PRESENT | blog
THE FOREST OF DREAMS – How youth brought community closer to their forests.
The Forest of Dreams is a pop-up pavilion envisioned and built by a team of young emerging artists through the guidance of Robert Studer. It stands as a flagship contribution to The Woodlands Project, a youth-led community arts project exploring the complex relationship between our urban world and natural environment.
The project was born from the collaboration between the Township of Gibsons, Deer Crossing the Art Farm arts organization, David Suzuki Foundation and Emily Carr University. Gibsons, a seaside village on the Sunshine Coast of British Columbia, was the first community in Canada to take accounting of it’s natural capital and attribute a value to its contribution to the community. To find out more about this exciting initiative, click the link above.
The Forest of Dreams pavilion made its first appearance at the 2015 Synchronicity Arts Festival in Gibsons B.C. “What does the forest mean to you?” was asked of it’s visitors. Their answer was to be expressed on a nine foot by sixty foot long wall of white cotton fabric. The instruments of expression available were compelling and indigenous to the forest of the Sunshine Coast – raven feathers, sticks, bones and ferns.
Over the next three days a massive, beautiful collective expression was born from the hands and hearts of toddlers to elders. At times people unconsciously eradicated beautiful intentions with their own markings, while others framed the chaos with meaning. The Forest of Dreams was more than just a painting of trees. Its intricacies touched upon all things living.
In December 2015, just before Christmas, the Forest of Dreams reappeared in the urban forest of Vancouver at the Woodwards Atrium. Celebrating the completion of the Woodlands Project, all the supporters, visionaries and artists gathered together to recognize the accomplishments and impacts achieved with a grand installation of art and music. It stood for one week and provided quiet reflective refuge for the visitors and residents of the neighborhood. Many people approached the team of youth who were dismantling the pavilion and shared their gratitude for such a unique expression. It turned out a First Nations group came and performed a drum circle around the work. For us the Forest of Dreams succeeded beyond all expectations.
Emerging Artists of the Forest of Dreams: Courtney Lamb, RJ Lavery , Shanon Fitzgerald , Nick Biden , Chloe Langmaid, Westerly Henry, Dominique Sanchez, Liam Parry, Joanna Strzelecki, Sayata Gabriel, and Sara McDonnell.
Professional Artists of the Woodlands Project: Robert Studer, Sandy Buck, Jennifer Lyons, Steve Wright, Bronwen Payerle, Miyuki Shinkai, and Dean Schutz.