Westminster Savings creates unique opportunity for teen artists in partnership with Arts Umbrella

Collaboration results in a striking art installation for the Westminster Savings Corporate Centre

Surrey, B.C., February 20, 2017 – How do you gain experience when your experience is limited? As a young artist, how do you find opportunities to build your portfolio? Knowing the challenge these questions pose, Westminster Savings created a mentorship program for a group of teen artists in 2016-2017, which resulted in a striking large group installation at the credit union's new Corporate Centre in Surrey.

In collaboration with Arts Umbrella, the credit union's Westminster Savings Teen Visual Arts Scholarship Program was a competitive, juried program for aspiring artists aged 15 to 19 who are seriously considering post-secondary studies in visual arts. Students received mentorship and encouragement to explore unconventional ideas and develop critical thinking skills in art making, while creating a conceptually innovative work within the theme of connecting communities.

Arts Umbrella artist-instructors Amelia Butcher and Keely O'Brien led a group of 12 talented teens through the thirteen week program, overseen by Roxanne Gagnon, artistic director, Visual, Media and Applied Arts. The final collective project helped to build portfolio content for the students involved, and gave them insight to an exhibiting artist's professional life and the dedication required to succeed.

"We were thrilled to be able to create such a unique and valuable program for these young artists," says Gavin Toy, President and CEO, Westminster Savings. "The goal with our community investments is to give families and kids the chance to join in, get involved and have experiences that they otherwise might not have. We want to create opportunities that will build confidence, inspire people and create joy, in turn making our communities stronger and more inclusive places to live. To that end, recently, we were delighted to also announce a new three-year partnership with Arts Umbrella totalling $225,000."

"As an organization we believe that through the arts we can build a better world where all young lives are inspired to pursue a lifelong journey towards self-expression, compassion, and humanity," adds Paul Larocque, President and CEO, Arts Umbrella. "We are so grateful for Westminster Savings' ongoing support of this vision, and their steadfast belief in the transformative power the arts has on young people in our community."

An opening reception for the art installation was held on Saturday, February 18, with students and their families as well as representatives from Arts Umbrella and Westminster Savings in attendance. A set of speeches were followed by the opportunity for guests to mingle, take photos and enjoy a few bites to eat.

On the same day, Westminster Savings also hosted a community event to celebrate the opening of its new Central City branch at Central City Shopping Centre in Surrey featuring kids' activities, refreshments, prizes and free giveaways.

At the community celebration, Westminster Savings presented Simon Fraser University (SFU) Surrey Campus with a $100,000 contribution to extend its support for the Westminster Savings Theatre and to assist SFU in hosting a wide variety of campus degree programs, continuing education courses and public lectures.

Westminster Savings is proud to be in the Surrey community and contributing to its growth and vibrancy. Central City is Westminster Savings' fourth branch in Surrey, providing members and customers with a one-stop-shop to personalized products and services that fit their needs, and convenient access to a team of experienced banking professionals.

Gavin Toy President and CEO Westminster Savings and Bill Brown, Board chair Westminster Savings present Steven Dooley Executive Director SFU Surrey with a cheque for $100,000 towards the Westminster Savings lecture theatre on campus. L to R: Gavin Toy President and CEO Westminster Savings and Bill Brown, Board chair Westminster Savings present Steven Dooley Executive Director SFU Surrey with a cheque for $100,000 towards the Westminster Savings lecture theatre on campus.

Arts Umbrella students and representatives joined Westminster Savings in celebrating the installation of a collaborative piece of art in the Westminster Savings head office in Surrey. Arts Umbrella students and representatives joined Westminster Savings in celebrating the installation of a collaborative piece of art in the Westminster Savings head office in Surrey.

Collaborative Artist Statement:

The finished piece of artwork is the result of a unique opportunity for teen artists presented by Westminster Savings in partnership with Arts Umbrella. Culturally and artistically, our group was a tapestry of experience and individuality. Our challenge was to synthesize our unique artistic vision with the environment of the office to create a site-specific installation. We worked collaboratively to formulate ideas and then executed our chosen concept using a variety of 2-D and 3-D creative processes like sketching, paper cutting, and digital media. The overarching theme of the installation is diversity, expressed through a variety of unique and organic shapes. The shapes cast shadows of colour and emotion that communicate and interact to form a community. The layers of the piece echo the complexity of a diverse society. Just as the artwork uses many forms and mediums to create a whole, our individual efforts, opinions and styles formed what you see.

Lead Artist:

Amelia Butcher/ Supporting Artist: Keely O'Brien

Teen Artists:

Naomi Akumu, Lucas Chung, Bijou Deon, David Gorodetsky, Kim Ho, Renee Huang, Diana Liang, Jaylynne Michel, Danielle Rozali, Momo Sakamoto, Alyssa Uelbelhard, Sophie Yurchak

About Westminster Savings Credit Union

At $3.6 billion in assets under management, more than 55,000 members and 400 employees, Westminster Savings is among the largest credit unions in Canada. Known for its customer and community focus, people oriented culture, and sound financial and operating practices, Westminster Savings provides a full range of retail, commercial, leasing and wealth management solutions to meet its customers' evolving needs. To learn more, visit www.wscu.com

About Arts Umbrella

Art can change the lives of children in incredible ways, which is why Arts Umbrella helps young artists cultivate creativity and grow self-confidence through Performing, Visual, and Media Arts programs. Since 1979, the not-for-profit has opened the doors for all kids ages 2 to 19 to find and explore their artistic voices. More than 20,000 students discover the magic each year, with more than half participating at little to no cost to their families. For more information, please visit www.artsumbrella.com

For more information, please contact:

Cathryn Tucker
Manager, Corporate and Internal Communications
604-519-4210
ctucker@wscu.com

 

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