A crowd of about fifty people jammed into the cozy gift shop and artist workspace at 153A St. Anne’s Road for the special event.
The Scrap Came Back store, which has been open since November 2013, is a venture sponsored by DASCH — Direct Action in Support of Community Homes. DASCH has built and provided homes for Manitobans with learning disabilities for the last 40 years in Winnipeg.
“DASCH is one of Manitoba’s largest residential and program support providers for youth and adults with intellectual disabilities,” said DASCH CEO Karen Fonseth Schlossberg, as she addressed the crowd before the ribbon was cut by Fred Penner and herself.
Schlossberg personally thanked Fred Penner for kindly allowing DASCH to play on the name of his wonderfully popular song, ‘The Cat Came Back.’
“The Scrap Came Back Store will provide opportunities for our residents to earn an income, and learn skills to secure other employment,” she said. “It offers an opportunity to showcase their artistic talents and work to the community. It also provides DASCH with a great opportunity to create awareness in the community … about people living with intellectual disabilities. It is a fantastic opportunity for DASCH to really connect with the community, and also bring awareness to the work the agency does,” Schlossberg said.
Many artists were in attendance, like clothing artist Sherri Glenwright whose two children were pretty excited to be able to meet Fred Penner. But when they got the chance to get a photo with him they became a little shy.
Art From the Heart (AFTH) artists Maurice and Jeanette Dzama were also on hand, and Maurice wasn’t too shy to ask Fred for an autograph. Painter Rick Emslie (AFTH) was also there, as was Russian artist Margarita Guretski, whose ships, made out of woven paper, are for sale in the store.
Several other DASCH supported artists were in the workshop in the back of the store creating their works of art before the ribbon was cut, like Brian George who was working on a beautiful picture of a rabbit. George also acted as the doorman for the event and assisted with the cutting of the ribbon.
The Scrap Came Back Store is truly a team effort, with volunteers like Jennifer Adams helping out at the cash register, which rang up quite a few sales on this day. Adams has lived with three other residents in one of the houses that DASCH built last year. Several other DASCH supported artists also helped out.
Veteran artist and second hand visionary, Candis Militere, who was brought on board five months ago has worked tirelessly since she was hired, helping the artists with their projects along with organizing and setting up the store.
Militere, who has 30 years of upcycling experience (bringing an item back to life by creating something out of it and keeping it out of the landfill at the same time), was brought on board by Director of Development, Susanne Williams, to facilitate and assist the artists in the workshops held there.
The store sells many unique pieces of art which make great gifts for all occasions as well as greeting cards, paintings and jewellery. All of the art is locally made by Manitoba artists and the artists sell their work on commission with proceeds going towards funding DASCH projects.
Also on hand was Carole O’Brien, Art From The Heart director. Art From the Heart has partnered with the Scrap Came Back Store to showcase some of their artists.
Art From the Heart has hosted an annual art sale in the fall at Magnus Eliason Recreation Center for the past 13 years. Art From the Heart is a community of inner city and low income artists, with all proceeds from any sale going to the artists.
O’Brien was seen chatting at the store with Bhaktimarga Swami, also known as the Walking Monk, who has walked across Canada three times and is finishing his fourth walk this year.
DASCH will be having a fundraising luncheon on April 10th from 11:30 am to 2:00 pm at the Hotel Fort Garry’s Grand Ballroom, where the honouree will be Fred Penner. Tickets are $90 with sponsorship packages also available.
Penner had a sister with Down syndrome who passed away at the tender age of 12-years-old and he is quite happy to be helping DASCH in their fundraising efforts.
All photos by Doug Kretchmer