6,000 fledglings — that is A Lot of birds!

Our last fledgling was finished at Emily Carr University on Friday, June 29 at 1:30PM!

The chART team worked for three days straight running their open event at the 13th International Arts & Society Conference that was hosted by Emily Carr this year. We had quite the international collection of bird makers visiting from Australia to Finland. Some people made just one bird, while others made dozens and dozens. We had one young visitor from New Jersey who made quite a few birds and she convinced her parents to stay as we closed in on the final bird. Cameron Cartiere asked this budding bird enthusiast if she would like to help make the last fledgling together.

While this might have been the last bird to go through the press, there is still quite a process remaining to get the flock back out into the community. The birds are nesting down in the ceramics department at Emily Carr University. There they will dry, be hand-dipped in black glaze, and then loaded into the kilns for a slow firing (at Cone 6 for you clay geeks).

Look for the finished birds to land in the community centres the week of August 20 along the As the Crow Flies line from Strathcona to Marpole. If you made a bird, then take a bird. If you didn’t get a chance to make a bird… you can still take a bird. This is our gift back to the community in the hopes that having this little bird in your home will be a reminder of all the creatures we share our environment with and that they need our thoughtful attention.

If you miss the community centre crow landings, you can also adopt your fledgling at one of our three free, evening On the Wing animation events happening that same week.

More details soon.



‘As the Crow Flies’ has taken flight!

Oak Park Fieldhouse is currently going under renovations by the Parks Department this summer, but that has not slowed chART down as we continue to work on our collaborative community public art project: As the Crow Flies. As you may have read in our previous posts, we are doing three art public artworks under the As the Crow Flies banner — Fledglings (creating 6,000 baby ceramic crows); Nesting Nests (weaving invasive plant species into nests for native birds); and On the Wing (a three part outdoor projection event). The schedule for our program of activities can be found in the posts below and on the Vancouver International Bird Festival site under Events.

We have been working hard on Fledglings — making birds with community members across the city. We still have some events coming up, so check out the schedule and come make a bird! Check out the photos below to get a sense of the process and also to see how much fun it is. With the community helping us, we have made over 4,000 crows!

We have had so much support from the Parks Department Cultural Services staff and the staff at the community centres at Strathcona, Creekside, Hillcrest, and Mount Pleasant. We can’t wait to come back and work on Nesting Nests with everyone in those community centres later this summer. We also look forward to returning to the Oak Park Fieldhouse as soon as the construction is done. But in the meantime, you can find us via the events listings and check out the Parks Dept. Facebook postings as well.

Look for the flock to return to the community centres during the week of the Bird Festival in August. The flock will land in the lobbies and you can take one of the fledglings home with you. If you made a bird, the one you take will probably not be the same one. We like to think of it as making a gift from someone you didn’t know and that person did the same for you. As a collective community, we are making something bigger than each of us as individual could create and in the process we learn to appreciate the fragility of fledglings, the wonder of art making, and the joy of working together.

Weaving with What?!

What’s been happening at the Fieldhouse?

Have you noticed some small, basket-like structures around the neighbourhood? They are the work of artist Jaymie Johnson and youth from the Marpole Oakridge Community Centre!

From January through March 2018, 22 youth aged 10-18 participated in Weaving with Aliens, a series created for the youth at MOCC and made possible by a Creative Spark Vancouver Grant disbursed by ArtStarts in Schools and funded by the City of Vancouver. Completed over 5 drop-in sessions, Weaving with Aliens introduced new immigrant youth to the potential of basketry arts using locally harvested invasive English Ivy as material.

Johnson writes, “Together, we transformed this invasive plant fibre into vessels that support the growth of native seeds while using basic basketry techniques in a sculptural context. We explored patterning and shape, and were introduced to the use of Red Cedar bark as material in traditional Coast Salish basketry. Nicole Preissl (Squamish, Stó:lō), a student at Emily Carr University, was my assistant for this project and contributed knowledge of Indigenous basketry techniques and history and gifted Red Cedar material to the youth to incorporate into their basket forms.”

The project culminated with an installation of the woven forms outside at the Oak Park Field House, where they became sculptural planters that were collectively sowed with native pollinator-friendly seeds.

This project is an offshoot of a collaborative work with Chloe Hight, “Natives and Invasives…”, and inspired by the work of eco-artist Sharon Kallis.

As the Crow Flies

Check out our next big project!

As the Crow Flies is a community-engaged public art project that brings creative connections to urban birds directly into the hands of the citizens of Vancouver. As the Crow Flies is a 10-kilometer community public art project consisting of diverse artworks designed to engage and educate the public about what they can do to help reverse the environmental problems that include loss of biodiversity, climate change, and species decline.

Our projects, including Fledglings, Nesting Nests, and On the Wing, are fun, hands on temporary artworks that bring together and empower local communities to learn how to make positive environmental changes on personal, community, and even national levels.

As the Crow Flies takes place at community centres and parks across Vancouver in the months leading up to the the Vancouver International Bird Festival (http://www.vanbirdfest.com) and the International Ornithological Congress in August when bird enthusiasts from around the world will focus their attention on BC.

Stay tuned below for locations, dates, and times for your opportunity to have a hand in creating public art about birds!

