If you love the arts, you are never at a loss for things to do, no matter where you live. Since discovering the arts scene in Vancouver a few years ago through Pandora’s Collective (a non-profit organization that makes poetry readings, workshops, writing groups, book clubs, and more, accessible to the community), I’ve had countless opportunities to release my creativity. I’ve written poetry to art exhibits, read my work on stages, attended writing groups and even currently host one through Pandora’s Collective. I’ve enjoyed the work of others, and have learned a lot from professional artists. And this all came about from nothing. No degree in English literature. No fancy schmancy Ph.D. in Art History. Just a love of words and creative expression.

This post is meant to encourage you to get out there and find the places that offer this for you. Find the people who welcome writers of all stages to become part of their community. And even, to encourage you to start something up of your own – be it a book club, or a few friends gathering around your kitchen table to write.

As part of #3ThingsThursday, I’m sharing with you 3 things you can do around Vancouver to let your inner artist have some fun! #3ThingsThursday is a linkup hosted by Pink Chai Living, The Write Balance and Love Laugh Mirch – check out their sites to link up or simply to have a great read!


1. Jamie Smith is a local artist who you may remember created a beautiful piece of art to honour my baby girl. Besides pouring her heart into these custom pieces, Jamie is a visionary in the work of combining words and visual art. The work she does with a community project called, The Love Letter Project, is just brilliant! A year ago, The Love Letter Project began inviting, the public to write letters online, published here. The letters became a place to turn to for support and encouragement. Topics such as loss, illness, relationships, self-image and more are all covered. Last summer, Jamie and 17 other artists each took a letter from ‘the pile’ and depicted it visually. And now, these paintings/photographs and their counterpart letters are a gorgeous, one-of-a-kind book for the public to celebrate on Friday February 6th from 6:3o-10 pm at the Omega Gallery (4290 Dunbar St. Vancouver). Check out all the artists here and give their event page a ‘like’ to stay updated.

2. Twisted Poets Literary Salon is hosted by Pandora’s Collective on the 2nd Wednesday and 4th Thursday of every month at the Cottage Bistro (4468 Main St. Vancouver). Doors open at 7 pm when you can sign up for the evening’s open mic portion until 7:30 pm. Then the two featured poets take the stage – and believe me, Vancouver is not short of AMAZING writers! It’s an evening of literary surprises in a warm, encouraging environment. Emerging and established writers get to hang out together, and just have fun! If 2015 is the year you have decided to get out there and ‘do the different’, this is a great place to be! (There’s one tonight if you can swing it!)

One of the hosts, and the Executive Director of Pandora's Collective, Bonnie Nish

One of the hosts, and the Executive Director of Pandora’s Collective, Bonnie Nish

3. Word Whips is also hosted by Pandora’s Collective; this is a free, drop-in writing group where the hosts provide prompts, the participants write for 10-15 minutes, and then the floor is opened for sharing (optional). Currently, there’s one in Vancouver, on the North Shore and in White Rock (I host the one in White Rock), and the days/times vary with each group. They do occur monthly and we have quite a group of regulars. What I love best about these nights is that one prompt can be expressed in as many different ways as there are writers. This was the first Pandora’s Collective event I went to when I was emerging from the Land of Blah (a really dark time) back in 2009. I hadn’t written anything really in years, and had never actually shared my work. I couldn’t stop writing at that session and I shared everything I wrote. It’s a safe, friendly environment just meant to get those juices flowing and build community.

Sign up for Pandora’s Collective’s e-news here or by clicking on their logo below to stay abreast of these events plus so much more!


Do you have a favourite artist event in your town/city that you’d like to share? I’d love to hear!