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Wheels of Courage Spotlight: Vero Warkentin’s Artbike Project

WHEELS OF COURAGE (WoC) is the WRENCH’s community leadership volunteer program! Today we’re introducing you to one of the projects currently on the go and the WoC participant who is managing it. VERO WARKENTIN is a recent returnee to Manitoba and signed on with WoC after spending the summer working as a mechanic at the WRENCH.

Vero has recruited some fellow Wrenchers and local artists to create beautiful artbikes that will be raffled off, with proceeds going to another Logan Ave. organization — drop-in and resource centre Sunshine House, Inc! Keep reading for a Q&A with Vero.

Q: How did you come up with your project idea?

A: In 2019, I volunteered for the Rainbow Railroad Gala and loved every part of it: the mission, the people, the party, the camaraderie. I was determined to help for the next year. When the pandemic began, the need to support vulnerable communities was magnified. I wanted to create an event that would both support and foster the 2SLGBTQIA community with bikes, and building colourful, proud and magnificently artful bikes was a no-brainer. I’ve been creative my entire life, and that spark has been seen and fanned by incredible artists and teachers in the past. This project is my turn to inspire. For me its less about my own ability to create art, and more about my recognition of the artists in my life and directing the huge impact art can have.

Q: Who are the artists you’ve enlisted? 

A: So far, we have a collection of artists, mechanics and artist-mechanics giving their time to this project. Keira Friesen is a potter and mixed media artist who incorporates organic and natural forms in her work. Kevin Celestino is a WoC mentee, fellow Wrencher and visual artist. Leslie Parisien is a fellow WoC mentee and Wrencher, and sometimes textile artist. Sarah Thiessen is a creative jack of all trades, creating visual art, sculptures and performance art to delight and dazzle. 

Q: What is an artbike?

A: An artbike is kind of how it sounds: a bike, but art! You could say it’s a type of kinetic sculpture. A bike that is still rideable that looks like a dragon, or has been yarnbombed, or has been painted, or welded up to be a giant man powered parade float — these are all artbikes. It also doesn’t have to be a special occasion bike. You could ride a sparkle unicorn bike with streamer tail to the office every day. I know I would.

Q: Why did you choose Sunshine House as the beneficiary of the funds you are raising? 

A: Sunshine House is a vivid space that supports the community as they are. It makes room for whole people with all of our complications, experiences, expressions. At the base of it, bikes are like this too: freedom on wheels, for everyone. It’s a great pairing, and I’m so excited about the possibilities for our Pride Ride in June, the wrap up celebration after the raffle is completed in May.

Employment Opportunity: Indigenous Mentor

The WRENCH is seeking an Indigenous Mentor for our Wheels of Courage (WoC) Community Leadership program.

Term Position: Starting as soon as possible, until March 31, 2022, with possibility for renewal. 

$17-19/hr

Full time (35-40 hrs/week) 

Health benefits available after probation period.

Wheels of Courage is a free, 9 month volunteer program at the WRENCH for young people (ages 15-30) who love bikes and want to use them as a tool for personal growth and social change.  WoC participants gain exclusive access to a diverse array of skill-building workshops as well as support and funding to develop their own Community Projects.  

Working under the direction of the WoC Program Coordinator, the Indigenous Mentor will be part of a team dedicated to helping youth gain valuable skills and focus their passion for bicycles into meaningful, hands-on service opportunities. Mentors will assist youth in identifying issues of concern in their communities and then taking action through self directed Community Projects. 

 Please submit resume and cover letter by email to: 

Sarah Thiessen, Wheels of Courage Program Coordinator

sarah@thewrench.ca  

Application deadline: April 9, 2021 

How to Donate a Bike to the WRENCH

Thanks for thinking of us! We re-cycle bikes back into the community after a bit of a tune up and safety testing.

There are TWO ways to donate bikes and parts to the WRENCH.

  1. Bring it to the WRENCH (1057 Logan) between 12 and 530pm on Thursdays.
  2. Drop it off at any of Winnipeg’s 4R Sites; and we will retrieve it, along with other donated and discarded bikes when we do our collections.

Thank you for your generosity!

WILD RIDE

Directed by Christine Fellows

On Sunday March 21st, 2021, WILD RIDE made its debut as a part of Cinematheque’s Bicycle Film Fest! WILD RIDE was produced by The WRENCH’s Just Cycle Program at Marymound School. Director Christine Fellows worked with students to create the stop motion film; with original music by Christine Fellows and Jason Tait. Just Cycle is generously supported by Canada’s Youth Justice Fund.

