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David Murton Foubister Memorial Award
Emptying out my brother David’s belongings from the single-room occupancy Colonial Hotel in Gastown where he died at age 25, I found notebook pages, some tattered and worn, with lists of his friend’s names and numbers. I cold called them all, pausing to steady my voice before entering the last digit, and wrote a letter, staining the pages I posted with tears. Except for a friend’s father, I reached no one.
Twenty-three years later, I decided to try again. Using google and social media messaging platforms, I connected with his friends and found the family he had lost when he was adopted into our family on his second birthday in January 1973. I spoke by phone with his Cree sister and French Canadian foster family. I Facebook messaged two of his Cree brothers and Instagram messaged with his social worker’s daughter.
Art was a connecting thread in these conversations. Many of those who had known him sent me photos of drawings he had made in pencil, ink or pastel. Carefully executed works on large thick pages torn from coiled portfolios, doodles in journals they had held onto from high school, and simply executed figures, some with text, on scraps of paper.
I shared these images, adding photos of works I had collected from the rooming house and from boxes in our parent’s basement. Together we created a virtual “exhibition,” curated by those who were touched by him and others, including his birth siblings, who were “meeting him” for the first time.
David’s life and ambitions led me to Emily Carr University of Art + Design and inspired my husband and I to establish an Indigenous student award in his name. When David was alive, the university was located on Granville Island. His dream was to become an Emily Carr student and complete a degree in the arts, something he shared with me when we would meet for coffee, long walks on the beach, or dinner, and one that was reiterated in lists of ambitions he meticulously recorded in his journals and portfolios.
After talking with Eva Bouchard, Manager, Major Gifts + Fund Development, about the Aboriginal Gathering Place and meeting Brenda Crabtree, who serves as Director and Special Advisor to the President on Indigenous Initiatives at ECU, we too had a goal. It is to support the AGP’s tireless efforts to create a supportive and culturally appropriate educational space through a scholarship for Indigenous students who otherwise might not have the resources to attend Emily Carr.
This fall, two students were selected as the first recipients of funds from the David Murton Foubister Memorial Aboriginal Award to support their education. Recently, attending an international gathering at Emily Carr, I had the opportunity to meet one of them, see his art, and hear firsthand how our gift had eased the financial stress of his school year.
None of this would have happened without David’s curiosity and creativity, his natural and self-developed talent, and ultimately his belief in art to change his life and the lives of others. Nor would it have be possible without Emily Carr and its leadership’s commitment to supporting Indigenous faculty and students.
There is much talk about reconciliation. As a non-Indigenous person, I long searched for something that I could do to make amends for the harm done to David and all Indigenous peoples by the Sixties Scoop. I have found this opportunity at Emily Carr, where I am honored to support the education of Indigenous students who, like my brother, experience our shared world through art. It is truly through the art of others that our hearts can be opened to new insights and ideas.
Written by Vida Foubister, June 2022
2022 Emily Carr University Stewardship Report
The second Emily Carr University Stewardship Report is live and ready for you to view. Inside you will receive an update by our President + Vice Chancellor, Dr. Gillian Siddall. The report also includes some of the university community's projects and successes. We hope you enjoy the read.
The Philanthropic Community’s Declaration of Action
Emily Carr University Foundation recently joined other philanthropic organizations in signing The Philanthropic Community’s Declaration of Action (The Declaration), committing to ensuring that positive action on reconciliation will continue.
The Declaration is a call to action inviting others to join in moving forward in an atmosphere of understanding, dignity and respect towards the shared goal of reconciliation.
Learn more about The Declaration here.
Emily Carr Signs the Scarborough Charter on Anti-Black Racism and Black Inclusion in Canadian Higher Education
On Thursday, November 18, ECU joined 40 other Canadian universities in signing the Scarborough Charter and acknowledging our commitment to fostering an inclusive, anti-racist learning community. Read the full story here.
Lucas J. Croft Memorial Scholarship Established
On October 25, 2021, the Lucas J. Croft Memorial Scholarship Fund was established just one day shy of what would have been Lucas’ 31st birthday. This scholarship will provide an annual $1,000 scholarship to a student who is also experiencing financial need.
Lucas embodied creativity through art and music; there was hardly a time Lucas wasn’t drawing or doodling, and on everything! His first love was graffiti, and his favourite medium was paint. Creating kept him grounded and was an intrinsic part of who he was.
Lucas also had a great sense of humour and an easy laugh. He was intelligent and unassuming, he enjoyed the simple things in life. His greatest joy was the birth of his daughter. Lucas’ family feel he would be honoured to help the recipients of this award achieve their educational goals.
