In 2003, artist Valerie Durant , was recording sounds at Portside Park at the foot of Main Street for a New Media sound and architectural installation project, entitled Points and Perforations, for which she had recently received a Canada Council grant. Under her umbrella, in the pouring rain she embarked on a conversation with a woman who lived on the street, while she offered her shelter from the pouring rain. They shared details about the similarities of their formative years, while face-to-face for over an hour. The woman, was intelligent, educated, a former banker, a mother of two young children and a homeless drug addict, was desperate and looking for shelter. Valerie gave the woman her umbrella, and the connection between them became the catalyst for Out of the Rain .
The encounter brought experientially to Valerie, whose conceptual art practice explores the dichotomy between social end economic diversity, the true reality of the life of people living on the street. Her direct experience stirred a passionate desire to make a difference and assist others through an art and social justice project. She wanted to bring diverse groups together through the connectivity of the arts, for deeper understanding, awareness with an aim to facilitate and change. During the fall of 2004 Valerie participated in the Landmark SELP Education Program. It was in this program that she created the possibility for Out of the Rain .
Artists, art therapists and community programmers participated in the project, entitled, Out of the Rain . Through the arts, this core group participated on a citywide community art event and fundraiser. Art has the ability to communicate and effect change in a non-verbal and non- threatening way and open doors for further discussion to effect change. The intent was to empower artists to create an environment where the homeless and member of the general public expressed their ideas and opinions creatively in a non-judgmental way. Artists, through this collective process brought a deeper understanding about homelessness to groups and individuals that would not normally interact.
This website provides a link between artists, community groups, organizations, societies and government bodies working on homelessness. It provides information and recourses that will empower artists through open communication to continue to develop and participate in future projects.
Although fundraising was not the primary goal, proceeds from the November project funded organizations that work with individuals therapeutically, through the arts, to address a multitude of underlying issues that are at the root cause of homelessness.
The outcome of this event is that Vancouver’s Arts community, through their creative efforts, succeeded in directly benefiting individuals living on the street.
The core members of Out of the Rain , A Project for Homelessness , included Valerie Durant , Leslie Adams , Marcia Pitch and Ingrid Fluevog .