Inuvik’s Food bank has $6,400 more in their budget to keep residents fed after a trio of local artists applied their crafts to help fundraise the money over the April 24-27 weekend.
Spearheaded by folk musician Abe Drennan, who hosted an online performance to help raise the funds, the effort was aided by an anonymous benefactor who matched donations and prizes for the top donors contributed by fellow artists Kristian Binder and Brian Kowikchuk.
“Growing up, food shortage was no stranger. I guess I always had a weak spot for this reality, said Kowikchuk, who manages the Artists Hub – Authentically Indigenous. “Utilizing art through mental health is one of our initiatives. It’s a new style of landscape. Usually I work on being more dramatic with my moons. But yes, vibrant colors is what I like to work with, landscapes and birds.
“It would be great to see more fundraisers like what Abe had started.”
Kowikchuk painted an original painting over the course of the evening, while Binder offered up over $60 worth of his specialized merchandise, including a canvas tote bag, pencil case and a set of coasters.
He said he was always happy to help out with fundraisers, particularly with the food bank.
“I like to support causes in town when I can and the Food Bank is a really important one,” said Binder. “I try to help out when people come to me for donations.
“It’s nice to see people doing things like this, making the best of the situation and doing what they can.”
Drennan said he was trying to come up with ideas on how to help out the community during the COVID-19 pandemic, but after the recent tragic shootings in Nova Scotia something snapped and he contacted Binder and Kowikchuk to make it happen.
Being in a relatively safe position during the crisis, he said he felt the need to try and help others in less fortunate circumstances.
“I write about social change in my lyrics, so I think it’s important to also walk my talk,” he said. “I was inspired by a quote I saw that said, ‘Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much.’ I’ve been piecing together some lyrics around this idea and trying to integrate also the pandemic and what this means for our community in the days, months and years ahead.”
Drennan noted the COVID-19 pandemic has given society a rare opportunity to stop and assess itself and the direction it is going and wanted to push for a more generous, inclusive and healthy community.
“I think we have to take some responsibility for re-evaluating our lives, asking what is truly important and how to make meaning in a post-pandemic world,” he said. “The Earth has had a chance to breathe and so have we. Let’s breathe life into ways of being that preserve the earth and uplift the most vulnerable in our communities.
“This virus has shown that we are all on the same level, all equally susceptible no matter whom we are. So let’s use this time to re-imagine a world not driven by the need to go farther, get richer or dig deeper but driven by the need to just show up for each other cause that’s all we really have in the end anyway.”