Along with Justine, I started Project Thankful–a social campaign in Vancouver during May 2013. Our first project as Exhaling Change, it was geared towards creating a strong community and sense of thankfulness in our everyday lives. We aimed to get people involved both online and offline for a 30-day challenge: to share moments, people, and things you were thankful for.
Seeing a positive statement written in your environment can start conversations, ideas, and establish values for everyone to share. We wanted people to feel like they can change their environment and their communities. And it can start small, just by showing what you appreciate in your life. Knowing and seeing what we value together can help us get excited and build better communities around those values.
The project started off as in installation in the Board of Trade Co. in Gastown. Over the month of May after its official launch, it filled up pretty quick. We had a few ways people could engage with the project: the main board, stickers, or online through Twitter and Instagram. It was also pretty important to us for the project to have an identity. We wanted it to feel very personal and hand-made, to reflect the things people would write. I designed a hand-drawn logo, which we applied to the board, stickers, and any promotional materials we designed to get the word out.
Near the end of the month, we got invited to bring the project over to Vancouver’s Chinatown Night Market for a weekend. We ended up closing the project there, after getting tons of more people to write on it. Just about every square inch of the board was covered by the end.
That October, we were kindly asked by the staff at David Brankin Elementary School to bring Project Thankful to a big open house event they were having. They had a couple of wood boards they wanted to repurpose and make the event something special. We were also fortunate enough to be featured on Shaw’s GO! TV, for a spot on positive public art projects in Vancouver.