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submiT – what are you connecting?

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Yes, I am shaking things up from ‘who’ are you connecting, and shifting the focus to a ‘what’.  Why? Well…I recently attended submiT, an evening devoted to connecting local artists to sustainable education in Ethiopia through a fun, accessible and maybe unconventional medium – t-shirts. This years’ event reached a new height of awareness and contribution. And, it truly was all about connecting – across borders, across traditions and across networks.

submiT is an annual event that was founded to create a contribution. Moreso than that, it was one of the original Creatributions that was developed to support the work of imagine1day – an organization that is on a mission to create sustainable education for all Ethiopians. This Creatribution (an innovative and fun take on fundraising that involves a creative event) was the brainchild of Lacey Norton. With a passion for art, culture and fashion the unique spin that Lacey wanted to put on her event was to highlight local artists and incorporate the artwork into a garment. What better and more universally vocal way to share what you love and believe in than sporting it on your ‘t?

The submiT 2012 event focused on ‘what are you connecting?’ – with the events’ stance being ART + EDUCATION. Other members of the Vancouver community were committed to connecting people and passions, education and leadership, fashion and community – among many other ideas, actions and ideas. What I experienced while at the event was unlike previous years in how that sense of connectivity was vibrating within the Roundhouse – so much so it was audible from around the corner and palpable as we drew closer to the doors. The space encouraged conversation – with the artists’ work displayed around the room and with a focal point in the center of the space where you could purchase both t-shirts and limited edition prints. The artists milled through the event easily and were open to and accessible for conversation and sharing. The guests shared smiles and laughs in the photo booth, connected around the art and created the most friendly of atmospheres with multiple introductions, handshakes and hugs.

As much as the event is held annually to impact global change and bring resources and opportunity to communities in Ethiopia, the local impact and opportunity that it creates is sizeable. The Vancouver community comes together for a night to celebrate local artists making unique connections to our fine city and it’s equally as unique culture. This toast to our local artists not only develops broader networks of art enthusiasts, but connects them directly to the empowerment of a country through the power of education. No small feat – yet through making these local connections and sharing their craft, they are the impact.

The 2012 event was an unbridled success.  From tickets selling out prior to the show with attendees searching high and low for last minute access to Zoe Pawlak and Jon Shaw (two artists) selling out (their t-shirts, limited prints and original work) – the party progressed wonderfully, encouraged connecting and sent home some very happy attendees with unique, and, in some cases one of a kind, pieces. Bringing some of the most creative local artists into one space and sharing their craft through an unconventional medium sparked conversations throughout the evening that truly did create connection – near and far.

Future submiT events are sure to come – with more unique art from inspirational local artists who have a passion for their craft and a drive to create impact. And, you can keep your eye out for other Creatributions that support the work of imagine1day through their events page on their website.

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