The 19th annual Downtown Eastside Heart of the City festival is scheduled for next month


The 19th annual Downtown Eastside Heart of the City Festival with twelve days of live and online events – indoors and outdoors – featuring music, stories, poetry, drama, ceremonies, films, dance, readings, forums, workshops, discussions, gallery exhibitions, art talks, history talks and historical walks.

Guided by the theme Community is Our Mentor, this year’s festival will focus on listening to and learning from the lived wisdom and cultural practices of community organizations, artists and cultural circles in the Downtown Eastside; and engage the transformative power of story, song, music, film, theater, dance, visual arts and ceremony to illuminate pathways of resistance and resilience.

Here are some highlights of the 2022 Festival:

● The launch of ‘The Gathering’, a stunning 2016 triptych mural created by Richard Tetrault, expands with seven additional new panels by Tetrault, Charlene Johnny, Marissa Nahanee and Jerry Whitehead. The Gathering Mural hangs in the Carnegie Theater during the Festival and honors past and present DTES artists and activists, as well as the diverse cultures and heritage of the Downtown Eastside. Meet the artists and hear the inspiring story behind the artists and activists in this extraordinary mural.

● Honoring the healing journey of our grandmothers – Keeping the fire going. Through ceremonies, cultural teachings, spoken word, visual art exhibits and ArtTalks, we honor the grandmothers who came to our community from Indigenous nations in the Basin region. slope of the Thompson/Fraser River. Produced by Further We Rise Indigenous Arts Collective/Sacred Rock in partnership with VALU CO-OP Community Projects/Love Intersections, Massy Arts Society, Carnegie/Oppenheimer Park and Vancouver Moving Theatre/DTES Heart of the City Festival;

● Intangible Treasures of the Downtown Eastside (Zoom Shadow Two), an online collection of short, evocative shadow pieces created on Zoom by seven Downtown Eastside residents who explore personal intangible treasures that give them strength. Co-produced by Runaway Moon Theater (Enderby, BC) and Vancouver Moving Theatre;

● IronFest III, a three-night series of bands and improvised music combining a diverse cast of international and local musicians, including artists tied to the community and cultures of the Downtown Eastside. Produced by Coastal Jazz in association with Music on Main and the DTES Heart of the City Festival;

● Housing Justice with SRO Tenants, an interactive dialogue and film screening in collaboration with The Right to Remain Research Collective and filmmaker Eliot Galán, featuring SRO (Single Room Occupancy) tenant researchers whose stories spark moments of collective learning. Audiences are invited to share the vision of transition strategies for affordable, safe and healthy housing;

● The Prop Master’s Dream, a new fusion opera produced by Vancouver Cantonese Opera based on the extraordinary true story of Wah-Kwan Gwan (1929-2000), a little-known Chinese opera prop man born to a local Chinese father and aboriginal mother;

● Honoring Downtown Eastside Writers, celebrates writers and poets past and present who frame our community with their powerful thoughts, words, ideas, support and encouragement. The Carnegie Newsletter will host the Sandy Cameron Memorial Writing Contest & Award Ceremony to honor and recognize today’s poets; and throughout the Festival we will pay tribute to the poets who have come before us, including: Sandy Cameron, Bud Osborn, Jim Wong Chu, Robyn Livingstone, Muriel Marjorie, Lee Maracle, Joan Morelli, dn simmers, Wayson Choy and Kat Zucomulwat Norris (Aîné Festival in residence, 2017 – 2022).

The Festival’s mandate is to promote, showcase and facilitate the development of artists, art forms, cultural traditions, history, activism, people and great stories from Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. The Festival involves professional, community, emerging and student artists, and arts lovers.

The Downtown Eastside Heart of the City Festival is following current health and safety measures to support the health and safety of our audience, performers and staff.


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