Sunday, June 22 is the date for the Valley’s “Go Smart Day”, a street festival that provides opportunities for people to literally play in the streets. Segments of select streets are closed to vehicular traffic from noon to 4pm so that other ‘people uses’ may take place in the streets of downtown Courtenay. (Scroll to the bottom of this page to view the poster.)
Imagine Comox Valley is hosting the event in partnership with a number of community partners and invites all citizens of all ages to enjoy a fresh perspective in Downtown Courtenay! Experience something new by participating in the Road Runner’s Fun Run or the open criterium, by helping your kids decorate their bikes, creating street art, listening to live music, enjoying a street café meal or a Community Garden potluck, or riding the One Thirty Three/Jump Camp skate park.
The event will be held on 4th, 5th and 6th Streets as well as the cross streets of Duncan Avenue, England Avenue and the portion of Fitzgerald Avenue between 4th and 6th street. See map inset. Portions of the route will provide opportunities for the races, shown as ‘fast zone’ on the map.
Such festivals are organized all over the world as a way to bring communities together in the roads and streets of our cities, towns and villages. The absence of traffic can make the streets a pleasant place to congregate, as they are quieter and there is less air pollution than on a typical day. The recently held popular Elevate the Arts festival in downtown Courtenay showed just how lively and enjoyable our streets can be!
An event like Go Smart Day requires community support and engagement, and the organisers welcome feedback and ideas. If you want to be a part of the event, you can get involved by signing up to be a sponsor, vendor or volunteer, entertainment or activity provider all of which can be done by sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Many thanks to our sponsors
This may all sound familiar because it is! This year Imagine Comox Valley is once again spear heading a celebration of one of our most common yet underutilized (or mono-utilized) public assets - our streets! Previous years this was called Car Free Sunday. This year we’re aiming to use some more inclusive language in a hope to grow the movement even more!
Please join us in downtown Courtenay on Sunday June 22, noon - 4pm for Go Smart Day! (see map for the route)
We are looking for participants of all types! Please share this with your networks and consider supporting this creative, engaging, status-quo challenging event in any or all of the following ways:
2. Host an activity. Be an attraction organizer, entertainment provider or host health and fitness, arts or culture activities! We have lots of space on the loop (see map attached) for organized and spontaneous activity. A hall mark of this event is that it is not overly scripted or organized so we welcome whatever you might have to bring to the day that day. That being said some heads up on what we organizers can expect is also appreciated as some races and other scheduled events will occur. (and if you have an activity that our insurance might not cover, it’s good to check with us! E.g. No booze and no bleachers please). So please let me know if you do plan to hold an activity by contacting me by email: email@example.com
or phone: 250 898 9045
The first two Car Free Sundays inspired live music, chalk art, tango in the streets, card games, stilt walkers, community booths, skateboard demos, garage sales, store specials, roller derby demos, restaurant deals and many other initiatives. We’re very excited to see what the people come up with this year for Go Smart Day!
3. Be a sponsor, vendor or volunteer! Volunteers will be asked to ‘host’ a blocked off intersection to remind traffic of the diversion. The shifts are only 2h and are in groups of two to allow you to also participate in the festivities and to share it with a friend. Intersection volunteers are encouraged to ‘activate’ their space with games, music, dance or whatever works for you. An orientation will be provided in advance of the event. To volunteer contact David Frisch at firstname.lastname@example.org
. To learn more on how to help sponsor the event please contact Monique Robertson at email@example.com
4. Just come out on the day of the event with friends and family! We’d love to show the whole community how vibrant and alive our asphalt can be when we all use the space creatively!
Looking forward to working with you on Go Smart Day 2014! Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or ideas!
Many thanks to our sponsors
Youth Media Project – Call for Applications
MAKE VIDEOS & GET PAID!
Youth Media Project is a program for community action through media involving 9 participants between the ages of 16 – 30. For 12 weeks youth work as a team to create videos expressing their visions for change in the Comox Valley, and are connected with job placements in the Valley. The project welcomes all youth, including immigrant youth, Aboriginal youth, street-involved youth and others who face barriers to employment.
TO APPLY YOU MUST BE:
- Interested in art & video
- Between the ages of 16 and 30
- Not attending school full-time
- Legally entitled to work in Canada
- Not on EI
- Experiencing barriers to employment
- Full-time minimum wage employment (9 weeks in-class + 3 weeks job placement)
- Experience in video production, graphic design & web development
- Consultations in career development
Apply Now – Applications accepted up to February 28, 2014
Info Session: Thursday, February 27 @ 5:30pm @ Comox Valley Art Gallery (snacks provided)
- A letter of application describing your reasons for applying, your work and school experience and how this
- project is important to your future
- Suggested: support material such as a resume, art work (photographs, writing, videos, etc.)
Email your application to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Or drop off your application to: COMOX VALLEY ART GALLERY, 580 Duncan Ave., Courtenay, BC, V9N 2M7
Questions? Call 250-338-6211. Space is limited – apply today
PROGRAM BEGINS: March 10, 2014 – This is a full-time 12-week program, Monday to Friday, 9:00am-3:30pm.
This project is funded by the Government of Canada & BC Creative Communities
Partners: Wachiay Friendship Centre, Creative Employment Access Society, Imagine Comox Valley, Lake Trail Neighbourhood Connections.
On Thursday, May 23rd Imagine Comox Valley once again organised and presented a TEDx event.
(TEDx = an independently organised TED event.)
You can view some images from the event here, or alternatively you can visit the event page on Facebook.com and see some comments and feedback there. Thanks to the steady hand and skilled eye of Blue Bamboo Productions you can also view a video clip of each of the talks in this Youtube Playlist. Or you can view them below…
The organisers wish to extend their heartfelt thanks to Michael Fountain and Dan Peruzzo of Blue Bamboo Productions, and highly recommend them to anyone looking for videography services.
The folks behind Imagine Comox Valley and the latest TEDx Comox Valley event would like to extend their gratitude to every member of our community that attended our event focusing on revealing hidden local talents. We gathered close to $450 in donations and exposed a crowd of more than 60 people to some ideas that were well worth spreading.
The organisers ask that anyone who attended the event please consider giving us some feedback by completing a short survey.
Two years ago world renowned leader in livable communities, Gil Peñalosa, was invited by the Comox Valley Cycling Task Force and the Comox Valley Cycling Coalition to imagine how the Comox Valley could become a truly ‘people-friendly’ community. Mr Peñalosa met with local community leaders and presented to a packed Native Sons hall on examples of how communities designed for people can function differently from communities designed for cars.
Citing research and tangible examples, Peñalosa explained how communities built around the automobile discourage active forms of transportation, contribute to the trend in North American obesity and other negative public health outcomes, create unsafe spaces for people, including vulnerable users such as children and seniors, create sprawling land use patterns and associated expensive infrastructure, as well as exercise a heavy toll on the environment.
Imagine Comox Valley was inspired by the tangible examples of the creative use of public space and initiated the Valley’s first and second Car Free Sundays as one of the identified “easy actions” recommended out of Peñalosa’s visit.
“In most communities, roads are our most expansive and expensive public space,” says Andrew Gower, board director of Imagine Comox Valley. “Imagine Comox Valley (ICV) saw an opportunity to host a Car Free Sunday as a tried and true event to raise awareness about our collective vision for these spaces and to physically bring people together. It was a lot of fun, we literally had people dancing in the streets!”
Car Free Sundays were held in both Courtenay and Cumberland in the fall of 2011 and again in the spring of 2012. The events inspired live music, chalk art, tango in the streets, stilt walkers, community booths, skateboard demos, garage sales, store specials, roller derby demos, restaurant deals and many other initiatives. While ICV spearheaded the event by organizing the road closure permit process, the event was community-driven and was successful due to the participation of numerous businesses, sports groups, artists and musicians, community animators and organizations.
“We had our share of controversy over the event,” acknowledges Gower. “We know that some residents felt it inconvenient that certain roads had restricted car use, but overall the feedback over the event was quite positive. And the road closures were limited to half a day. I’d say we were successful in raising awareness about a community service that is easy to take for granted.”
