COMMUNITY-BASED ART PROJECTS
THE ECO ART INCUBATOR
The Eco-Art Incubator is a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) funded initiative at the University of British Columbia, Okanagan campus. Nancy Holmes, Associate Professor, Creative Writing, and Denise Kenney, Associate Professor, Interdisciplinary Performance, in the Department of Creative Studies at the University of British Columbia created the Incubator as an umbrella under which we both create and support a variety of community-based art projects. From 2012 - 2017 we supported over 40 place-based, eco art projects in the Okanagan, British Columbia and in Cyprus.
BORDER FREE BEES
From 2016 - 2019, under the auspices of a SSHRC Partnership Development grant, Nancy Holmes (UBC Okanagan) and Cameron Cartiere (Emily Carr University of Art + Design) have been harnessing the wonder-inducing properties of art, citizen science and community engagement to educate the general public about the plight of wild pollinators. Many community volunteers and non-profits, municipal and business partners and conservation, science and art supporters contributed significantly to a surprising surge of activity, enthusiasm, and creativity throughout British Columbia, Idaho and Pachuca Mexico. Border Free Bees has won multiple awards including the North American Pollinator Protection Campaign (NAPPC)'s 2017 Pollinator Advocate Award for Canada.
THE WOODHAVEN ECO ART PROJECT
From April 17 to November 6, 2010, over 100 local artists and students, including musicians, performers, writers, sculptors and other visual artists created multiple works of art in Woodhaven Nature Conservancy in Kelowna BC. The work was created in the park and in response to the park. The artwork left minimal impact on the natural environment, leaving nothing in the park and similarly removing nothing from the park. The lead artists and curators were Nancy Holmes, Associate Professor of Creative Writing at UBC Okanagan, and Lori Mairs, artist and then- resident caretaker of Woodhaven. The Woodhaven EcoArt Project was funded by the Hampton Fund at the University of British Columbia and was supported by the Regional District of the Central Okanagan.
Poetic and visually compelling, this 17 minute film created by Lori Mairs and Nancy Holmes is the Woodhaven Eco Art Project as seen through both bright and dark lenses and as witnessed by the natural world itself. Saved from developers in the 1970s, Woodhaven hovers in the liminal space between fragile wilderness and powerful urban pressures. In the film, the place is shown to be haunted by a darkness, as anxiety and worry press upon it, as darkness seeps through it, as chainsaws hover, and as animals huddle in trees overlooking the creeping presence of damaged and damaging human beings. But in an act of hope, a group of artists comes into the park. They celebrate creation and light rather than destruction and storm. They bring music and song, dancers and words. They weave offerings of steel and wool and braid bark and twigs. There is falling and swaying, marching and waiting, looking and talking. What comes out of this joyful invasion is an awareness that trouble still exists, damage and consumption still wreak havoc, but nature has the power to beguile and heal us and that we can tread lightly on the earth and live more wisely