Crowdfunded Magpie’s Nest Studio opens in East Vancouver

By JERICHO KNOPP on APR 25, 2014

Community members participate in a yarn bombing workshop held by Magpie’s Nest.


AFTER MONTHS OF pop-up events and a successful crowdfunding campaign, Magpie’s Nest Studio is finally ready for its grand opening.

The new East Vancouver community art studio will offer classes, workshops, and space for people to do their own thing. Indeed, the studio aims to be a safe space for anybody who is interested in making art.

“We really wanted a space where community members could come together and create art together in a different way,” says Sarah Peacock, the director of Magpie’s Nest Community Art Society. “We were looking for a space that’s affordable and accessible to anyone.”

As an art therapist, Peacock understands the transformative powers of art well. “The first time that I did art, I felt it was so empowering,” she says. “I see how individuals benefit from being able to create something. To make something with your hands is very powerful.”

The community aspect of the studio is also significant. “Having a common goal, having something that you’re working on, and being able to see what other people are working on is really unique and magical,” Peacock says.

In the beginning, Magpie’s Nest held pop-up events in numerous locations, but the goal was to find a permanent space for their work. Luckily, they heard of one from the people at the library, who mentioned the space at Vancouver Status of Women. It was the right price, in the right neighbourhood, so Peacock jumped onboard.

crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo was set up and numerous fundraisers were held to raise money to open the space up. The Hastings-Sunrise neighbourhood was supportive, and they were able to raise enough to build up some savings.

“We were able to get a good kind of nest egg so that we are able to cover our rent for the first couple of months that we’re in this studio,” says Peacock. “It gave us the freedom to just start up whenever we’re ready.”

Now, they are finally ready for opening day, and their inaugural event will take place on April 26 from 2 to 5 p.m. There will be a wide range of activities, including seed planting, button making, and face painting.

As for the types of events they will hold in the future? The sky is the limit. “In the future we’re hoping to have community members come in and teach workshops about anything that they like,” says Peacock.

Magpie’s Nest Studio is located at the Vancouver Status of Women at 2652 East Hastings Street.


Online Funding Campaign Seeks to OpenCommunity Art Space in East Vancouver

by YOLANDE COLE in the Georgia Straight on SEP 12, 2013

Magpie’s Nest Community Art Society has held “pop-up” art studio events, and hopes to open a permanent space.

AN EAST VANCOUVER group is hoping to raise enough support to open a community art space in the Hastings Sunrise neighbourhood.

Sarah Peacock, the director of Magpie’s Nest Community Art Society, said the group has launched an online funding campaignand is planning a series of fundraising activities in an effort to lease a studio.

Since forming about a year ago, the non-profit society has organized eight “pop-up” studio events intended to provide an affordable, accessible arts space that engages community members.

“We kind of see art as a way to foster community, because it’s something that equalizes people,” Peacock told the Straight by phone. “Everyone sits down and they’re engaged in the creative process and you don’t really need to speak the same language or be the same age.”

Peacock said the group hopes to host open studio time and workshops at the space, and to make it available for rentals for other artists that want to host events there.

She noted the open studio concept is prevalent in other cities like Montreal, but is lacking in Vancouver.

“There’s a lot of art studios, and they can be sort of expensive and have that feeling of being elite almost, and we just want it to be…open and welcoming to everybody,” she said. “Especially with the focus in the city about trying to bring people together and create community.”

The Magpie’s Nest Community Art Society consists of five members with a range of artistic backgrounds. Peacock and another member are art therapists, while the others have experience with mediums including painting, mixed media, and photography.

The group is hosting an art sale at Baaad Anna’s Yarn Store at 2667 East Hastings Street on Friday (September 13) from 7 to 9 p.m. Its other upcoming events include a collage workshop at the Hastings Community Centre on September 21 and a community map-making workshop at Kiwassa Neighbourhood House on October 5.


Local arts group aims to nurture creativity

Magpie hosting free ‘upcycling’ workshop sunday afternoonDSCF9202

AUGUST 16, 2013

Art therapist Sarah Peacock didn’t try painting until she was in her mid-20s.

“There’s a stereotype as art as something that’s elite. For me, I was always really nervous to even do art,” said Peacock, now 30. “We need to take it back as a community… Each person is creative. It’s an innate part of what we are as people.

