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
Mature Action Community & Tonnja Kopp
Proceeds will benefit: The Mature Action Community
MAC strives to make Whistler an inclusive, supportive community where residents can actively and comfortably age in place. They connect, engage and advocate for Whistler seniors.
Artist: Tonnja Kopp
Tonnja Kopp’s passion lies in the act of creation. She was born in Canada but raised in Switzerland where her experiences cultivated her
love for art. Natural objects in unusual, unique compositions or astonishing light conditions are some of her favourite subjects.
*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:
Artist Tonnja Kopp
Tonnja Kopp’s passion lies in the act of creation. She was born in Canada but raised in Switzerland where her experiences cultivated her love for art.
Tonnja has also trained as an elementary school teacher, specializing in art and industrial art. After teaching 6 years in Switzerland she decided to move to Canada and turn her passion into a career. As a visual artist, Tonnja strives to connect her patrons with the beauty of nature found near her new home in Squamish, British Columbia. Nature is Tonnja’s motif. Surrounded by awe inspiring mountains and deep lush forests, makes her feel alive! This is what truly inspires her. Natural objects in unusual, unique compositions or astonishing light conditions are some of her favourite subjects. Next to painting rock formations, stones and plants, Tonnja loves to paint bears. Bears have been her favourite animal since childhood and appear often in her work. She’s particularly drawn to their raw strength, sheer size and power, which is in direct contrast to their playful and tranquil demeanor. Tonnja’s main medium is acrylic which she uses on various materials like canvas, wood and MDF panels.
Mature Action Community
MAC strives to make Whistler an inclusive, supportive community where residents can actively and comfortably age in place. They connect, engage and advocate for Whistler seniors. Seniors who have contributed many working years to the community, continue to be of benefit and value to the community, as they provide a valuable historic knowledge of the community; typically have a high degree of community volunteerism; provide greater demographic diversity; and contribute to stronger family and social structures.
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: