At Boyle Street Community Services, we cherish the gifts of our community and our belief that giving and receiving enriches us all. This is not just our belief; it is our living practice, deeply rooted in our organizational values. (We encourage you to explore these values at www.boylestreet.org/values to learn more about the principles that guide our organization). One of the best examples of how giving and receiving enriches us all is art.
Many of our community members express their life experiences through art, sharing their gifts and expressing a different narrative than ones you often hear - one that reflects what we know to be true about those that access our services. Art contributes to a sense of belonging, and it can facilitate the process of healing that is crucial to supporting individuals to break the cycle of poverty and homelessness.
And art at Boyle Street is more than decoration; it's a narrative of human stories and voices at their most vulnerable. It’s a reflection of our city, where each person, regardless of their circumstances, is more than a label. Our goal is to not only provide a platform for these stories but also to challenge societal narratives that miss the richness of individual experiences.
One way we provide a platform for the incredible art of our community members is through their paintings - all the paintings we use in our thank you cards come from the people we serve.
For the past three years, our Development team has worked directly with programs, services and community members themselves to commission and purchase paintings and drawings at fair market value. This helps to remind our community members of the talents they have to offer, and that they deserve to be recognized for the impact of their stories, their art, and their gifts.
Integrating our community members' art into our operations does more than just reinforce mutual support; it builds stronger relationships with our supporters, fostering a community bound by appreciation and respect. Each art piece is accompanied by an artist bio and description that the individual writes themselves, giving them back the autonomy to tell their story in a way that is dignified for them.
If you're looking to experience this remarkable fusion of art and community spirit, join us at our Artist Market in Epcor Tower on December 5th from 11-2 PM. It’s a perfect opportunity to support local talents and find meaningful, authentic gifts like beadwork, dreamcatchers, ribbon skirts, and paintings. When you attend our Artist Market, it communicates to our community members that they are worthy and helps to build their confidence. Our collaborative efforts, especially during the holiday season, embody our commitment to a thriving, inclusive community.
Hosted by our partners at Qualico Properties, each Artist Market shows what we can achieve together. We are grateful for their partnership and support of those we serve, and proud to work together toward a flourishing community – a community without chronic homelessness, a community where material needs are met, and a community overflowing with beautiful, authentic art.
As we enter this holiday season, let’s remind ourselves of the impact of every act of kindness, and every story shared, and how every act, no matter how big or small, contributes to the Edmonton community that we all know is possible.
Art expresses human stories at their purest and provides an essential opportunity for healing not only alone, but together as a community. We hope the art of our community members inspires themselves and others to recognize their own potential and to see the value in every individual, regardless of their circumstances.
We are all part of the same community, a community we want to be inclusive and supportive for everybody. Art is one of the ways we are reminded of the connections we share.