Welcome to WePress, a new community artspace in the Downtown Eastside (DTES) of Vancouver, BC, Canada on the unceded territories of the Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), xwməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), and mi ce:p kwətxwiləm (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations. WePress 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 strive to be inclusive and accessible by welcoming 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, methods, and equipment 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 – for example, 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 non-profit that involves education and training, resources for local individuals and organizations, creation of visual artwork and independent print publications, and provides economic and retail opportunities, while working to create 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 retails opportunities.
We’d like to thank:
- the Community Arts Council of Vancouver for being a partner in our first year and for selling the Woodward’s letterpress and type collection to WePress for $1!
- the Vancouver Foundation, who funded the start-up of WePress and currently funds our operations
- Tinkerine, who sponsored us through a discount on our 3D printer
- our partners, Gallery Gachet, and the Powell Street Festival Society
- all of our current and past funders, sponsors, and supporters
- and of course, all of you WePress supporters who take our workshops and come to our events!
photo by john endo greenaway