Operation Sock Monkey Booth at the Strathcona Craft Fair Nov 28! And Latest Updates!



My incredible Operation Sock Monkey Western Division team of youth, teachers, support staff, community members of all ages have been hard at work since July, volunteering time and donating supplies and monkeys.


And now part of this great sock monkey collection goes on sale this Saturday at the Strathcona Craft Fair 10 AM-4 PM! 601 Keefer, Vancouver BC

Only $20 each!

Proceeds benefits the KYT Foundation‘s water pipeline project in Nepal as well as my sock monkey therapy for local at-risk youth!

Inspired by the Shaking the Movers conference in Summer 2015 and thanks to the social justice class at Mountainside Secondary School, each monkey is tagged with a human right:



 Huge thank you to my sock monkey makers and support team!

I love you all!!!  YOU ARE AMAZING!

Special mention to my hero Lynn Gosnell, “Auntie Lynn,” who has created and donated an incredible collection of her monkeys.  She is an angel on earth and has positively impacted countless of youth in her many years as a child and youth worker.

Auntie Lynn receiving a sock monkey made by student, Liz, at Keith Lynn Alternative Secondary School in 2011.

And thank you to our beloved customers and donors whose generosity keeps us going!


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This is such a feel-good craftivist movement for everyone involved!!!

Check out:

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UPDATE November 30, 2015:

The craft sale went well!!! We sold about thirty monkeys- most at $20 each, some at $10 and some given to vulnerable kids. We raised $524.00!  I sent $290.00 to KYT Foundation and the rest goes to much-needed supplies and free workshops with local homeless women and youth, as well workshops with refugee youth and students at Mountainside Secondary.

My daughter, Anna Thorsen, manned the booth with me and Queen of sock monkeys, Auntie Lynn, visited us!  Her monkeys were a huge hit!
Operation Sock Monkey Western Division Operative, Leann Weisbecker, dropped off some gorgeous creations!
One of our very happy customers!

Mountainside will be hosting a craft sale December 11 at which we will sell more monkeys (funds from the craft table rentals and sock monkey sales to KYT) and I have a stock of 20 at home I will be offering on ETSY (proceeds to KYT).  LINK


I held a workshop for refugee youth last month and we all had a great time! Monkeys spoke a language we all understood!  I will be offering more of these workshops in the new year as the need increases and will be assisted by social justice students.

Tons of love! Kat

“I am doing what I can.” – Dukdukdiya, the hummingbird

Update December 9, 2015

A total of $350.00 has been donated so far to Kamala Yonzon Tahrayli Foundation from Operation Sock Monkey sock monkey sales from Nov 28 craft fair sales and Dec 7 sales. Sock monkeys were made by local community members and students at Mountainside Secondary School! And the school is holding a craft fair on Friday Dec 11 to benefit KYT Foundation!

The wheatpaste wall at YouthCO!

Making a painting in a studio can be a bit stifling at times, but when you add the street installation element to it, it begins to be this exciting and urgent way of communicating. – Cake

Successful art programs recognize that art is a vehicle that can be used to engage youth in activities that will increase their self-esteem.  These programs also recognize and involve the community in which they live.  Ultimately, successful programs culminate in a public performance or exhibition in an effort to build participants’ self-esteem through public recognition.

I have been been involved in facilitating art programs to vulnerable youth in Vancouver for many years.  On January 20 and 27, 2014, I took three years worth of youth drawings- along with a group of six youth from Intersections Media and their youth coordinator (Alison Donnelly), filmmaker Patti Henderson- and installed an art wall at YouthCO.  YouthCO is a community-driven organization run by and for youth that seeks to engage, educate and empower young people living with or at-risk of HIV and Hep C.  The gathering centre at YouthCo needed some sprucing up; the installation of wheatpasted original art work made the room vibrant and alive.  The wall has the magic of street art while in an indoor setting.  The youth created amazing short films from the footage they collected and footage by Patti.

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Special thanks to Intersections Media Intake 7 participants, Alison Donnelly, Patti Henderson, Shane MacInnes, Anna Thorsen, and ALL THE YOUTH WHO CREATED THE ART OVER THE YEARS for your great work on the YouthCO wall!

A love letter to my students.

Dear students,

[With students, I mean each and everyone of you that has touched my life.]

Thank you.

As of November 15, 2013, I am turning a page and have said goodbye to my role as a “youth coordinator.”  I am now fully embracing my role as an artist.  Being an artist means being a creator, a facilitator, a risk-taker.  It means more time for me.  It means saying yes to more and saying no to more.  It means celebrating each relationship I have built, understanding I can now take a deep breath and say I did the best I could as I coordinated and filed and advocated.  It means that I can let go.

I have learned SO MUCH from each and everyone of you:

From drawing with my 16 week old daughter in 1985, to volunteering in my son’s special needs preschool, to teaching art at my kids’ elementary schools and high schools, to teaching drawing to men who have spent 20+ years in prison, to sharing the creative process with youth in custody centres, to teaching adults one on one and in groups, to working in alternative schools in North Vancouver with 12-21 year olds to working on the Downtown Eastside with 18-30 year olds, to maintaining files, and fretting over funding and budget cuts, to advocating at staff meetings, and answering calls at 3 AM, from sharing drawing techniques and journaling, to sock monkeys and mindmapping, to listening and laughing, to drinking coffee and eating dinner, to art trips and text messages, to being honest, open, free.

