Mount Pleasant Community Fence project was conceived by Pat Beaton and Lycia Trouton and was produced by project team members Beaton, Haruko Okano, Merle Addison, and Charmian Bullen. The Mount Pleasant Community Fence built a picket fence around the Community Garden at Fraser and 8th, each one designed and carved by members of the community. The project consisted of workshops, an exhibition of the completed pickets, and the installation and opening of the fence. It was an early example of community-engaged practice in Vancouver and was lauded for both its process and its product.
The Fraser Street Community Gardens existed in one of the most economically disadvantaged communities outside the DTES. Because of the multicultural nature of the community, promotion for the workshops was published in six languages and there were translators on hand to aid in the process. The team managed to bring together a very diverse community in its realization and it became an important model for much of the work that developed later. Working with community groups, the Community Centre and Neighborhood House, they were able to reach deep inside the community. The project is still the biggest community engaged project grunt has attempted and put us inside communities that were definitely outside the arts community. Because it was the first (and only) permanent work, it raised many challenges in the process of working with City Hall. Artists Pat Beaton, Lycia Trouton and Haruko Okano went on to develop practices in community-engaged arts which continue to this day.
The Fence remains intact after seventeen years. It quickly became a much loved community feature and even in that neighborhood suffered very little vandalism. It was amazing example of how the arts can make a difference in communities and a big step in the development of engaged practices in Vancouver.
1995 Ethics in Action Award, Vancouver City Savings Credit Union and the Workplace Ministry, awarded to the grunt gallery for the Mount Pleasant Community Fence Project
Chose to create opportunities for people in Mount Pleasant to meet each other, explore their creativity, and build something together for their community.
By helping to construct a fence, the grunt gallery, a co-operatively run storefront art gallery in East Vancouver, bridged the gap between the gallery and its neighbourhood.
Aware that many people are puzzled and intimidated by contemporary art, the grunt group chose to demystify the art-making process by inviting people who live and work in the neighbourhood to explore their own creative talents. To this end, the gallery's director and several local artists helped people living and working in Mount Pleasant to decorate fence pickets.
More than 400 people participated in the project, carving and painting pickets for a 200-foot redwood fence. Result: a handsome fence now protects and beautifies the Mount Pleasant Community Garden, and hundreds of area residents have discovered previously untapped talents.
The Mount Pleasant
Community Fence Project
209 East 6th Avenue
at the grunt gallery
Feb. 9th thru 26th
Wed., Thurs. 2-6 & 7-9
Please call Haruko or Pat to register
All Workshops and Materials are Free!
About the Mount Pleasant Neighbourhood Garden
The Mount Pleasant Neighbourhood Garden is at Fraser St. and East 8th Ave. The garden has become a place where people meet and share stories about gardening, the neighbourhood and themselves.
The Mount Pleasant Community Fence Project
The Community Fence will be built at the north and south ends of the Neighbourhood Garden. A series of workshops will be held to get the people of Mount Pleasant involved in the carving of the fence. The fence will show our pride in this community. We hope that working with the Community can make art a part of everyday life. We also hope to bring people from different communities together.
Participation in the Community Fence Project
We want everyone to come work on the fence. Everyone is welcome! The project has three stages of development: design, carving and building the fence. The fence is made of many pieces of cedar pickets. We want you to come and carve pickets.
- The pickets can be carved by yourself or with others.
- If you need help there will be people to help you.
- People with their own tools may work at home.
- Before carving your picket, please read the rules for the picket carving.
- Please register with Pat or Haruko. We will need your name, address and telephone number.
- Design/carving workshops will be set up around Mount Pleasant, including the grunt gallery.
Here are some of our guidelines for carving the pickets:
- 100% wood
- No sharp points on the tops
- The pickets must be at least 3 inches wide
- Any holes cut must not be wider than 3/4 inches
- The front of the picket must not stick out more than 1 inch
- The bottom 12 inches must be left blank
- Only use epoxy glue (supplied by the project) to glue wooden objects onto the picket.
- Wood cuts can be no more than 1/4 inch deep
- No painting or use of wood preservatives except raw linseed oil in some areas
- Project workers and helpers will help with cutting and carving
Here are some ideas:
- carving with woodcarving chisels
- gluing wood on wood
- cutting out holes and small shapes
- shaping the sides of the picket
- drawing with a woodburning tool
- sealing areas of your carved picket with raw linseed oil to change the colour.
If you or your group would like to carve or design pickets for the fence, please call Pat or Haruko at 604-875-9516, 12 - 6 PM, Tuesday to Friday.
The grunt gallery gratefully acknowledges the sponsorship for the Fence Project of the Mount Pleasant Neighbourhood Association Ready or Not Committee; the B.C Provincial Community Tourism Employment Training Program; Van City Savings Credit Union; The Samuel and Saidye Bronfman Family Foundation; Mount Pleasant Community Centre and the support of The Mt. Pleasant Neighbourhood House; Industrial Formulators; Woodchips Carving Supplies; Ilford Anitec (Canada) Ltd.; United Civic Savings Credit Union; Western Front; Agfa Canada Ltd; Lee Valley Tools; MATRIX Professional Video Systems Inc.; and especially the residents of Mt. Pleasant. Grunt acknowledges the financial assistance of the Canada Council, the Government of B.C. through the Ministry of Tourism & the Ministry Responsible for Culture, the City Of Vancouver, our sponsors and membership.