance celebration with over 500 in attendance and over a thousand more visited the exhibit. There were also a number of non-measurable results of community awareness and within the new relationships that had been built.
To sustain the stories and beauty of the exhibit, the art was photographed, documented and catalogued in an Art Book, creating a deeper sense of connection between the art community and newcomer Canadians. 100 books have been published. Our story was also told by Shaw Cable for television and youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-fiN6NbC3M0
508 Main Street
Penticton, British Columbia
6239 Main Street
Oliver, British Columbia