Though there may have been times you had to say “Kat, Kat, Kat…” ten times over and still not gotten the time you needed, know I have been as present as I could have been in those moments of ART MAYHEM!  I have learned not to fret that I cannot spend more time with those of you that have needed my ear, my support, my advice, my time- and to worry that I have not had time to give it.  

Those of you that know me have [hopefully] seen that I take each and every relationship seriously.  That I truly welcome each student into my heart.  It’s a crowded heart, indeed.  Each and everyone of you has taught me so much.  If I have spent 1 hour with you or years, you each have taught me more than any classroom.  I am so rich as a result.  I thank each and everyone of you for your transparency and brilliance and for supporting me as well with your love.  I especially thank all the youth I have worked with.  YOU ARE ALL INCREDIBLY IMPORTANT TO ME.

So now my new role is ARTIST.   I have learned that it’s time to nurture me and to sit back and watch you all grow into beautiful human beings with incredible futures. I will continue to provide art workshops here and there.  And to provide support on youth projects in progress.  And of course run sock monkey sessions and continue to meet up here and there for coffee and catchups and to embrace some of my previous students now as colleagues as they grow into their careers.  I am so very honored to have worked with you all.

Now I want you all to know you are my teachers.  I want you all to know you are all perfect.  Splendidly imperfect perfect human beings.  To know that you can take your time.  I’m 51.5 and I feel I have finally graduated!  Who knows what lies ahead but I’m READY FOR IT ALL!

So really, take your time.  Be a fuck up, be a go-getter, be YOURSELF.  My darlings, go and be ARTISTS!  I’m right there with you.  Each stitch I make, each china marker stroke is a celebration of you.

And remember our rule- no censorship.  Push the envelope.  Take on the world.  And just laugh.

Love you tons.  If you have ever been my student in any capacity, this letter is written for you.


Hugs, Kat

Saying Thank You through #streetart #wheatpaste

This post is dedicated to all the staff and students of Keith Lynn Alternative Secondary School

Alicia and I began the process of saying thank you and goodbye to a special place by covering it with our art… This building will be torn down.

This is where I worked with so many incredible students and staff.  New chapters have started for everyone. But it felt important for Alicia and I to go back.  We are following a call to add to the dialogue.  This is just a small start:

Empty quiet halls…

See more about our wheatpaste art:

China Marker Bowie and other portraits

Portrait: Jacqueline

Latest updates

This is how we do it

Once it’s up, let it go

Something this fun has got to be illegal!

Beauty in the deterioration…

Joe Average

Wide-eyed with a twist of the lips

Mia More in the morning

While I stand on the roadway…

Walking the streets of dreams

Evolution of a wheatpaste: Justine

Beauty in the deterioration Part 2

Do you know what it takes…?

We’ve gone national!

The Social Life hits the streets!

Walking the streets of dreams wall is growing

Fierce beauty: Cassandra and Shokra

Smith, K. (2007) The Guerilla Art Kit, New York, NY: Princeton Architectural Press 


Some highlights from #VancouverArtGallery (@VanArtGallery) visit

My colleague, Sara, and I took 13 students to the Vancouver Art Gallery for an all-day field trip on November 3, 2010.  It was an incredible time, all of us happily soaking up art (once we got the guided tour out of the way)!

Highlights for me:

Robert Adams: The Place We Live, A Retrospective Selection of Photographs

The exhibition includes more than 300 photographs representing each of Adams’ major projects…

The delicate small B&W photos from Sweden made me overwhelmed with sentimentality.

A 1968 trip to Sweden with his wife and lifelong helpmate, Kerstin, suggested to Adams the possibility of a socially and environmentally responsible approach to the built environment. (source)

Song Dong–Waste Not

I adored this exhibit.  The organization, the memories, the beauty of everyday objects, the maternal, the grieving…

The installation comprises the frame of his mother’s house along with all of the everyday objects she meticulously collected over the course of her lifetime: a collection of over ten thousand worn and broken objects, each one with unlimited potential value. Together, the assembled materials—clothes, books, kitchen utensils, toiletries, school supplies, shopping bags, rice bowls, dolls—were used, recycled, and saved. Meticulously arranged in careful groupings throughout the exhibition space, the objects form a miniature cityscape that viewers can navigate around and through.

TEACHER’S GUIDE: Everything Everyday

In Dialogue with Carr: Douglas Coupland, Evan Lee, Liz Magor, Marianne Nicolson

This exhibition strategically pairs the work of Emily Carr with key contemporary BC artists–Douglas Coupland, Evan Lee, Liz Magor and Marianne Nicolson-to draw out a dialogue between Carr’s legacy and the myriad ways in which artists respond to it.

TEACHER’S GUIDE: In Dialogue Carr Coupland

Kerry James Marshall

This was the highlight of the day for me.  Not just because Sara did such an amazing job of explaining the exhibit, but because of the way the students responded to the show and what the paintings made me feel.

Marshall’s paintings depict primarily African-American figures, using formally diverse art historical methods that speak to the visibility and invisibility of “blackness” in the history of western art. The exhibition presents approximately 20 paintings exemplary of Marshall’s practice.  For Marshall, social responsibility means creating artworks that both celebrate and unravel the black experience in America.

My response to the show in my "The Sketchbook Project" journal


13 students worked quietly and enthusiastically on their responses to KJM

TEACHER’s GUIDE: Kerry James Marshall Guide