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Living Room Art returns to Burnaby Heights this weekend

When Yunuen Perez Vertti started up Living Room Art in the Heights, she used to have to spend a lot of her time explaining herself.
Living Room Art in the Heights
A group of artists from North Burnaby is once again joining forces for Living Room Art in the Heights, coming this weekend. The event is organized by Grant Withers and Yunuen Perez Vertti (front, centre).

When Yunuen Perez Vertti started up Living Room Art in the Heights, she used to have to spend a lot of her time explaining herself.

What do you mean, you’re doing art in a living room? What do you mean about turning a private home into an art gallery? Can anyone come? What kind of an event is it anyway?

These days, she doesn’t have to answer those questions nearly so often.

“Now people are like, ‘I’ve heard about it, I heard it’s awesome,’” Perez Vertti says with a laugh.

Living Room Art in the Heights is returning on Saturday, Oct. 13 from 5 to 9 p.m.

For those who haven’t yet heard about the now-popular community event, the concept is simple: a group of artists take over a private home and turn it all into an art-filled space. There are displays, installations, interactive art projects and performances throughout the evening, and everyone who’s interested is welcome to stop in and enjoy the happenings – whenever they want and for however long they want.

This year, more than 20 artists from North Burnaby will be setting up shop in a private home at 4830 Albert St. for the evening.

Visitors will be able to enjoy the “Irish hour,” with storytelling by Philomena Jordan and a quartet offering up traditional Irish music. Other musical entertainment will come from the Apple Choir, known for its work singing in many languages, and flutist Keri Povall. Film lovers will be able to check out work by filmmakers Perez Vertti, Grant Withers (who also co-organizes the event) and Ciaran Davis-McGregor, an SFU film student who’s been taking part in the Living Room Art events since high school.

Interactive art by Dawn Livera, Tami Cline and Kalyan Rath will be part of the fun, and audiences will also be able to view the work of fashion designer Yifat Jovani, plus a wide range of visual artwork in a variety of mediums by Marie Joy Caldwell, Sheila Chowdhury, Santhe Leblanc, Carolyn Sullivan, Courtney Tran and Dianne Yard.

For Perez Vertti, part of the beauty of hosting each event in a different home is the chance to have artists create some site-specific work.

“We have a completely different space, so we always try to utilize some of this art that is specific to this particular space. We have the opportunity to create those very specific installations,” she said, noting there will be at least four such pieces this year. “We are really excited about those particular installations.”

Having a different venue each year also guarantees a completely different experience for visitors, even those who’ve attended every year.

“If you have been to a Living Room Art in the past, it’s going to be completely different,” Perez Vertti says. “If you think, ‘Oh, I’ve been already, what’s the big deal?’, it’s going to be a completely different experience.”

As with each incarnation of the event, Perez Vertti is hoping this year’s event will attract some people who aren’t typical gallery-goers.

“If you haven’t been to an art show before, or a gallery, please come to this one,” she says. “It’s very casual, it’s very different. Our goal is for everybody to understand that art is for everyone.”

The show is family-friendly and open to people of all ages, and Perez Vertti hopes to see a good crowd this year – especially since it may be the last Living Room Art event.

She and co-organizer Grant Withers are stepping back after this year, she said, noting they’ve been finding it increasingly challenging to secure funding for the event and are also wanting to spend more time on their own art projects.

But if anyone else wants to step forward to organize or to fund the event?

“We will totally support that,” Perez Vertti says.

For all the details about the event, see