She and four other women have formed a group called Magpie’s Nest Community Arts Space to realize such a place in Vancouver.

“We just really value creativity and there’s not many spaces where people can go and feel at home,” Peacock said. “People can create with members of different generations, different cultures in a way that people don’t normally come together.” Peacock said she and the other artists and art therapists involved envision a storefront equipped with coffee, tea and materials where members could drop in to make something or attend a special workshop that’s led by a peer who’s sharing a skill, rather than an expert or teacher. She said they’re considering charging members a monthly or yearly fee that would be less expensive than taking an art class. They hope to be offer a pay-what-youcan option. In the meantime, Magpie’s Nest has been holding popup studios since April at the Pacific National Exhibition fairgrounds, Astorino’s and Britannia Community Centre.

The group will run a free “upcycling” workshop at Artful Sundays, Aug. 18, at Napier Street and Commercial Drive from noon to 5 p.m. Participants of any age can use chopsticks, shells and bottle caps to fashion mobiles or whatever else their hearts desire.

Peacock said the group came together last year when the city offered artist residencies in its field houses. Their application wasn’t successful and neither were their grant applications to national bodies, but they’ve snagged community grants. Their passion convinced diners at Britannia Community Services Centre’s East Feast community microfunding project to give Magpie’s Nest the $1,000 raised in ticket sales for the June event, which convinced Peacock the group should focus on grassroots fundraising.

Magpie’s Nest launched an Indiegogo fundraising campaign Wednesday to raise $7,650 to cover three months rent and bills to build its membership so the space could become self-sustaining. The organizers have found a space in the Hastings-Sunrise area that they’re interested in.

Peacock, who works alongside two other Magpie members in the Artworks Studio at the George Derby Centre veteran’s residential care home in Burnaby, just returned from studying community art studios through Concordia University in Montreal.

She wants to see more community-based creative activity for all ages in Vancouver.

“I see a lot of people taking their kids to things,” she said. “But we really want to reach the parents, too.”

Artful Sundays runs until and including Sept 1. Each Sunday features a different group of local artists, demonstrations and workshops, live music and tealeaf reading.

For more information, see


Screen shot 2013-09-18 at 9.27.37 PM





Canadian Art Therapy Journal 

September 13, 2012- Page 13

DSCN2579Vancouver Community Art 

Non-Profit Campaigns For A Space 

Magpie’s Nest Community Art Society was recently incorporated as non-profit by a multi-generational group of five Vancouver-based artists, art facilitators and art therapists. The Society approaches art-making and the creative process as an essential part of being human. The Magpies view art as an important means of self-expression and social connection, not only an elite discipline for the trained artist or “cultured” observer.

As a symbol, Magpie’s are collectors of potential. They see discarded items as gems, building their nest sculptures by finding the shiny bits of meaning in them. The five founders consider themselves magpies, looking for meaning in the every day and taking those discarded items to upcycle into something new, beautiful and functional.

The Vancouver non-profit society’s core mandate is to offer space for art-making that is affordable, accessible and engages members of the community in a meaningful way. Magpie’s Nest has offered eight pop-up art studios in East Vancouver in the past six months. The pop-ups are themed creative art workshops, including mural making with fabric, assemblages with natural materials and upcycling.

Magpie’s Nest workshops encourage participants to be spontaneous with art materials and to get to know their neighbours. Upcoming pop-up events include a collage workshop at Hastings Community Centre on September 21st and community map-making at Kiwassa Neighbourhood House on October 5th.

With the ongoing success of the pop-ups, the Society is eager to find a permanent space. There is a need in our community for collaborative “public homeplaces”. Recent research from the Vancouver Foundation tells us that Vancouverites feel isolated and want to connect with their neighbours. Working with your hands can be a chance to “unplug” from technology and create with others. It is rare and valuable to work together as a true community with people from different backgrounds and experiences. Art-making can transcend language and social barriers. A permanent studio would offer the predictability needed for community members to come together.

A Hastings Park Pop-Up participant wrote that she and her family “would love to have something like this [in the neighbourhood] permanently”. Magpie’s Nest Community Art Space hopes to jump-start the process of leasing a studio space in Hasting-Sunrise’s East Village and have launched an online funding campaign through in hopes of engaging local community art supporters. This campaign will be open for contributions until September 14.

Leave a Reply