Expressionz Cafe was broken into Thursday, October 13 in the early hours of the morning, with several computers stolen along with cash, a soundboard and accessories, food, and 16 paintings. Karyn Stirling, founder of the cafe, says it appears as though the robbery had been planned in advance, with the thieves being selective about which items were taken and coming prepared with tools and gloves.
The robbery shocked the community, with one regular patron stating, “they didn’t just rob Expressionz, they robbed everyone who comes here.” However Karyn states Expressionz is trying to turn the unfortunate event around, by finding the silver lining. Somewhat paradoxically, the robbery has brought a lot of attention to the cafe, and is raising awareness of its mission. Although Expressionz hopes to recover the stolen artwork, fundraisers to compensate the artists for their stolen works are in the early stages of planning.
Expressionz Cafe is a community-driven centre for the “eats and arts” which provides creative space for nonprofit arts and well-being groups to put on functions. It is a social enterprise – a nonprofit that intends to be self-sustaining through the revenues it raises through the cafe and space rentals. The cafe also provides a gathering space for those who are involved in Edmonton’s art scene. In addition to the on-site gallery, regular programming includes open stages, yoga, painting classes, and other ideas put forth by the arts and well-being community.
If anyone has information about the stolen artwork, please contact Edmonton Police Services. Information about the fundraisers will be available through Expressionz Cafe’s website, Facebook page, and Twitter. Cash donations to help compensate the artists can be dropped off at Expressionz Cafe (9938 – 70th Avenue) or through the mail.
– Jenna Marynowski