Artists contributing to Arts Umbrella Splash 2022 include Dana Claxton, Bobby Bergers, Jeff Wall | Catch My Job


Launched in 1979 with 45 children, Arts Umbrella aims to instill a love of art in young people and help them develop confidence, creativity and empathy. The organization now reaches more than 24,000 young people each year, more than 80 percent of whom are served through bursaries, scholarships and donor-funded programs.

“We’ve come a long way, baby,” Henriquez said with a laugh in a phone interview with Steer. “Part of the reason artists donate is because they really believe in Arts Umbrella and what we do. Most kids won’t necessarily go into art, but they will take that experience of creativity and communicate it to everything they do in life. It’s someone who can think outside the box: that’s what Arts Umbrella gives them as well as confidence in their skills.”

Henriquez, who has served as executive director of Arts Umbrella for 25 years, is a sculptor and a member of the Order of Canada with the BC Entertainment Hall of Fame “Star” on Granville Street. He recalls one day when he was grocery shopping and a woman approached him and said she recognized Henriquez. The woman said: “My daughter called me this morning. He’s a lawyer in Chicago, and he said ‘I’m going to a court case this morning, Mom, and I’m running my theater classes at Arts Umbrella.’

“The skill sets they learn at Arts Umbrella are transferable to anything they do in life,” Henriquez said. “They take them with them. It’s very powerful to me.”


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