2021 Student Awards Stewardship Report
Student Awards offer encouragement, acknowledgment of hard work and achievements, and the financial support needed for students to continue their studies. Read the 2021 Student Awards Stewardship Report to learn how donor support impacts students. Featured on the cover: Artist and award-winner Levi Nelson
SRSA 2021 Interactive FINAL Aug 13 2021
Totem Pole arrives at the AGP
In August, the Community Totem Pole Project | The Northern Wolves took a step closer to completion when it arrived at Emily Carr’s Aboriginal Gathering Place for completion. The majority of the totem pole was designed and carved by master carvers Dempsey Bob (Tahltan, Tlingit) and Stan Bevan (Tahltan, Tlingit) from Terrace. They will work with students to complete their portion of the totem pole in the upcoming months. Learn more about the totem pole.
Thank you to the sponsors and supporters of this project:
First Peoples' Cultural Council | North Growth Foundation | Vida Foubister & Tim Van Biesen
Danica Imports and Native Northwest Establish New Aboriginal Awards
In light of the disturbing and painful legacy of the residential school system in Canada, two businesses with roots in Vancouver recognized the need to support the reconciliation process. Separately, they concluded that they could do the most good by funding Indigenous students' education through ECU’s Aboriginal Awards Program.
Native Northwest CEO Larry Garfinkel has supported Indigenous artists through his company for over 38 years. Native Northwest celebrates Indigenous cultures while providing a venue built on a foundation of respect and authenticity for Indigenous artists to sell their art, apparel, accessories, and products for the home. Garfinkel is on the Board of Directors of the YVR Art Foundation, along with ECU’s Brenda Crabtree, Director, Aboriginal Programs + Special Advisor to The President on Indigenous Initiatives, and Connie Watts, Associate Director, Aboriginal Programs, so there was a natural affinity to support ECU.
In July, Larry Garfinkel established the Native Northwest Reconciliation Fund Aboriginal Awards at Emily Carr. Says Garfinkel, “The Native Northwest Reconciliation Fund is honoured to support Indigenous artists who play a critical role in their culture, their communities, and beyond. We want to support your creativity, your passion and your commitment, as this is an inspiration for all.”
Danica Imports is committed to corporate responsibility in their operational principles and philanthropic philosophy. Their philanthropic program gives back through local and global community involvement, while enabling employees to experience the satisfaction and reward that comes from volunteering.
Gary Benson, Vice President Operations + Human Resources, explains why Danica Imports created this new Aboriginal Award: “Spurred on by the horrendous residential schools’ history, we decided that the time had come to acknowledge that Reconciliation with the Indigenous people was urgently required.
“Besides the ubiquitous statement that Danica operates on unceded territory, we were looking for something more tangible - something that would make a difference in the life of an Indigenous person. So, given our company’s graphic and product design core competency, and the proximity of Emily Carr University, we found a natural fit that resulted in the creation of the Danica Imports Awards for Indigenous students enrolled in the Design Department.”
Both awards will be administered by Indigenous staff and faculty at ECU, which aligns with the university’s EDI principles of decolonization and self-determination. The Danica Imports Awards for Indigenous Students and Native Northwest Reconciliation Fund Aboriginal Awards will be awarded this fall.
Thank you for making this important gesture and contribute to our Indigenous students’ success.
Paying it Forward | Shawn Larsen’s Legacy
When Shawn Larsen, a devoted mother of two, passed away in May 2018, her family and friends knew they wanted to pay tribute to her by helping other creative individuals. Together, they undertook grassroots fundraising activities with the goal of creating a bursary at Emily Carr, where Shawn received her BFA in 2006.
Last fall, the goal was accomplished when Shawn’s mother, Laura Boyd, signed the agreement to establish the Shawn Larsen Memorial Award. The award will provide annual bursary funding for Aboriginal students. Shawn walked this earth with grace, humour, beauty, and creativity and deeply touched those privileged enough to share her journey. It is her family’s hope that Shawn’s legacy will be passed on through this award.
Emily Carr University Stewardship Report
We are proud to introduce the new Emily Carr University Stewardship Report. In this first edition, you will read about new community members, student and faculty achievements, and get caught up with news you may have missed over the past months, as well as an overview by our President and Vice-Chancellor, Dr. Gillian Siddall.
There have been many changes and so many reasons for us to celebrate despite the pandemic, and we want to share some of the wonderful news and accomplishments of our Emily Carr University community over the past year.