Art as community care in so-called Vancouver

Emma Mendez (she/her/they/them) // Culture Editor
Chikako Ogawa // Illustrator

So-called Vancouver is known among many things, for its active arts and music scene — from indie music shows to locally organized gallery shows. However, there exists a gap in the arts scene of so-called Vancouver, one that Lucid Arts Club is helping to fill. Created in Spring 2021, Lucid Arts Club is a youth run art collective committed to, “celebrating the nuance and multiplicity of Queer existance by creating accessible events and media for QTBIPOC artists in so-called Vancouver and beyond.” 

Currently, the collective is moving away from being primarily virtual and is working on putting together in-person workshops and events. Lucid Arts Club is also currently co-creating a zine inspired by Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler. They also just finished their garden program which provided access to free gardening packages to remove barriers to connecting with the natural world. 

CapU student and one of the collective’s co-founders, Emma Jeffrey (they/she), co-created the collective with their friend Marty-Alice Branco (they/its), after having co-hosted workshops and events for youth in the past. With leftover grant money from a previous project, Jeffrey proposed the idea to Branco, and together they started primarily with virtual workshops and projects. 

Being an art collective for QTBIPOC youth, Jeffrey explained, “we just wanted to make a community space in the art world for people who don’t necessarily have the same access in Vancouver’s art scene.” Jeffrey continued that while in high school going to indie shows, they observed that the arts scene in so-called Vancouver “is a very white male dominated space.” Having seen and heard about BIPOC and femme people not feeling safe in those spaces, Branco and Jeffrey wanted to also create a space where QTBIPOC, femmes, etc. could feel safe to be in a community. 

Even though art can be personal and private, Jeffrey sees art as a form of community care. “I don’t think art happens in a vacuum. It’s meant to be shared — we are meant to get inspiration and learn from each other,” they shared, mentioning that this is at the core of Lucid Arts Club.

With people feeling disconnected, especially youth and (QT)BIPOC people in the city, caused in part by the pandemic, Jeffrey states the need for spaces like Lucid. “We need to make space to nurture our relations to each other. Community is really important for well-being, making space to connect, the process of facilitating these spaces for people is a form of community care.” 

Jeffrey also opened up about one of their own personal reasons for co-creating Lucid — the burn out that comes from organizing and working to create a better world. Noticing that in the activism spaces they have been in, people are exhausted and resistance takes its toll. They see it necessary to give energy back into the community and create spaces that will be regenerative as well as joyful. For their vision, Jeffrey said, “I just want to make space for Queer joy, Trans joy, BIPOC joy, Neurodivergent joy. I want to create spaces for people who may not have that same access to community.” Truly seeing art and facilitating spaces like Lucid Arts Club as fostering connection, joy, community and inspiration.

You can find them on Instagram at: @lucidartsclub

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