Building Creative Communities … Building Community Creatively
Welcome to Deer Crossing The Art Farm. Deer represents gentleness in the face of overwhelming fear and anxiety. A crossing is a place where ideas meet and new possibilities emerge. The Art Farm aims to be this place: a sanctuary for creative transformation.
We are stewards of this land and we ask those who come here also to be stewards of the land and respect these protocols.
We are here on Turtle Island amongst the trees—our standing elders—the birds who fly with the creator, the plants, the four-legged who guide us, and the winds who carry the messages of our ancestors.
We honour the Sḵwx̱wú?mesh Nation who are the stewards of the land long before the settlers arrived and we are grateful for their teachings and guidance in sharing the knowledge, stories and teachings of these Coast Salish Lands.
All our relations
Where we are:
We recognize that decolonizing is an action; not a thing. It is a not a diploma or a state of mind. Shifting our paradigm—the system of thought underpinning everything we think, do, and believe—is challenging and painful; we acknowledge this shift requires a rigorous commitment to an ongoing messy and dynamic practice.
We lean into this process; we move towards this Beautiful Mess.
What we are doing about it:
We unearth what is submerged. We honour the four directions. We trust the earth will hold us.
We embrace, welcome, honour, and champion under-represented cultures, ages, abilities, bodies, genders, and people. We acknowledge that this is uncomfortable for some and we seek to live in and accept this discomfort.
We create space—sanctuary—where new voices and ideas can meet, mingle, collaborate and emerge. If someone needs their family to come, we invite the whole family. We are consistently awed by the magic of letting our pre-conceived notions go.
We amplify and showcase this work; we seek avenues to share it with our wider community; we aim to gently shift our audiences from a place of separation and fear to a place of connection and wonder.
What we strive for:
We aim to close the divide between our species and the natural world that colonization has created.
We recognize that certain ages, abilities, bodies, genders and people have been systematically excluded from positions of power, authority and voice. We aim to shift this inequity through our collaborations, our work, and our organization.
We recognize the impact of the unjust systems that we all live within—structures grounded in fear, oppression and anxiety—and we aim to transform that for ourselves and for our community.
While we seek contributions from underrepresented voices and abilities, we recognize there are different intersections in this work and that not everybody can access it the same way. We are aware that our work is still not accessible to some. We know we have blind spots. We see this, we want to change this, we are open to any and all feedback, and we will continue to strive to find you and bring you in.
The Art Farm’s Goals:
Rich Diverse Voices
We nurture opportunities to engage and collaborate with those whose voices are underrepresented, for example: children, youth, elders, people living with disabilities, people facing systemic discrimination due to race, sexuality, gender, or socioeconomic factors.
Through creative engagement we build meaningful relationships that offer opportunities for participants and audiences to grow and develop a broader understanding of one another (decreasing stigma).
Youth Engaged in Community
We provide opportunities for youth to assume leadership roles as creative community builders through collaboration and creative engagement. We provide mentorship, employment, and support for young emerging artists; providing a path towards a professional practice as community-engaged artists.
Creating with Nature / The Power of Place
We reinforce our connection to and reliance on nature by incorporating environmental themes into the creative process, using found and recycled material in our work, and situating installations and theatrical productions in the natural environment.
Expanding the Creative Community
We bring together professional artists from different disciplines and communities to collaborate, explore and create. We engage people who may not identify themselves as artists (including youth and children) in creative projects that build confidence in and catalyze artistic pursuits.
Learn more about the Art Farm’s Constitution and Values.
Artistic and Executive Director
Since the art farm society was officially formed in 2008, Chad has helped develop and oversee its unique art+nature education programming for children and adults (Pollinate), produced five years of high quality arts-in-nature programming, catalyzed the launch of FUSE Community Work Hub (a shared work space for creative and social entrepreneurs) and developed an outdoor festival (Synchronicity) that draws 2000+ people over two days to the Gibsons and Area region every August. Currently, Chad is working on the Art Farm’s largest initiative yet: The Smart Farm Project.
