Contributed by Danzante, Support Worker, Supported Living Network

My name is Danzante and I am a Support Worker for posAbilities’ Supported Living Network, a job in which I get to work with a really diverse and interesting group of people. I recently had the good fortune to help someone create his own art show.  The show is called “Gregory Grant: A Different Perspective” and it is currently hanging at Joe’s Table Cafe (5021 Kingsway).  It really is an amazing show, full of vibrant color and flow, and with many diverse styles. But probably the coolest things about the show are some of the deeper meanings, intentions and communications that are put into each piece by the artist, who is Gregory Grant.  I have supported Gregory for about four years now and I was so excited and gratified to get to support him through this process of creating his own art show.

Anyone who knows Gregory well, knows what a creative individual he is, always drawing and working on something new.  A few years ago he got an iPad, and soon thereafter found art-making apps and got started in learning how to make original digital artwork.  After watching him develop, I suggested he consider submitting his work in the annual posAbilities INCLUSION Art Show.  Working together, we figured out that we could get his images printed and mounted easily and fairly cheaply, and he chose three images and got them printed up for the show.

In preparing these pieces, I “interviewed” Gregory to help him figure out what he wanted to say about each artwork.  This is where he blew me away with what he had to say about each and every piece.  For example, the work he titled “Many Thoughts About Love” consisted of a heart that was made up of about a thousand differently colored droplets. When he created the piece, he thought that everyone means something just a little different when they say “I love you”, and each of these small dots represented somebody else’s meaning when they say those three words.  Wow, what a beautiful, poetic thought!  It was already a pretty heart, but this thoughtful intention of Gregory’s made it much more meaningful.

After the excitement from the INCLUSION Art Show, Gregory started thinking about where else he might sell his artwork, and this search led him to Joe’s Table, a coffee shop and art gallery specifically geared toward the artwork of people with disabilities.  The manager loved Gregory’s work, and it was agreed that he would produce his own show.

We worked in partnership figuring it out, and repeated the interview process again, to help him put into words exactly what his inspirations were for each piece.  Gregory impressed me again and again with what he had to say about each piece.  A favorite of mine is “Gray Moon”, in which he had say: “People often talk about a silvery moon but actually because it’s cloudy the moon is often more gray, which I tried to show here”.  I love this because of the mindfulness of showing the beauty of a gray moon, that it’s good to notice the beauty of the moon even when it’s cloudy – and this is really what the image feels like, too!

The interview process we went through for each piece was a partnership between Gregory and I in finding words that everyone can understand.  As a Support Worker, I so deeply appreciated this unique professional opportunity.  Here is a person with a lot of deep and creative thoughts about the world, and this show gives him the opportunity to be fully heard.  Pretty cool…

“A Different Perspective” is currently running at Joe’s Table (5021 Kingsway, Burnaby) from Monday to Friday, 7:30am-6pm.