Art Moves and sparks community on your commute

The TransLink residency is bringing free performances to passengers

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A skytrain in motion.
PHOTO: Afsaneh Keivanshekouh / The Peak

By: Petra Chase, Arts & Culture Editor

As a Vancouver resident without a driver’s license, hopping on and off buses and trains is a normal, everyday occurrence. Even though on transit I’m surrounded by people with similar routines — students on their way to lecture, service workers who barely made it out of bed in time for their morning shift — there is a looming sense of disconnect. Despite being in close proximity to fellow commuters (sometimes literally rubbing against them during the 5:00 p.m. rush), feeling a sense of alienation in public spaces has always felt like a part of life in the city.

On January 20, I witnessed something different. Fiddler Gabriel Dubreuil and guitarist Andy Hillhouse performed a traditional fiddle concert for the train cart, playing a spectrum of swing, jazz, and folk. From VCC Clarke to Lafarge Lake Douglas, I felt connected to a sea of strangers. Faces lit up as people entered at every station seeming pleasantly surprised at first, and eventually settling into expressions of joy. Each song ended with a gratitude-filled applause. All around me, phones were out of sight, as there was no need for a distraction from the current time and place. We were all brought together by the shared sensorial experience of beautiful music and surrounding Burnaby city lights. It was a reminder that art still has the power to bring people together and remind us of our shared humanity. 

This performance was part of TransLink’s Art Moves residency program, wherein each month, a local artist performs for TransLink riders. Produced by Laura Barron, via her non-profit, Instruments of Change, Art Moves seeks to give recognition to BC’s diverse artistic talent from musicians to live painters, and magicians to dancers. The program also “invite[s] riders to surprise and delight in these artful happenings.” In February, you can catch SkyTrain and SeaBus performances by soul singer-songwriter, Krystle Dos Santos, with special guests, Scott Verbeek and Gavin Youngash. Santos recently won R&B artist of the year at the Western Canadian Music Awards. 

Find out about performance times on TransLink’s website.

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