Welcome to WePress, a new, accessible, Community Artspace in the Downtown Eastside (DTES) of Vancouver, BC, Canada on Unceded Coast Salish Territory! We opened on February 8th, 2016.
Our purpose is to use historic and contemporary methods of print and art-making to support learning, skills development and creative communications for personal and community benefit amongst residents and friends of the Downtown Eastside.
As a community social enterprise, WePress provides the instruments for people with little means to give voice to their stories, their lived experience, and their dreams through print art, enabling others to see them as they choose to be seen.
We welcome diverse groups of people, including those marginalized by class, sexuality, gender, race, culture, disability, mental health, and addictions. WePress provides access to a unique assortment of hard-to-access technologies, including a letterpress and type (wood, polymer, and metal letterforms, and soon, a set of 8000+ Chinese characters), an industrial sewing machine, and a 3D printer.
Our goal is to make technologies and the methods of the new maker culture accessible to DTES residents who wouldn’t normally have venues to be creative with this kind of equipment. Usually, it is expensive to use these technologies – such at Makerspaces that cost $100 or more a month for membership, in academic or institutional settings, or are visualized or set up to be inaccessible to many marginalized individuals.
WePress is a small collectively run social enterprise that involves education and training, resources for local individuals and organizations, creation of visual artwork and independent print publications, and economic and retail opportunities, while creating an inclusive, open and safe space for the community in the DTES. Our mandate will focus on providing accessibility, capacity building and artistic development opportunities for DTES artists and residents that generate revenue through workshops and a community membership system.
We’d like to thank:
- our partners, the Community Arts Council of Vancouver, Gallery Gachet, and the Powell Street Festival Society
- the Vancouver Foundation, who funded the start-up of WePress
- Tinkerine, who sponsored us through a discount on our 3D printer
- and of course, all of you WePress supporters!
Currently, we are volunteer run, but we have applied for funding from various sources to see if we can sustain this community gathering place. Please join our email list to receive the latest news, and if you like the idea of WePress and would like to support us, please donate now or join our GoFundMe Campaign!
photo by john endo greenaway