Enjoy!

Date produced: March 2021
Director: Christine Fellows
Artistic Collaborators: The students of Room 12 at Marymound School, WRENCH staff, Marymound staff
Music: Christine Fellows and Jason Tait
Audio mix: Jason Tait
Post-production assistance: Alicia Smith
Running time: 2:49

WRENCH Bikes on Sale – One Day Only!

End of Summer Clearance Sale! Discounts of 10-20% off on our refurbished, ready-to-ride bikes. With over 20 bikes freshly added this week.

**This Saturday, September 26th, 12:00 to 6:00**

All proceeds from bike sales go toward our free year-round bicycle programming for children and families across Winnipeg.

The WRENCH at The Forks. At the train cars in the North-West corner of the Forks Market.

Applications are OPEN for our Wheels of Courage program!

Wheels of Courage (WoC) is a free, 10 month volunteer program at the WRENCH for young people (ages 15-30) who love bikes and want to use them as a tool for personal growth and social change.

WoC participants gain exclusive access to a diverse array of skill-building workshops as well as support and funding to develop their own Community Projects.

Click HERE to be directed to the Wheels of Courage page on this website for more details and to apply today!

Application Deadline is Tuesday, August 25th!

Wheels & Feels

Friday, March 13th 7-10pm
@ The Edge Gallery & Urban Art Centre
611 Main street


Do you love bicycles, art and community-building?

Well then we’d love for you to come to the Art Show Finale for the Wheels of Courage (WoC) Mentorship Program, on Friday the 13th of March!

Come experience an array of multimedia art created by WoC mentees, and help celebrate all that this group of young people have accomplished over the past year.

What’s Wheels of Courage?:
Wheels of Courage is an exciting new mentorship program at the WRENCH focused on skill-building and creating positive change through Community Projects.

Show Dates:
This event is the official opening of the show, however the art will remain on display at the Edge Gallery for the entirety of the weekend. This means if you cannot make it to the opening, you can still see the art on:
Saturday March 14th, 2-6
Sunday March 15th, 2-5

Venue Accessibility:
The Edge Gallery and Urban Art Centre at 611 Main street is wheel chair accessible, and contains gender-neutral bathrooms.

—Wheels of Courage is funded by the Government of Canada under the Canada Service Corps program.—

Questions?
Email volunteer@thewrench.ca

Thank you for making the Cycle of Giving 2019 a HUGE success!

Thanks to everyone who was part of the Cycle of Giving 2019!

Together we turned over 7,000 kg of “waste” into dreams come true by re-building 560 bicycles for children in need across the city and beyond!

You can still be part of the Cycle of Giving! Support year-round bike programming for children and families by donating online.

Donate Now Through CanadaHelps.org!

Special thanks to all our Event Sponsors!

 

Thank  you  to  all  our Repair  Stand  Sponsors!

Sister Cycle 2020 – Register today!

Sister Cycle is The Wrench‘s free bike mechanics workshop series by and for women, trans, non-binary, two-spirit and femme-identifying people!

There are limited spaces available in this highly popular workshop series, email Sarah at volunteer@thewrench.ca with the subject “Sister Cycle” to register today!

***

—-Sundays from 12-3pm @ the WRENCH starting January 19th—-

12-2pm: Lesson + demos (+ snacks!)
2-3pm***: Hands-on learning / Practice time!

1. Jan 19: Intro to Bike Mechanics
2. Jan 26: Wheels I: Tires + Tubes
3. Feb 2: Wheels II: Hubs + Spokes
4. Feb 9 Cranks + Bottom Brackets
5. Feb 23: Handlebars + Headsets
6. Mar 1: Gears + Derailleurs
7. Mar 8: Brakes
8. Mar 15: Review + Celebration

***PLEASE NOTE:
We have Mellow Velo on the following Sundays from 3-5pm: Jan 26, Feb 9, Feb 23, Mar 8. This means that on these days you can stay all the way until 5pm practicing your new skills and/or getting help working on your own bike!

Learn more about Mellow Velo at www.thewrench.ca/mellow-velo or www.facebook.com/mellowvelowpg

Questions? Email Sarah at volunteer@thewrench.ca

Please donate your unwanted bicycles today!

***

              The WRENCH needs your help to ensure that children and families across the city can experience their summer by bike!

 During the snowy months bike donations slow down drastically but WRENCH programming keeps going strong all winter long. Now that spring is in the air our bike stock is critically low while demand is rising. 

Support vital bike programming in your community  by dropping off your unwanted bicycles and parts at any 4R Winnipeg Depot today!