This Free Exhibit Features 100+ Heartfelt Messages Written By Vancouver’s DTES

cardboard project

Everyone has a story and this exhibit is here to highlight just that.

On Saturday December 1, the Employ to Empower Foundation will host The Cardboard Project. The exhibit will feature a collection of 100+ responses written by the people of Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, each sharing something from their past that’s changed who they are today.

Story Behind The Exhibit

You often see people in the Downtown Eastside sitting on the sidewalk holding a cardboard with a plea on it.

If you’ve frequented the area, you’ve likely come across messages like “please spare some change” or “need food”. Some of the more creative signs include “Smile if you masturbate”.

Regardless of what the signs say, the plea does very little to shed light on what the person’s story is. To find out, The Cardboard Project was initiated.  

Some of the responses collected are uplifting, while others are heartbreaking. As a result, these responses challenge viewers to see the Downtown Eastside community through a different lens – one without bias opinions and assumptions.

Using the cardboard responses, a massive three-eyed board will be created for the exhibit. Designed by Marcel Mousseau, an artist from the Downtown Eastside, the finished piece will be featured on 10 ft. tall bamboo sticks.

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Oftentimes, we see an 'ask' on cardboards when we walk by the #DTES. While this shows us a person’s needs, it doesn’t reflect their character/story. Our needs don’t reflect who we are — our experiences do. . . For the past two years, my team and I collected over 100 pieces of cardboard from the Downtown Eastside. A thought provoking question that we asked the DTES is: “What is something in the past that’s changed who you are?”. The next chapter of Employ to Empower is: The Cardboard Project — a collection of insightful responses from the DTES citizens on plain, brown cardboard. . . I tucked this project away in my room since 2016 and finally decided to exercise courage and share this with the public. With each cardboard, I hope it inspires you to see the DTES through a different lens. #MyCardboard

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Exhibit Admission

Event admission is free, but donations are heavily encouraged. Suggested minimum donation is $5.00 at the door.

Speaker Lineup

Theme #1: Human Connection

Mark Groves | Founder of Create the Love

Mark Groves has a specialized interest in the area of Human Connection. He’s an author, speaker and sales consultant. He’s in love with science, psychology, and uncovering the mysteries of what makes great relationships work.

Jeremy Goldberg | Founder of Long Distance Love Bombs

Dr. Jeremy Goldberg is the founder of Long Distance Love Bombs, an online tribe trying to make kindness cool and the world better than it was yesterday.

Theme #2: Mindset

Rosan Auyeung-Chen | Mental Health Therapist at Vancouver General Hospital

Rosan specializes in mood disorders, mental health, vocational rehabilitation, crisis intervention, self harm, emotion regulation, stress management, and conflict resolution. She is trained in Dialectical Behavioural Therapy as well as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.

Timothy Ames | Executive Director for Plan Institute & PLAN

As Executive Director, Tim is responsible for the implementation of the collaborative strategic direction of both PLAN & Plan Institute , a role that he held for almost five years. Tim also served as a community connector for PLAN, sat on the board of Plan Institute and worked for three years as a General Manager for Tyze — an online personal networking service and a certified B-Corp enterprise developed by PLAN.

Theme #3: Recovery

Marcel Mousseau | Artist from the Downtown Eastside

Mousseau has 20+ years of experience as an artist and was raised on the Ebb and Flow Indian Reservation and the city of Winnipeg. He is a self taught Ojibway Indian artist who has been selling his carvings and paintings or the past forty years, with notable mentions on the Vancouver Sun and Ottawa Citizen and recognized with 10 awards.

Exhibit Proceeds

100% of all proceeds will be going towards employing Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.

Employ to Empower (ETE) is a social enterprise organization that centers around employment as a realistic, long term and lasting solution to drastically reduce homelessness in hopes to one day eradicate this issue completely.

Their focus is to connect low income individuals in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver, to dignified jobs at recognized corporations.

604 Now is a proud sponsor of The Cardboard Project, alongside Telus, Co-llective Marketing, Hastings Crossing Business Improvement Association (HxBIA), Plan Institute, Daily Hive Vancouver, Vancouver Cares Project, and Frontrvnners Streetwear.

The Cardboard Project

Location: 312 Main - 312 Main Street Vancouver, BC V6A 2T2

Admission: Free - donations encouraged

Time: 1:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.

Date: Saturday December 1st, 2018

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