Lynn Valley-made Spring Break Solutions: Art

With March Break fast approaching there is always a bit of panic: how will the kids keep busy when you are at work? LynnValleyLife is looking at three made-in-LV solutions to engage and challenge children and provide some experiences far different than the classroom.


Growth through art


From textiles to Picasso to Murakami, Kudzu Studio will be offering four classes this spring right here in Upper Lynn.

Artist Jeri Engen has been working with children for decades from creating grassroots arts education programs in the Seattle, to launching programs with the North Shore Arts Council, to guiding students through the Vancouver Art Gallery. Even with all those plates in the air, for the last few years Engen has been offering popular classes through her home studio.

“This is something I am incredibly passionate about – not necessarily to grow fine artists but to create an excitement about and a passion for art,” said Engen.

Kudzu Art StudioThroughout out the year Kudzu Studio offers classes to children from preschool to teens. The popular classes tend to fill up from word-of-mouth praise, but she is open to creating new classes if there are at least four students interested. To get a taste of what Kudzu is like, Engen is offering four classes this Spring Break as well as week-long camps throughout the summer.


Life Skills


“Art is a great share with kids social and historical events,” she said. “It also gives them an opportunity to make sense of their own world – often they can’t verbalize it but they sure can draw. It’s such a privilege to work with kids and share in their experience and get them excited.

“To see them gain confidence in what they are doing – to seem them take risks, take chances. To learn that mistakes are okay. That’s part of life. To think ‘Oh no, I don’t know what to do’ and still give it a shot and if doesn’t work give it another shot – and again. It’s a great safe way to do that.”


Kudzu Art Gallery


For elementary age children they will explore the latest exhibit at the Vancouver Art Gallery by Takashi Murakami and other art currently featured in local galleries in Art Around Town.

“My biggest objective is that they have fun and create but my second objective is to get the kids excited about art and the artist – to start a relationship that will inspire them to see the original work. They can take their parents and have an experience beyond the studio here,” said Engen.

Her second elementary program will feature the works of Picasso and fostering courage and resilience.

“I think everyone knows Picasso but there is so much more to Picasso than people think,” said Engen. “His always did the things he didn’t think he could do in order to learn to do them – and that is the underlying theme of this camp – go forth and do things you can’t do. Taking the techniques of Picasso like drawing upside down and having the child draw what they want – but upside down. We always have one child who love cats – so that will be their subject matter ”

There are also two tween/teen camps featuring textiles and drawing. In textiles students will explore silk, felting, embroidery and much more. In drawing Engen will cover basic foundational skills and then introduce new techniques that students likely won’t have tried at home – but could if they resonate.

“It is about creating art and it is also about learning some life lessons and having the courage to try something new,” said Engen. “These things they don’t always realize they will carry forth into other aspects of life.”

For details of classes and dates visit the Kudzu Studio website. For registration visit her here or call 604-971-1147. 

Are you or your organization offering spring break art activities in Lynn Valley? Feel free to let the neighbourhood know by posting directly onto our Facebook page!

An ancient antidote to the modern rush

Looking to be an antidote for the rushed, the busy and the overwhelmed Lynn Valley United Church has turned to the ancient labyrinth to offer locals a space to look inward, reflect and spiritually connect.


New building, historic idea


Lynn Valley United Church walkers

On the floor of the new contemporary church building is a very old tradition. Marked on the new floor is a labyrinth based on one of the world’s most famous in Chartres, France. The design in that cathedral is thought to have been built in the early 1200s. The four-quadrant design holds a path leading meditative walkers into the centre and back out.

Lynn Valley United Church invites anyone to come an used the peaceful walk to slow down and reflect. It is open to walk anytime the office is open (10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Tuesday-Friday) and during several special sessions throughout the month.

“We live in a culture where so much is coming at you – that is driven by ego. Anytime you can put aside the ego and listen to the inner you – I would say it is a spiritual moment,” said Kimiko Karpoff, Minister for Faith Formation at LVUC.

“The labyrinth is where you can bring your deeper questions and longings to the inner wisdom that exists in in each person. Walking a labyrinth is a spiritual practice – it can take you into deeper conversation. For some people it resonates with, that can be a deeper conversation with God. If that doesn’t resonate with you – a deeper conversation with our essential self,” she said.

“You can come and walk it as you are and approach it as you need to.”


Old traditions


Labyrinths exist in the history of just about every culture across the world. Just about as universally they are used for reflection and connection. Despite their wide symbolic appeal they are relatively rare in the Lower Mainland. A small handful exist in other churches and while there is an outdoor labyrinth at The Bridge Church in Deep Cove, there is no other indoor labyrinth on the North Shore.

Lynn Valley United Church finger board“One of things about a labyrinth is that people often mistake it for a maze,” said Karpoff. “A maze is designed to trick and fool. Whereas a labyrinth is actually a singular path where you can’t get lost. It is one single path that takes you into the centre. When you look at the pattern it switches back and forth, so when you are walking you don’t know where you are but the labyrinth knows where you are.”

She says that this is liberating because your mind must be occupied enough to follow the path and but still allows focus on other things.

“It is contemplative, so some people meditate,” said Karpoff. “You are paying attention, but it’s so simple you don’t have to think about it. Your body is doing something but your brain is given space to be creative.”  

LVUC has more information on the history of the practice and how one can meditate in the labyrinth on their website. Traditionally, the labyrinth is walked slowly at the pace you need in order to be reflective. Mentally it is approached in four steps:

  • Remembering – Acknowledge the people and things you are thankful for; be grateful to yourself for taking this time out, and your feet for getting you to the labyrinth.
  • Releasing – Let go of the negative, and the chatter that busies our minds, open yourself
  • Receiving – During the walk open yourself to the guidance, interior silence, peace, or a creative idea; whatever it is your soul chooses to nourish itself, however unexpected this may be.
  • Return – as you exit the labyrinth honour your insights and try to find space for them in world.

