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SMITH BIRTHDAY: Artists for Kids was established in 1989 through a partnership with leading artists and the North Vancouver School District. Through the sale of prints from original works created by the likes of Jack Shadbolt, Bill Reid, and others, a legacy fund was created to provide arts education for the children of B.C.
Led by celebrated artist and arts educator Gordon Smith and his late wife Marion, thousands of students have been enriched by the arts program. On June 18, Smith will turn 100 years young.
To provide more opportunities for kids to discover their creative side, the Smith Foundation once again hosted its annual Spring Luncheon. For the first time, the Hawksworth catered-luncheon and art auction would be hosted at the Gordon Smith Gallery in North Vancouver. Staged in the main gallery and surrounded by Tiko Kerr’s latest works, a capacity crowd comprised of artists, art patrons, and gallery owners filled the room to support the Artists for Kids program and raise a glass to the decorated centurion.
While Smith was a no show, MC Gloria Macarenko sang the artist’s praises in an eight-minute video chronicling Smith’s storied life from Second World War soldier to arts educator to one of Canada’s prolific painters. Following a birthday toast provided by good friend and fellow artist Ian Wallace, nine pieces created by the likes of Cori Creed, Christos Dikeakos and Miriam Aroeste went on the auction block. Always a spirited affair, works by pop artist Douglas Coupland and Newfoundland’s David Blackwood would fetch the afternoon’s highest bids.
Leading lights spotted enjoying the afternoon festivities included collectors Michael Audain and his wife Yoshi, Michael and Inna O’Brian, Barry Scott and his wife Drinda, Arts Umbrella CEO Paul Larocque and philanthropist and community leader Leslie Lee. The Smith birthday bash and art sale would ultimately raise $188,000 for Artists for Kids.
Tiko Kerr’s The Measure of a Man, paper collage and acrylic on paper he created as a tribute to Gordon Smith was one of the featured works in the live auction. Photo: Fred Lee.
Campout 10th Anniversary Gala
TALE OF TWO CAMPS: In 2009, Rod Knight and Jeannie Shoveller from UBC’s School of Population and Public Health got permission to run a summer camp to collect research on sexual minority youth in B.C. Their findings endorsed the need for an outdoor camp experience catering to the needs of queer, trans and allied youth. UBC’s CampOUT was born.
Now in its 10th year, the unique program has provided an inclusive space where youth can develop leadership skills, build self-esteem and resiliency and connect to resources to support their health and well-being. An influential 100 guests would convene at Lois Nahirney and Tom Dielschneider’s North Shore home to mark the major milestone. Presented by Scotiabank, the house party would net another $75,000 ensuring more children around B.C. and Yukon will have the opportunity to attend the five-day, four-night camp, free of charge, on Gambier Island.
Since its inception, 800 individuals have participated in the transformative, magical and life-changing program thanks to the generosity of donors, says camp director Anna White. This year’s outpouring of love ensures another 65 participants will have the opportunity to make new friends, access resources and experience the great outdoors, she adds.
Major gifts from Scotiabank and the Tegan and Sara Foundation capped off the night of high camp.
Scotiabank District Vice President Larry Clements and UBC Social Justice Institute’s Janice Stewart were among one hundred guests who helped mark CampOUT’s tenth anniversary. Photo: Fred Lee.
CampOUT benefactor Tim Shoveller and CampOUT researcher and founder Rod Knight helped net $75,000 to ensure more queer youth from B.C. and the Yukon attend CampOUT free of charge. Photo: Fred Lee.
ZAJAC NIGHTS: Zajac Camp for Kids also provides children — kids with special needs — the opportunity to experience the great outdoors. Named after its founder hotelier and philanthropist Mel Zajac, now 92 years young, the ranch at Stave Lake, near Mission, welcomes hundreds of kids annually. A converted correctional facility the Zajac family purchased it in memory of two sons lost in separate sports accidents. The 41-acre facility, with a medical team on site, provides children with a transformative experience without interrupting treatments.
The camp also fosters kids’ confidence and independence and affords those who don’t usually have the opportunity to go to camp, says Michelle Bernard, director of development. For many participants, it’s life-changing, she adds.
To provide more opportunities for families to send their child to camp, Zajac and his wife Wendy hosted their seventh annual Zajac Nights Gala at the Terminal City. Five hundred supporters packed the members club for the La La Land-themed Hollywood affair. As usual wine fairies greeted attendees dispensing drinks and good cheer. Guests would follow suit dispensing some $200,000 after hearing from happy campers and their families.
Since 2004, more than 4,000 children with long term medical conditions and disabilities from across the country have had the opportunity to go to the Western-themed camp, a complex comprised of 19 fully accessible buildings that include an equestrian centre, amphitheatre, gymnasium and indoor swimming pool.