VANCOUVER – On Friday, November 13 CUPE locals 1004 and 1936 representing workers at the PHS Community Services Society launched a unique collaborative exhibition called frontline. Featuring the artwork of members with a focus on the work that they do in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside (DTES), the exhibit demonstrates the caring and creativity of this special group of workers.

Co-sponsored by CUPE National, CUPE BC and the two CUPE locals, the exhibit offers a unique window into the integrated services that CUPE members offer for an under-served and hard to house population.

CUPE 1004 member Cleo Neville, who spearheaded the project and whose artwork is on the cover the exhibit catalogue, says that the project began as a small idea and a conversation between coworkers about the role that art has played in responding to the workplace. “What began as a conversation has grown into an exciting collaboration that showcases the necessity of creativity as an outlet and a motivator in the work that we do,” says Neville.

CUPE 1004 President Andrew Ledger says that he is very impressed, but not surprised at the show. “Frontline CUPE work in the Downtown Eastside has always attracted artists, activists and visionaries. It’s no coincidence that so many of us are artists. The compassion and creativity that we use to create our art also makes us a caring and committed workforce, fighting for the residents of the DTES.”

The frontline exhibit opening gala on November 13 featured music, poetry, and visual art. CUPE BC Secretary-Treasurer Paul Faoro joined CUPE members, their families and friends for an evening of celebration, creativity and camaraderie. The show runs until November 27 at the Red Gate Art Society - 855 East Hastings in Vancouver. Check out the frontline Facebook event for more information.

Visit the CUPE BC gallery to view photos.