“I would love to see people have that time for peace,” said Karpoff. “It doesn’t necessary take a lot of time to do a spiritual practice. It is a simple as sitting and being or walking and being. If all you have is 20 minutes you can walk the labyrinth.”

There is more information on hand at the church on the labyrinth and how it is used and staff are happy to answer any questions labyrinth walkers may have.

“At Lynn Valley United Church we want people feel comfortable to come and be,” said Karpoff. “Some come and walk the labyrinth and go. Others come and connect and talk – that can be simple chit chat or deeper conversation.”


Special walks throughout the month:


LabyrinthFirst Wednesday – 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. – Walk with hymns and sacred music played on the piano.

Second Wednesday – 9 a.m. – Parents are encouraged to stop by for self-care after dropping children off at school.

Third Wednesday – 7 to 9 p.m. – Walk with contemplative music.

Fourth Wednesday – 4:45 p.m. onwards – Walk the labyrinth during Mid-Week Moments, an event for families of all shapes and sizes that integrates a shared meal, gathering for all-ages community worship and activities to stimulate spiritual connection, reflection and curiosity… which includes a playful and exuberant exploration of the labyrinth!

For more information reach out to Lynn Valley United Church at 604-987-2114.

Hopes and Reflections: North Vancouver District Library

It has been a busy year – for us all. We don’t always get a chance to keep up with all the goings on in our community or to know what happens behind the scenes. LynnValleyLife reached out to pretty much every local group we could track down and ask them to share their how the year went, what their hopes are for 2018 and how the Lynn Valley community can help them succeed. A few shared their thoughts. We have three posts coming up featuring the diversity of our community. We hope you enjoy this series of hopes and reflections.

 

A 10th Anniversary for the North Vancouver District Library Lynn Valley Branch

 

2017 Highlights 

The 2017 NVDPL board

2017 was a year of many great accomplishments for the North Vancouver District Public Library system. This year, the Library completed a beautiful renovation to the main lobby of the Lynn Valley Library, hosted over 2,100 programs, loaned over 1.1M items across our three locations, and celebrated the 10 year anniversary of Lynn Valley Library’s ‘new’ location.

2017 Challenges

The Library is a safe, neutral hub for lifelong learning and community connection. As such, an ongoing challenge is to find a balance and adapt to the varying needs of our community for study space, increased technology capability, and a robust collection.

2018 Goals

Our hope is to continue to demonstrate our commitment to the community, the wonderful programs and services we offer, and to welcome more residents.

Hopes for Lynn Valley

We hope that Lynn Valley retains its warm community feeling while embracing and welcoming new residents.

How can Lynn Valley help the Library?

North Vancouver residents have always been very supportive of library services and we appreciate that continued support. We encourage everyone to stop by and say “hello”!

To keep up with the NVDPL all year round follow their TwitterInstagram or Facebook.

Hopes and Reflections: Seymour Salmonid Society

It has been a busy year – for us all. We don’t always get a chance to keep up with all the goings on in our community or to know what happens behind the scenes. LynnValleyLife reached out to pretty much every local group we could track down and ask them to share their how the year went, what their hopes are for 2018 and how the Lynn Valley community can help them succeed. A few shared their thoughts. We have three posts coming up featuring the diversity of our community. We hope you enjoy this series of hopes and reflections.

 

Our local Seymour Salmonid Society marked its 30th year working to protect our salmon

 

2017 Highlights

  • 14 weeks of drilling and rock breaking that was completed on the Seymour River Rockslide Mitigation Project. This was a big move toward re-establishing migration for species on the river currently blocked by slide debris.
  • The monitoring program of outgoing coho smolts that showed a high survival rate for out-migrating juveniles salmon past the rock slide debris.
  • We had a very successful spring education program (Gently Down the Seymour) that ran 50 full-day field trips between March and June.
  • Due to the success of the spring we extended the program in a Fall pilot, providing 20 additional spaces for Grade 2 – 6 students.
  • We hosted three community events: Family Fishing Day, Open House and Rivers Day Estuary Clean Up. All three were well attended.
  • We spawned more Seymour pink salmon than ever before (100 pair)
  • We spawned more Seymour chum salmon than ever before (32 pair)

2017 Challenges

The challenge we faced was fundraising for major projects and education programs. Although we were successful it took a lot of time from limited staff that have many other duties. Another challenge was that our fish fence was washed out in high flows in a storm this past fall. We are looking to repair it in the early part of next year.

2018 Goals

In the year  our goals are to continue to make progress on the Seymour River rockslide, we have fundraised over $300,000 for the work in 2018.

We would like to offer 70 field trip days to elementary-aged children next spring and fall, educating youth on the importance of salmon and a healthy watershed.

Finally, our main goal is to continue to enhance coho, pink and chum salmon and steelhead trout on the Seymour River to ensure they’re long term survival.

Hopes for Lynn Valley

We would like to see Lynn Valley stay the pristine natural place that is wonderful to hike and spend time outdoors.  

How can Lynn Valley help the Seymour Salmonid Society?

The community has been an incredible support in the past and we hope that they would continue to support the Society. A couple important way to help are by becoming a volunteer or by becoming a paid member (only $10 annually). Another great way the community can show its support is by coming and participating in our annual events like, Family Fishing Day on June 17th, Seymour Hatchery Open House on September 16th and Rivers Day on September 30th.

To keep up with the Society all year round follow their Instagram or Facebook.