The Carnegie Community Centre began as a public library, but now hosts a number of services and programs for the neighbourhood. There are thousands of people who use the centre every week for anything from HIV/AIDS support groups, Humanities programs, pottery classes and even ballroom dancing. It is one of the most well-attended community centres in Vancouver. The Vancouver Courier wrote:
Over its 100 years, the Carnegie has attracted thousands of people from all walks of life-fishermen, loggers, addicts, the abused, the mentally ill, the homeless, politicians and the police, to name a few. And no matter how hard life is on the outside, it’s clear there’s something for most people inside, even if it’s just a temporary refuge from hard reality. As Wells puts it, when a person walks through the front doors at 401 Main St., he’s on “neutral territory-an environment where there’s no intimidation, just a spot to relax.”
Hastings and Main is the “ground zero” intersection of the downtown east side, Vancouver’s oldest and arguably most troubled neighbourhood. There is an unfurtive drug trade that operates at this intersection and in the alleys surrounding this building, the Carnegie Community Centre.
This depiction shows the centre with a slightly-askew hat, like the jaunty toques worn by some of the patrons, and with the two front columns bent like praying hands, cupping a flame.
Acrylic on canvas, 16″ x 20″
Located at: Private Collection