Fledglings Description:

Help us make 6,000 ceramic baby Northwestern crows using hand-press molds! These figures, designed by chART artists Cameron Cartiere and Jess Portfleet will roost in storefront windows, community centres, and schools along the 10-kilometer line from Strathcona to Marpole, until the final day of the Bird Festival and Ornithological Congress, when the flock will be released to the public. This ceramic flock represents the number of actual crows whose daily migration traverses the Vancouver skies every evening as they make their way back to the Still Creek Rookery in Burnaby. The emphasis of this work is on the unseen inhabitants of the nest; to provoke an awareness of the vulnerability of the small creatures and to create a mindfulness of the host of other bird species trying to raise their young in our shared city.

Fledglings Workshops:

Thursday, March 22nd:  10 am – 3pm, Emily Carr University of Art + Design, Lower Lobby

Friday, May 18th: 11 am – 3 pm, Creekside Community Centre, Lobby

Thursday, May 24th:  12 – 5 pm, Strathcona Community Centre, Multipurpose Room

Friday, May 25th: 3 – 6 pm, Hillcrest Community Centre, Outside Main Entrance

Saturday, June 2nd: 10 am – 4 pm, Marpole-Oakridge Community Centre, Outside

Monday, June 4th: 10 am – 2 pm, Mount Pleasant Community Centre, Lobby

Wednesday, June 27: 11 am – 3 pm, Emily Carr University of Art + Design, Main Floor

Thursday, June 28: 11 am – 3 pm, Emily Carr University of Art + Design, Main Floor

Friday, June 28: 11 am – 3 pm, Emily Carr University of Art + Design, Main Floor


Fledglings Concept Sketch

“Fledglings.” Concept art by Geoff Campbell.

Nesting Nests Description:

Help us create a large-scale temporary artwork by weaving nests using coil basket techniques. Designed by chART artists Cameron Cartiere and Jaymie Johnson this sculpture will be comprised of nests for the broad array of birds that are native to Metro Vancouver, from the Anna’s Hummingbird to the Bald Eagle. The community-made nests will be assembled together on a secure willow armature to create one large nest (2.5 meters in diameter) representing the range of habitats needed for birds to survive in our region. These workshops are a unique opportunity not only for creative production, but also to engage in environmental education, story-telling, music, and community building. The giant nest will be assembled to coincide with the 27th International Ornithological Congress taking place in Vancouver.

Nesting Nests Workshop Schedule:

Thursday, April 19th: 1 – 4 pm, Creekside Community Centre, Meeting Room 2

Thursday, May 10th: Time and Location, TBA

Wednesday, May 30th: 9:30 am – 12:30 pm, Creekside Community Centre, Meeting Room 2

Wednesday, June 13th: 10 am – 2 pm, VanDusen Botanical Garden

Thursday, June 14th: 10 am – 2 pm, VanDusen Botanical Garden

Monday, June 18th:  3 – 6 pm, Mt. Pleasant Community Centre, Art Room

Sunday, July 8th: 3:30 – 6:30 pm, Means of Production Garden (E. 6th and St. Catherines)

Wednesday, July 11th: 4 – 7 pm, Trillium Park

Wednesday, August 1st: 3:30 – 5:30 pm, Kerrisdale Community Centre


Nesting Nests example4.jpg

“Nesting Nests.” Concept art by Jaymie Johnson.


Field trip

While we at chART like to spend a lot of time working away at Oak Park Fieldhouse, we also love to visit other fieldhouses and show off the program to visitors to Vancouver. So we were delighted to be able to take curator Courtney Gilbert over to Burrard View Park to visit artist Lexie Owen. Courtney came to visit chART from the Sun Valley Arts Center in Idaho where we are bringing our installation, For All is For Yourself, this spring.

Thanks for the visit Lexie!


Lexie Owen, Megan Smetzer (chART), Courtney Gilbert

Blind Drawing to open the eyes

As we move into 2018, Elvira Hufschmid left us with to lovely “blind drawing” series that captured moments of reflection while she was with us in the studio — a sense of place at Oak Park Fieldhouse.

Thank you, Elvira for sharing your time and creative vision with us in December.


Portrait of a place: Marpole Fieldhouse

A fence and trees

A car

A wall of stones

A man moving or driving

A golf caddy or something similar


Portrait of a place: Marpole Fieldhouse

A coyote or wolf

Two hands forming a V

A hand holding

A man seen from behind


images and text: EHufschmid2017

Winter in the Fieldhouse


It has been a busy semester with the Emily Carr University move to our new campus and everyone settling in and dealing with the growing pains of a new building. The field house has been a welcome retreat as we began planning for a big new public art project for 2018 (more on that soon). But while we have been in planning mode (and grant writing like crazy) we have also had some great activities happening in the house.


We welcomed Elvira Hufschmid into the chART fold this December. Elvira is a Vancouver-Berlin based visual artist, curator and author in the field of Processes of Aesthetic Transformation and Temporary Art Spaces. She is currently collaborating with Ingrid Koenig, Randy Lee Cutler and Margit Schild on a SSHRCC Insight Grant project at ECU: Leaning out of Windows – Art & Physics Collaboration through Artistic Transformations (2016-2019). We are so thrilled that she could join us for a month and she has been working on some beautiful drawings at the fieldhouse as well as hosting a community art meal for the Emily Carr’s Interdisciplinary 165 Foundations class.

It may be the holiday season, but over at the fieldhouse we are quietly working away as we have a rich and exciting art filled 2018 planned for Vancouver.