1000 Candles: Downtown Group

Once our North York group had come to a close, the 1000 Candles project shifted its focus to Hong Fook’s downtown location.  Situated curiously atop a Japanese izakaya restaurant on Dundas St., I’ve always felt that the place exudes a certain unique charm and warm personality.  There’s no doubt that its staff and members do, which of course is the number one reason I’ve loved working there since my first volunteer days in July of last year.

Besides being much quicker than North York to get to via transit (!), being downtown I also had the advantage of existing familiarity with some of the participants enrolled.  However I was also pleasantly surprised to see a number of new faces turning out.  As with our first group, interest in the project had been much higher than initially anticipated (by about twice), with a roster of about 10 folks signing up.  We had a great dynamic, with Cantonese, Mandarin, and Vietnamese members contributing to a highly positive, creative space, duly enriched by the presence of vigourous cross-cultural exchange.

Aside from a little fine-tuning, our program remained largely the same from the first group, teaching three weeks of elementary drawing and painting technique, with three weeks dedicated to working out original ideas on canvas.  We had a good mix of beginners and more experienced artists, although (and I’m not just saying this!) I was absolutely blown away by the originality and accomplishment demonstrated by the group as a whole in completion of their final works.  A few had strong grounding in Chinese or other culturally-specific forms of painting, which also gave me a chance to pick up a few tips myself on these forms.  We really learn so much from each other!

I have to say I was sad when the group finally came to a close, but September has been quite an active month on the planning front for our upcoming October exhibition in North York, which for me is a source of great enthusiasm!  I am consistently grateful for Hong Fook’s Annie Tse, who has been ridiculously instrumental in coordinating our many efforts.

After much consideration we have opted not to make the event open to the general public, so I won’t be providing updates from here on in, but after the event I will be very pleased to circulate the results with you as soon as available.




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