Despite this success, ICV will not be hosting a Car Free Sunday event for 2013. Instead, the group is using the Elevate the Arts event in downtown Courtenay to provide examples of creative uses of public space such as a temporary installation of a half pipe and a number of temporary ‘parking stall’ parks. ICV will also be providing an opportunity through the ‘Start Here’ community engagement arts project for residents to describe how their public spaces could be ‘enlivened’ to contribute to their quality of life.
‘Start Here’ is a community engagement project developed by CVAG in partnership with Imagine Comox Valley, the North Island College Fine Art Department, Highland Secondary, Elevate the Arts and a number of community animators. The highly interactive display will be housed at CVAG and uses a range of media to explore individual and group perceptions of the Valley. ICV will be contributing ‘Be Heard - Masked or Unmasked’, a videography opportunity that enables people to tell their stories. Participants are invited to sit in a tent where they have the option to wear a mask, and tell their story and vision for the Comox Valley to the video screen. Similar to a ‘speakers corner’, the installation provides a seemingly intimate space where imagination can let loose and visions are held. The ‘data’ from the entire ‘Start Here’ event will be used by ICV to create a multi-media presentation of a co-created vision that may be available at CVAG and other venues in the future.
“ICV saw a tremendous opportunity to harness the creative ideas from the community through the Start Here project,” says Pieter Vorster, board director of ICV. “Our organization’s mission is to help people re-imagine the Comox Valley as a truly sustainable place, for everyone. In order to help do that, we have to have a baseline ‘snapshot’ of what people care about in their community and what they think about on the day to day. Start Here will provide data for that snapshot.”
ICV intends to host a Car Free Sunday event in 2014 and will showcase the information that was collected during this year’s Elevate the Arts and ‘Start Here’ project.
Over eight weeks a team of Comox Valley Youth were immersed in learning digital media-making and employability skills at the Comox Valley Art Gallery, resulting in nine original videos which dare to imagine a bold and original future for the Comox Valley. Issues as diverse as sustainability, accessibility, street art and play were examined - and no video screening would be complete without Zombies!
The Youth Media Project (YMP), sponsored by the Comox Valley Art Gallery through the Government of Canada’s Skills Link Program provided a range of new skills training for nine youth who faced barriers to employment. This pilot project began January 28, 2013 and ended March 22, 2013. It assisted youth in developing life and employability skills through group-based learning. The YMP featured workshops with guest media-makers as well as from the project partners: The Wachiay Friendship Center, Imagine Comox Valley and the Creative Employment Access Society.
Throughout the project youth received training in digital video production, graphic design and animation through the Comox Valley Art Gallery’s media lab, and engaged with key community leaders in discussions surrounding social justice, cultural heritage and community participation. The participants then created group-based video projects that express unique visions of change within the Comox Valley. Alongside the video, participants developed an employment action-plan and resume/portfolio. By completing the program activities youth reportedly experienced reduced barriers to employment and increased ability to enter and participate in the labour market.
Imagine Comox Valley was delighted to play a role in this process and was deeply impressed with the quality of the productions and the social comments they made. Have a look at the links below to view the videos here on our website:
- PUSH TO OPEN by Alex Carey
- BAGWATLA by Colin Beans
- IT’S NOT JUST A TREND by Charlotte Conley
- NEW VILLAGE GALLERY by Carrie Poborsa-Cox
- WALKING THE VISION by Chantal Solomon
- CENTRE. ENTER. by Erich Magdzik
- FINDING THE POTENTIAL WITHIN by Hadley Zaborniak
- ZOMBIE WALK by Shane Colclough
- OASIS by Tim Tran
Alternatively you can show the Comox Valley Art Gallery some online love by viewing the entire playlist of videos on their Youtube Channel.
An informative look into the accessibility issues of downtown Courtenay businesses. Created during the CV Art Gallery’s Youth Media Project, Spring 2013.
A short film about creating awareness of local non-profit organizations like the Wachiay Friendship Centre. Created during the CV Art Gallery’s Youth Media Project, Spring 2013.