Artist hopes to raise funds to help empower people with low income

A Burns Lake artist will paint a picture for every 25 kms from Prince George to Haida Gwaii to raise money for people with low income.

Artist Rene Jaspers stands beside Western Financial Group branch manager

Artist Rene Jaspers stands beside Western Financial Group branch manager

A Burns Lake artist will paint a picture for every 25 kilometres from Prince George to Haida Gwaii to raise money for programs that will help people with low income.

In total, Rene Jaspers hopes to put out 40 paintings by next October that will fund her Highway of Hope Foundation which hopes to empower people with low income. Jaspers hopes to sell each painting for $1,200, and this money will go towards her three-step plan to help people with low income.

Firstly, Jaspers plans to use the money to fund workshops on preventing violence.

“The prevention part includes the Society for Domestic Peace,” Jaspers said. “They’re in schools already, so they’re going to be doing the work for bringing the prevention message to [children as] young as Grade 3 on how to protect yourselves, whether in a vehicle or in a home, [and] how to deescalate anger.”

She also wants to fund driver’s education and vehicles so that people with low income can receive their full licence, and also to support people in rural communities to find affordable transportation so that they can get access to medical care and education.

“I want to include everybody, and that includes seniors — seniors who can’t get around normally with a vehicle or can’t drive a vehicle anymore, I’d like to be able to get them to medical centres,” Jaspers said. “I’d like to be able to help young families that are also low income.”

“With teenagers, a lot of times [they] can’t afford it. A lot of families can’t afford [getting] their driver’s licence.”

Community organizations are rallying around Jaspers. She recently had her first painting of Houston’ North Road bridge on display at Western Financial Group’s mall office, and revealed that every Northwest Community College campus will put up an art show with her paintings.

“Having a purpose is important,” Jaspers said. “I’d like to say something with this too — to show people the beauty of our North, that there’s hope in our North.”

For every 25 kilometres from Prince George on Highway 16, she takes a photo within five paces of the vehicle and makes an oil painting out of the photo. She has currently photos of the highway all the way to Terrace, and will continue her project at a different time of the year such that her 40 paintings show the North in different seasons.

“I look to give everybody a better future. That’s my hope, and that’s where the “Highway of Hope” comes from,” Jaspers said. “Yes, it runs travels around the Highway of Tears. The Highway of Tears, I think, it’s very important, and we need to keep that in focus also.”

“The Highway of Tears has been around for 21 years and it’s a long time and people have been working at it very diligently — Brenda Wilson with her crew. And I think that’s very important and if I can help them too, I’m happy to.”

 

 

 

 

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