Delta Communities Program using art to welcome people

Delta Welcoming Communities Program (WCP) works to eliminate social isolation that newcomers experience through community engagement activities and networking opportunities.

WCP lead by Progressive Intercultural Community Services (PICS) Society in partnership with other Delta agencies, has identified that many newcomers feel socially isolated as well as struggles to enter the work force. “Programs like WCP help newcomers feel like they belong in their new community,” said Devinder Chattha, Director of Language Studies, and Settlement & Social Programs at PICS Society. “It also helps long-term residents and the service providers better understand the challenges faced by recent immigrants.”

To promote welcome-ness and shared understanding of Newcomers experiences the WCP, in partnership with the Delta Museum and Archive Society is hosting the exhibition “We are Delta”. Five diverse groups were selected: a Grade 5/6 class at McCloskey Elementary, local Boys and Girls Club students, descendants of Norwegian immigrants in Annieville, residents of Sunshine Hills and first-generation immigrants from the Indo-Canadian community. They were peered with artists Ilsoo Kyung MacLaurin, Jarnail Singh, Faith Love-Robertson, Leah Philcox-McCullough, Monica Sanderson and Victoria Williams. The artists developed five original piece of art to illustrate the combined views of what makes each community unique.

“The group was proud of their community, but also inward-looking. Being part of the Mapping Project may have shown to some the importance of also being active and involved in North Delta as a whole. Much can be done to make North Delta into a more united community”, said Faith Love-Robertson, Sunshine Hills resident. “Block parties, school kids from diverse backgrounds becoming best friends, and other simple things like these can change the mindset of whole communities”, said Leah Philcox-McCullough peered with Anneville.

WCP will host a reception evening featuring the “We are Delta” exhibit alongside the “Delta Community Art Project”, where Delta residents from all walks of life have painted a canvass to explore the theme of “what home means to me”. The evening will include storytelling from newcomers, live music and free refreshments. “We chose the enchanted setting of the Earthwise gardens to kick off a series of events that will use art, music, storytelling and sharing of food to explore the theme of welcome-ness and starting new in a new community”, said Margherita Zorzetto, WCP Coordinator.

We Are Delta and Delta Community Art Project will be on display at the reception event on August 8, from 5-8 p.m. at Earthwise 6400 3rd Avenue Delta, BC V4L 1B1. For information contact the WCP Team at 604.594.3455, ext 128.