This weekend, the innovative youth academy Ethós Lab is celebrating moving into their first permanent home with a public block party.
The “Making Waves” block party, Saturday, June 18 from 10am–8pm, welcomes the neighbourhood and city to explore the new Ethós Lab location at 177 East 3rd Ave. Meet the Ethósians, the staff and see inside the activities and experiences that the academy has to offer during the open house 10am to 5pm. From 5:30pm to 8pm, youth ages 12-18 are invited to join in the “Bring The Heat” video game competition and party. Gamers, streamers, collectors, developers, enthusiasts can register teams of up to 4 to compete in the first (of many) Ethós Lab hosted gaming tournaments.
Throughout the pandemic, the Black-led organization, has been offering virtual, S.T.E.A.M.-based (science, technology, engineering and math) education within an antiracist, technology-forward framework. With its new permanent home, described as Hogwarts meets Wakanda meets co-working space, it is now able to add in-person programming. Open to teens between 12–18 years old, the after-school curriculum includes weekly sessions led by industry professionals like engineers and artists, open studios where members can creatively apply the skills they have learned, and safe spaces to socialize.
“Ethós Lab was founded to increase access and representation in STEAM,” says Anthonia Ogundele, parent and founder of Ethós Lab. “These past two years have shown us that this goal is more important than ever before. The ‘metaverse’ has become a hot topic since Facebook’s name change to Meta, the rise of NFTs, and the digital pivot the world underwent at the start of the pandemic. Parents are realizing that their kids need equitable access to tools and information that will help them challenge and shape a digital future that is quickly arriving upon us. We need young, diverse voices co-creating innovative solutions and leading change, in order to ensure we aren’t just perpetuating antiquated, unjust systems — whether those hierarchies are found in coding, urban planning, or the art market. We can’t wait to connect with even more young people with our new home in Mount Pleasant.”
Featuring an original mural by Northwest Coast artist Chase Gray (who recently designed the Vancouver Canucks’ First Nations Night warmup jersey) and comic artist Jazz Gordon-Gillquist, the new location is inside a new building owned by the City of Vancouver and is operated, in collaboration with the Community Land Trust, by non-profit cultural organization 221A, which also offers affordable rental homes for 30 artists within the complex. In addition to a nearly 1,000-sq.-ft. dedicated space, Ethós Lab has shared access to a 2,700-sq.-ft. production facility. As well as supporting the broader community, the site provides a physical home to the thriving community that Ethós Lab built in their own proprietary metaverse over the pandemic, a virtual hub called Atlanthós that was co-created with youth members and developed by local tech start-up Active Replica.
“Securing innovative, affordable and accessible arts and cultural spaces is a key focus for Culture|Shift, the City’s 10-year culture plan,” says Mayor Kennedy Stewart. “We are excited that Ethós Lab is activating this shared artist production space to help the leaders of tomorrow grow and create. Under the operations of 221A and the Community Land Trust, this unique City-owned facility will provide a safe shared studio space for artistic production and community collaboration, as well as secure affordable housing for artists. I am extremely proud of this entire facility and cannot wait to see the innovation that comes from this production space, including Ethós Lab’s contributions.”
To learn more about the block party, register for the Ethós Lab Gaming Studio and upcoming activities, or donate to the Ethós Lab $100,000 in 100 Days fundraiser (currently ¾ of the way to its goal), visit ethoslab.ca.