The Yurt - A Good News Story

For those of you who haven't seen them yet, there are some photographs of the Poetry Yurt posted on the site's Gallery at . Throughout the summer we will be posting more pictures as this project evolves. Since these were taken, Bruce Somers has built a fabulous access ramp and entryway up to the door, Dirk and Mary Ann put down the new floor, and Charlotte and Tom have transformed the grounds with their landscaping efforts. It's been a truly transformative experience watching this project grow. Yesterday we held the second Summer Inventions Art Lab in the yurt. These sessions will be held all summer and are free or by-donation creation labs by professional artists in the community. Yesterday's lab was Wayfinding to the Heart of The Song, a songwriting lab by visiting Pender Island artist Mae Moore. Twelve participants spent their Sunday songwriting and was it ever incredible. But a strange thing happened. At the break, we moved outside to picnic and play guitar on the grass and suddenly it hit me: you spend time in the yurt in this amazingly creative process, studying form and actually writing songs with a group of other songwriters, then you go outside and Wham! It hits're not in a classroom hallway or rented church basement or east end studio space or parking lot, you are on an unbelievably beautiful grassy greenspace surrounded by organic garden plots. For this is The Gabriola Commons, where there is a place for everyone. Through the generosity of spirit and open-heartedness of this organization, Poetry Gabriola has been able to make a home in one of the most lovely places on the island. With the heritage nut orchard, long winding wooden boardwalk, many different garden projects, wetlands and yes, even a beaver pond, we have been offered a true sanctuary where artists can work. How much more inspiring could it possibly be, to be surrounded such beauty, industry, and positive thought? The other epiphany I had yesterday is that the BC Arts Council has been unbelievably good to Poetry Gabriola over the years. Even in the dark times, with funding cuts and a very uncertain future, the BCAC supported the Poetry Yurt by awarding $20,000 to purchase the super-structure. The folks at BCAC had faith that we would be able to complete the project, including the excavation, footings, platform, access ramp, floor, landscaping .... they believed we could do it and we did! With the help of this incredible community - including Arbutus Building Supplies, Agla Construction, The Regional District of Nanaimo, the Gabriola Recreation Society, and many wonderful volunteers. But not only did the BCAC support the creation of this space, they also awarded funding, through the Innovations program, for a summer slate that is crammed with Art Labs by amazing artists connected to the island. Poetry Gabriola has tremendous gratitude for all our community partners, friends, and members who continue to dream the dream with us. But we are particularly appreciative of both the Gabriola Commons and the BC Arts Council, without whom the Poetry Yurt could never have happened. hp