Chad has also worked as a professional actor and writer for the past 15 years. He has been a company member and collaborator in theatre companies across Canada and self-produced numerous theatrical productions through out his career. As a writer, Chad is an award-winning freelance journalist – as well as a writer of short stories, novels, plays and narrative non-fiction. In 2001, Chad took a break from the arts to take a small-business course at BCIT to learn the basic skills of business planning, management and operations. Since then, he has applied these skills to his work as a self-employed artist and collaborator and with his work on The Art Farm. Chad is a Bachelor of Fine Arts graduate, specializing in Theatre Performance, from Concordia University in Montreal.
Community Engaged Arts Coordinator
Sandy Buck is a multi-disciplinary fabric and installation artist with over 10 years experience as a costume designer in the theatre and film industry, including a Genie Nomination for her design work on the 2005 film “Eve and the Firehorse”. Six years ago, she discovered the world of puppetry and began creating her own puppets and original shows. In 2006, she formed her own puppet theatre company Rababoo Puppet Theatre. Since that time, she has performed her one-woman show “The Dragon’s Desire” at festivals and theatres across the coast and lower mainland and has performed her puppet show “The Tales of Maggie Rose” across Canada. In 2007, she was the recipient of the Gillian Lowndes Award for her ongoing work as a puppet-maker and puppeteer.
Sandy has extensive experience as event designer for arts and event-based organizations including the Vancouver Jazz Festival, Vancouver Film Festival and Whistler/ Blackcomb. She has organized gala events for over 1000 guests, including creating the artistic decor, organizing the production and coordinating the event. Sandy also has extensive experience working with youth and children. She has created programs for youth in many settings and performed/interacted with children in a variety of settings from small classrooms to large outdoor events.
Kelly Foley works with organizations committed to making positive change. Her expertise is in all areas relating to administrative management and communications, from strategic development and planning through to implementation. Her mission is to provide strategies in communications, marketing and engagement that transcend convention – connecting entrepreneurs with social innovators, artists with technologists, and youth with seasoned professionals.
Marketing & Outreach Coordinator
Chloe Langmaid works as a photographer and marketer for artists, organizations, and local businesses on the Sunshine Coast and Lower Mainland. After completing a certificate in Film she continued to study Liberal Arts while beginning her career in multi-media marketing. Chloe loves to help like-minded clients grow, and Deer Crossing the Art Farm was a perfect fit. After 10 years of pursuing the arts and environmental protection, she is able to explore all of her passions working at Deer Crossing the Art Farm.
Videography & Media Artist
Joah Lui is a new media artist and maker. Digi Majou is her playful and healing alter ego. Her superpowers combine new media technology with the compassionate actions of Majou, a Chinese Sea Goddess. Digi Majou beckons, catalyzes, and illuminates the stories of many human journeys. Together we tap into ancestral energy and magic, bringing forth into the present day a powerful call to communicate, and make meaningful play.
Rolf has lived a double life: both in front of the audience and backstage. He essentially took a double major at York University when he qualified for the acting program but also took all of the offered technical programs. Rolf has been working as an actor for 40 years. Trained at York University in Toronto and the HB Studio in New York, Rolf walked away from performing when he got tired of receiving disproportional amounts of money for playing pimps and junkies on TV. He was also making a living working as a member of IATSE 118 and 891 as a stage carpenter and then later as a scenic carpenter. Trained first at York and then later at the Banff Center of the Arts Rolf worked for many years at the Arts Club scene shop.After a several year acting hiatus Rolf started on a journey studying Pochinko style Clown with David MacMurray Smith. This gave him an opportunity to explore all the aspects of his life that were important- spirituality, healing, interpersonal politics- and to bring to them a levity. He has developed several main characters through this process and created many shows both in and out of the Vancouver Fringe Festival. Rolf won the Spirit of the Fringe Award the first year it was offered. This was in recognition of his improvising a new show a couple of hours before his rehearsed show was cancelled due to a death in his show partner’s family. After witnessing his first Rainforest Circus Rolf knew he had to be involved with this company. Many years/ shows later Rolf has come to value the community centric view of this company. Whether it be the circus, working with those with the lived experience of dementia, learning how to step into reconciliation with Indigenous peoples, or any of the other projects the Art Farm will take on, Rolf has found the people and processes that are in sync with his values and chosen way of being.