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
The Youth Centre/Alphabet Soup, Ace MacKay-Smith & Mercedes Nicoll
Proceeds will benefit: The Youth Centre/Alphabet Soup
The Youth Centre (YC) works with youth 13-18 years of age with a drop in center and a referral capacity, linking youth to various resources and strives to create a safe and stimulating environment for all youth to call their own. Alphabet Soup is a monthly drop-in program for LGBTQ+ individuals along with their friends, family, and allies.
Artists: Ace MacKay-Smith & Mercedes Nicoll
Immature artist and professional scrounger, Ace MacKay-Smith has been repurposing materials all her life (ask about her toaster head) and riding chairlifts even longer, so this project fit her to a T-bar. Mercedes Nicoll is a four-time winter Olympian in snowboard halfpipe. During recovery from a crash at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Mercedes turned to art and hasn’t looked back since.
*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 artists Ace MacKay-Smith and Mercedes Nicoll:
Immature artist. Professional scrounger.
Ace MacKay-Smith has been repurposing materials all her life (ask about her toaster head) and riding chairlifts even longer, so this project fit her to a T-bar. Besides ski bum, Ace was voted Whitsler’s favourite DJ (Pique Newsmagazine) and has been a filmmaker, event producer (Art+Soul), writer, photographer, dancer and grilled cheese eater.
facebook.com/djfoxymoron | @thefoxymoron
Mercedes Nicoll is a Whistler local and four-time winter Olympian in snowboard halfpipe. During recovery from a crash at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Mercedes turned to art and hasn’t looked back since. Creating works from acrylic paints Mercedes enjoys bringing smiles to people’s faces through her art.
Whistler Youth Centre(YC)/Alphabet Soup
The YC has been operating for over 15 years and is a successful tool used by the Whistler community and visitors. We work with youth 13-18 years of age and primarily function as a drop in center with a referral capacity, linking youth to various resources (mental, sexual health & educational resources etc.) We also create programs and special events for our youth clientele. Our mandate is to create a safe and stimulating environment for all youth to call their own.We work closely with Whistler Secondary School and other local organizations such as: Whistler Community Services Society, Whistler Public Library, Whistler Blackcomb Mountain Alliance, & LUNA (partner program focusing on 18-35 year olds), to name a few. The Youth Workers and Program Leaders at The YC also act as a referral source for youth and assist them with things like attaining a new or first job, reference letters, school & social struggles, mental health, and really any issues that one might have. Alphabet Soup is a monthly drop-in program for LGBTQ+ individuals along with their friends, family, and allies. A place to make friendships and build community while sharing some fun activities as well as resources, ideas, successes, and challenges.
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: