LIFTing the Community
Retired Catskinner Chairs Find New Life As Works of Art with LIFTing the Community
Outdoor Exhibit: Whistler Village and Upper Village | FREE, all ages | June – August, 2021
AWARE & Ben Poechman
Proceeds will benefit: AWARE
The Association of Whistler Area Residents for the Environment (AWARE) has been Whistler’s environmental charity for more than 30 years. We work independently and with others to respectfully connect people with nature and build more sustainable communities.
Artist: Ben Poechman
Benjamin Jacob Poechman was born and raised on an organic egg farm in the foothills of southern Ontario. Ben’s creative focus has focused on moving from “what” to “why”. With this approach he finds new ways to bring about positive change through his work.
*As this is an outdoor exhibit, all chairs will be touched up by the artists before going to their new home. Find our more about the auction
Discover the story behind the chair and find out more about the artist and organization:
Paired with artist Ben Poechman
Benjamin Jacob Poechman was born and raised on an organic egg farm in the foothills of southern Ontario. With big mountain dreams and a passion for snowboarding he graduated high school and headed straight for Whistler, BC. After five years of working seasonally to fund the adventurous winter pursuits of an aspiring professional snowboarder, he began to search for a better balance. In 2017, Ben quit his job landscaping to explore a more soulful purpose. His first discovery was an apprenticeship at a stone carving studio in Function Junction. There he began creating stone inukshuks for an art gallery over the summer, which led to full time employment and eventually the skills he needed to create pieces harvested from his own imaginations. The miracle of creative expression consumed him that first year, as he began to experiment and explore new mediums to share his dreams and inspirations. Ben first started painting water colours for birthday gifts and random acts of kindness for friends and family. He later discovered acrylics, and canvas, as a whole new world opened up to him. Now, Ben’s focus has shifted from “what” he is creating to “why”. With this newfound approach he continues to find new ways to bring about positive change through each new series of work. While he continues to explore new mediums, the root intentions for his work run deep.
The Association of Whistler Area Residents for the Environment (AWARE) has been Whistler’s environmental charity for over 30 years. We work independently and with others to respectfully connect people with nature and build more sustainable communities by progressing community-scale solutions to some of the biggest challenges of our time: Climate Change; Biodiversity Loss; Habitat Fragmentation; Species Protection; Waste, Water & Energy Conservation.
LIFTing the Community
Local artists have transformed 15 retired Catskinner ski lift chairs into works of art, reflecting the theme of belonging as perceived by 15 community groups that actively contribute to community life. LIFTing the Community has been created to enhance the sense of belonging in Whistler and the Sea to Sky. Whether Whistler is home for a season or a lifetime, a sense of belonging benefits us all. In our ever-growing and changing community, wellness, connection and a sense of home needs to be fostered, practiced, discussed and experienced by our community.
With support from Vail Resort’s Epic Promise fund, in partnership with Tourism Whistler and the Whistler Blackcomb Foundation, Arts Whistler has paired some of the Sea to Sky’s most exciting artists with 15 community groups to reimagine trusty old Catskinner lift chairs into compelling works of art. Tourism Whistler recently provided space for the artists to work in the Whistler Conference Centre.
The reimagined chairs are on display throughout the summer in Whistler Village for people to explore, experience and discover their own spirit of belonging. Chairs will be auctioned off with the funds going to the community organizations to support their programs that support community belonging and wellbeing.
Learn more about all of the participating community groups and creative artists paired with them:
- Arts Whistler | Anna Lynch
- Audain Art Museum | Dave Petko & Liz Thomson
- AWARE | Ben Poechman
- Kids on the Move | Kris Kups
- Mature Action Community | Tonnja Kopp
- The Point Artist Run Centre | Sherry Klassen
- Squamish Arts Council | Kendra Hicks
- Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre | Taka Sudo & Dominique Nahanee
- Whistler Adaptive Sport Program | Vanessa Stark
- Whistler Blackcomb Foundation | Mike Tyler & Bob Van Engelsdorp
- Whistler Community Foundation | Stan Matwychuk
- Whistler Community Services Society & Laura Scarr
- Whistler Museum and Archives | Alyssa Bruijns
- Whistler Public Library | Michaela Ivancova
- Whistler Youth Centre/Alphabet Soup | Ace Mackay-Smith & Mercedes Nicoll
Take yourself on a tour and discover all of the chairs for yourself!
With thanks to our sponsor Epic Promise, and project partners:
Thanks to Neutron Factory Works for production support.
Accommodation provided by: