Artist John Bailey shows off one of his sketches outside the Campbell River and District Association for Community Living’s Nifty Thrifty building at 12th Avenue and Greenwood Street.

Unique art project commemorates Community Living Month

Hill was impressed with Campbell River artist John Bailey’s intricate drawings of local landmarks

As the province celebrates Community Living Month, Greg Hill, executive director of the Campbell River and District Association for Community Living, was looking for a unique way to mark the occasion.

Hill was impressed with Campbell River artist John Bailey’s intricate drawings of local landmarks, so approached him about creating some special pieces to capture the Association’s many and varied properties in works of art.  Members of the public may have noticed Bailey working away outside the Association’s 10 buildings in recent weeks. He’s been at Nifty Thrifty, Ironwood Place, Our Place, the Association offices on Dogwood Street, as well Palmer Place, the Association’s newest property on Nikola Road, busily putting his individual stamp on the scenes he sees.

“I just sit in the parking lot with my little chair, working away,” Bailey said. “I didn’t want to work from photos. You can take a photo, put it in the computer, but it’s never the same as someone sitting there working.”

The Association has 10 buildings, but Bailey estimates he’ll have done more than 100 sketches by the time the project is done. He does a quick sketch upon arrival, then builds on what he sees. Bailey is an accomplished artist with a long history in a variety of styles, including work in film and theatre, prop building, scenic art, wearable art and much more. For years he loved doing pen and ink drawings, but when he discovered the joy of working with felt pens, he knew he was onto something.

“You can do so much more with a felt pen,” he said. “I just love them.”

He loves creating works of art based on local scenes and said he’s enjoying helping the Association create something they can keep forever as a record of their success. The Association celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2011 and its history is long and truly amazing. Fifty-one years ago, a group of parents gathered together to form a society to provide services for their children with developmental disabilities. They had no budget and no experience, but they built the foundation of what would become today’s C.R. Association for Community Living – a large non-profit organization that provides a huge variety of programs and is one of Campbell River’s biggest employers.

The Association services include, but are not limited to, supported employment, a beloved downtown centre called Our Place, an employment program called Skyline Productions, group homes,  Sunrise Resources for Early Childhood Development and Ironwood Place, which is an assisted living facility in downtown Campbell River. They offer services to people in every age group in Campbell River.

In 1961, the Association had a budget of just hundreds of dollars. Today, their annual budget is more than $8 million and their services are continually growing. Hill said it’s wonderful to see the Association growing by leaps and bounds and he’s thrilled that Bailey’s art will capture this moment in time.

“It’s been an exciting time for the Association, after celebrating our 50th anniversary last year and opening Palmer Place this year, so we’re really pleased to be doing something special and unique to mark Community Living Month this year,” Hill said.

Every year in October the province of B.C. and the B.C. Association for Community Living celebrate the gifts that people with developmental disabilities bring to our communities.

“Community Living Month reminds us of the abilities and strengths that exist within all of us – as individuals, families, schools, workplaces, communities,” says Faith Bodnar, Executive Director of the BC Association for Community Living. “It reminds us that together we are vibrant, diverse and hopeful. We are far more than a reflection of the supports and services we may receive.”

BCACL is also hosting a video contest to celebrate the month. Visit: www.bcacl.org/lights-camera-inclusion for more.

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