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Garden/Gathering Space comes alive at Eighth & Eight Creative Spaces

April 11, 2024
For Immediate Release

New Westminster, BC – A new Garden/Gathering Space is taking root at Eighth & Eight Creative Spaces.

The Garden / Gathering Space has been developed to support Indigenous cultural resurgence, storytelling frameworks and stories that guide and direct us from the land outward.  These stories offer opportunities for connection and sharing universal wisdom to strengthen our futures together as a community.

The concepts for the project have been led by Ronnie Dean Harris, Massey Theatre’s Indigenous Cultural Developer. As the lead Artist/Researcher behind the project, he has been working closely with Jessica Schneider, Massey Theatre’s Executive Director, for several years to consider the project with other designers, community advisors and knowledge keepers.

“As our goals to create a framework for Urban Indigenous connections became grounded, we were able to secure grants from Heritage BC, Canadian Heritage and Vancouver Foundation to bring this project to life”, said Schneider.

PFS Studios was engaged to interpret Harris’ research in the landscape design and a design collective of artists with both familial and community-based connections to these lands, stories and languages was engaged in the project.

“The garden space is representative of the flow of the river and of the notion that the Transformers wrote their stories onto the land through these transformations”, said Harris. “The frame of the structure is a nod to the ancient framework of Coast Salish plank houses. This area of New Westminster does not sit on the north/south grid of the rest of the Lower Mainland but rather follows the bend in the river. So, the front of the garden faces the river and mountains and includes many native plant species, in an effort for the land to recognize itself.”

In addition to native plant species and greenery, the Garden/Gathering Space will include public art and Halkomelem language installations. A community event will be held in May to mark the opening of the space.  As the space grows all are welcomed and encouraged to visit the landscape and installations. Future programming connected to and inspired by the space is in development, as well as day to day opportunities include that include chances to harvest berries, holding land-based ceremonies and more.


Kaitlyn Cunningham (Kwikwetlem/Katzie)
Language Consultant

Ronnie Dean Harris (Kwikwetlem/Kwantlen)
Ronnie Dean Harris aka Ostwelve, is a Stō:lo/St’át’imc/N’laka’pamux artist based in New Westminster, B.C. Beginning in music, he has explored various mediums such as TV, film, visual + sound design along side various research subjects including history, cosmology, genealogy and Indigenous policy.

Ronnie’s design career started in high school doing designs for local skateboard companies moving into professional design for advertising, branding and media applications. Ronnie has also had the opportunity to install murals and other physical design elements in spaces around the Lower Mainland. As a designer, his focus is on traditional and contemporary Salish design form.

Ronnie is the current Indigenous Cultural Developer at Massey Theatre in New Westminster working on various cultural + social activations through research and programming. You can also hear Ronnie as the voice of Dad/Walter on the PBS/WGBH series Molly Of Denali and seen on various other TV + film projects.

Atheana Picha (Kwantlen)
Atheana Picha is a Salish artist from the Kwantlen First Nation, and her grandmother was from Tsartlip. Atheana was given the name Nash’mene’ta’naht by Gerry Oleman from the St’at’imc First Nation, which translates to “go-getter woman”. Born in Vancouver, she grew up and works out of Richmond, BC. She is an interdisciplinary artist, working mostly in two-dimensional media. Atheana has been doing two apprenticeships learning Salish wool weaving with Musqueam weaver Debra Sparrow since 2019, and learning silver engraving, wood carving, and tool making with Squamish artist and educator Aaron Nelson-Moody since 2018. Atheana’s practice is grounded in learning more about Salish design through studying the old pieces, observing nature, and learning from her elders and teachers.

Atheana studied fine art at Langara college for three years, with a focus on ceramics, intaglio printmaking, and wood carving. Then in 2021, she focused on screen printing and drawing. She is engaged with public art through her mural work throughout the Greater Vancouver area since 2018, and more recently with banner and vinyl mural installations. Atheana is a two-time recipient of the YVR art foundation emerging artist scholarship, and has works in the collections at the Museum of Vancouver, Burnaby art gallery, Bill Reid Gallery of Northwest Coast Art.

Rain Pierre (Katzie)
Rain Pierre (sɬə́məxʷ), creator of Rain Awakens, is an artist from Katzie First Nation. In 2016, he shifted from a career in civil engineering to pursue art and to follow a path more aligned with his spirit.  He makes artworks in a variety of mediums and has partnered with the school districts of Surrey, Maple Ridge, and Pitt Meadows to inspire young students.

Diamond Point (Musqueam)
Diamond Point is a Contemporary Coast Salish Artist and proud member of Musqueam Indian Band. Over the last few years, Point has built up her public art experience and portfolio with many different opportunities and artistic achievements, with her artwork being showcased through Vancouver Mural Festival, Vancouver Coastal Health, Patagonia Vancouver, Translink, Delta School District, UBC; or having been on display at the Vancouver Art Gallery, Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery, and the Museum of Anthropology. Point firmly believes that her body of work demonstrates who she is as not only a contemporary artist, but also as a proud Musqueam and Coast Salish person. As an artist, Point intends to create artwork that connects contemporary experiences, styles and contexts to traditional understandings, knowledge and teachings.

Hailee Stogan (Musqueam)
Hailee has loved art from a young age, from doodling on the pages of her note book to taking classes at Emily Carr. It wasn’t until a couple years ago that she started taking art seriously and became interested in her culture’s art style. In September 2022 she had her first mural installed with Translink about Truth and Reconciliation and is now an emerging Musqueam Artist.

About Eighth & Eight Creative Spaces
Eighth & Eight Creative Spaces comprises over 75,000 square feet of dynamic and creative spaces in the Massey Theatre Arts Complex which includes the Massey Theatre, Plaskett Gallery, two multipurpose studios, two performance studios, a dance studio, digital labs and the Garden/Gathering Space. The expanded spaces are programmed, operated and powered by the Massey Theatre Society in an effort to offer artists and community a facility as well as resources and support for their work, creating new and inclusive opportunities for artistic creation, presentation, development, community engagement, wellness practices, and workshopping. Within Eighth & Eight Creative Spaces, the Massey Theatre activates the Massey Theatre Mainstage season, Studio 1B and 1C Performance Series, Gallery programming, Community Nights, Artist Access and more.

About Massey Theatre Society
The Massey Theatre opened in 1949 as British Columbia’s largest theatre, at the time, with 1,260 seats. Since then, its lights have shone on thousands of performances and has become a cherished space to experience the arts. The Massey hosts large scale musicals, international music and dance performances, symphonies, choirs, ballets and more. With a commitment to the cultural life of the community, it supports programs for emerging artists and community groups as well as new creation and production residencies.  The theatre is a key gathering place with over 100,000 visitors and hosting over 200 events/performances each year. The Massey Theatre Society operates Eighth & Eight Creative Spaces and is a catalyst for a vibrant, expressive community and a stage where any dream is possible.

Media Contact

Erin Jeffery
Director, Marketing and Communications, Massey Theatre | 604.517.5900

English (Canada)