Public Art and Trauma

On February 6th, students from Sandra Seekins’ AHIS 330 (Art and Trauma) class braved the rain to discover four pieces of public art in North Vancouver. Led by Lori Phillips, Public Art Officer for the North Vancouver Recreation and Culture Commission, this field trip was an opportunity for the class to learn more about these artworks, their purpose and the different people involved in their creation.

Cathy Sosnowsky, member of the Compassionate Friends Society, spoke to the students about Enduring Love, a sculpture and pathway that emerged from a collaborative community art process led by and for parents who have lost a child. She described her involvement in the community-led process and how it has contributed to healing.

Cpl. Crystal Shostak from the Special Victims Unit at North Vancouver RCMP, described the purpose and meaning behind the Strength and remembrance pole which was erected outside the RCMP building in October 2019. The carved red cedar pole stands in remembrance of the Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Girls across Canada, the fourteen women murdered in the Montreal Massacre, and all women who suffer violence.

For their CityStudio project, the students are imagining ways in which the NVRCC could further the message of trauma-related public artworks and bring them to life after their implementation.