It has certainly been a jolly scene here at the Beach Metro News office over the past few weeks as drawings and paintings from young neighbourhood creators come through the door and fill our inboxes. Thank you to those who entered our holiday colouring contest – trust, if we could have given all of you prizes, we would have. You will find our winners here along with a gallery of all of the wonderful entries (we couldn’t resist sharing them all with you).
We were not sure what to expect when we launched the contest, but the enthusiastic response, from parents and children alike, is indicative of the artistic passion the Beach neighbourhood is known for.
I was touched last week several times thinking about the creative spirit of those who reside in the East End and the intergenerational connection that celebrating and fostering the arts allows.
The story of young Williamson Road student Evan, who at the ripe age of 11 is mounting his first show at Mercury Espresso Bar this month, is an inspiration – not only because of his drive to build upon his natural talent, but because of the family and friends around him who have nurtured and encouraged his interest in the arts. That encouragement trickles down from above, clearly, as the artist he most looks up to is his grandmother, who several years ago invited him to her painting class and sparked his interest in the medium.
That intergenerational importance was a thread when I spoke with Rob, one of the minds behind the area’s newest holiday panto, debuting at the Coxwell legion this week. For Rob and his wife Stephanie, the legion is a compelling venue because it crosses generational lines and helps bind grandfathers, and mothers, and daughters and sons together – much like the playful artistic form of panto, which acts as a holiday bridge to theatre.
I was also enlightened during a chat with local artist Stefan Berg, whose artistic practice links his roots in the Upper Beach with his nearly neighbour Glenn Gould, and who has delved in a very serious way into remixing Gould’s classic work in a way that is digestible for the current generation.
On the news front, our front page story on laneway housing touches on the potential for families to erect small homes on their properties, properties that could potentially house loved ones close to home (or provide rental income so families can afford to stay in their neighbourhood, perhaps close – but not so close – to their families).
In a year where the energy and discourse feels so divided, focusing on our connections and the artistic and familial beauty that might bring seems like a positive mindset to take into 2017. Beach Metro wishes you the happiest of new years and asks that you take a moment this season to look for and celebrate the links between those who came before you and those who will come after.