Anni Becker, photographer, activist and music promoter, was awarded this fall’s Innovators of Vancouver distinction. Innovators of Vancouver is an online documentary video series conceived and created by Chris Martin. It documents leaders of vision, passion and action in Vancouver and surrounding areas.
Anni Becker is both a professional and artistic photographer. She is the founder and director of The GRACE Project, a nonprofit that acts as a creative outlet for at-risk and underserved youth.
GRACE provides “workshops, facilitated art times and art shows for the purpose of building confidence and encouraging self-discovery,” says Becker. The projects encompassed Open House Family Shelter, Hudson Bay High School’s Teen Parent Program, Compassion Vancouver, and some independent projects as well.
“Our their next project will be working with the Yellow Brick Road, a drop-in teen shelter in Downtown Vancouver,” says Becker.
Becker is also an energetic, independent fundraiser for various causes. If she likes your cause she may just be out there securing donations. Most recently, she co-organized a fundraiser for Ryan Woods, a local community activist fighting cancer in his spine. So far, the effort has raised almost $12,000. The campaign continues through September 20.
In August, Becker jumped into the music scene with Ossie Bladine, former publisher of the Vancouver Voice. The duo created the music festival CouvFestNW. They sold sponsorships to local businesses, brought in food and craft vendors, and put the spotlight on the local talents of 10 bands. The reward for the businesses and bands was the audience of about 1,000 people. The reward for Becker was enjoying free music in downtown. She plans on doing the event again next year.
Becker has aspirations to serve her community in a greater role. She says her next endeavor is applying to be the arts commissioner for Vancouver on the Clark County Arts Commission.
She recently started hand making photo cards using her photography and a 1940’s typewriter. Her art cards will be for sale soon in uptown and downtown businesses.
Becker is quick to give praise to businesses in these areas. She calls Mon Ami Café both a community meeting place and an office and names The Brickhouse, One world Merchants, Niche Wine and Art Bar, and The New Kiggins Theatre as favorite places because of the generosity and community spirit of the respective owners.
“They genuinely care for this community and give to my causes over and over again,” says Becker.
When Becker looks through the camera lens she sees the beautiful in the mundane.
“I will often find myself asking people if I can photograph them, only to realize it really just means I want to befriend them. It’s a great catalyst. Sometimes if I’m at an event or function I may feel socially awkward or nervous, but my camera allows me to break through that barrier. “
Becker is inspired by people.
“Brave, scared, sad, happy, angry, awkward, shy, loving… you name it. I love capturing that down and I can capture a vulnerability that otherwise might be missed.” She did a series of photos at Highgate Senior Living with the Alzheimer’s patients there. “I can’t look at those photos without becoming emotional. Here are men and women at the end of their lives, baring their soul to me. Their eyes tell so many stories.”
The full version of Becker’s feature can be be viewed on Innovators of Vancouver.
Connect with Chris Martin to learn more about Innovators of Vancouver:
Chris Martin Studios, 360-448-8307