Enterprising Women Making Art
Enterprising Women Making Art (EWMA) program is an initiative that allows skills sharing and enables self-employment through arts and crafts for women impacted by violence and who face significant barriers to traditional employment. The program, whose studio and storefront are located in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, offers women income-generating opportunities free from exploitation, abuse, and other vulnerabilities. The program runs workshops where artists train and mentor women on skills which can be transformed into income generating products. Such workshops include fashion design and sewing, moccasin making, dream catcher making, rattle making, Japanese paper folding and Indigenous beadwork among others. The studio space is open for women to work on their own projects. In collaboration with partners, we support women to showcase their work at exhibitions such as the Indigenous Fashion Week and exhibition events at the Italian Cultural Center. Women are also welcome to sell their final products through our storefront. EWMA focusses on building women’s capabilities and knowledge by increasing their access to lucrative markets and sales.
Through its programming, EWMA also supports women to build community and nurture their mental wellness. Atira Women’s Arts Society firmly believes in the agency and resilience of the women we work with at EWMA, women who have traditionally been marginalized and excluded from full participation in their communities, and we are committed to providing opportunities and a safe and inclusive environment where they can develop their artistic and other skills while also developing and deepening their connections with their peers and neighbours.
We are a low-barrier community organization for women who are marginalized by their experiences of poverty, violence, homelessness, struggles with substance use, who face significant barriers to traditional employment and who seek safe, income-generating opportunities free from exploitation, abuse or other vulnerabilities