Eastside Culture Crawl’s Displacement Forum + Exhibition Reveals Urgent Need for Artist Space in Vancouver

Eastside Culture Crawl Tackles Urgent Need for 

Affordable Artist Space in New Public Forum and Exhibition

Arts organization to release new findings from survey on artist space at public forum

Eastside Culture Crawl Society (ECCS) is seeking solutions for the increasingly urgent crisis facing visual artists displaced from their studios, cooperative spaces, and artistic communities with the announcement of a new public forum and multi-venue art exhibition, Displacement Forum & Exhibition, launching in advance of the Crawl’s renowned four-day visual arts festival. The public forum, hosted on October 25 & 26, 2019, at DUDOC (1489 Frances St), promises to engage the public, artists, planners, policymakers, and politicians in addressing the rising challenges plaguing the Eastside Arts District. The ECCS will also release the report City Without Art? No Net Loss+ which shares findings from its artist production space survey.

“Over the past several years, I have witnessed a drastic deterioration in artists’ access to affordable and sustainable spaces in Vancouver due to the increasing redevelopment of Vancouver’s industrial land, coupled with the city’s chronically untenable cost of living,” says Esther Rausenberg, Artistic & Executive Director of ECCS. “Hundreds of artists have faced eviction, prohibitive rent increases, or shrinking studio space, impacting their ability to work. While this is a critical issue affecting artists, it also has serious consequences on our city as a whole. Without art, our city risks losing its cultural vibrancy and social connection. Our report City Without Art? No Net Loss+ will further illuminate the challenges facing visual artists.”

This widespread issue is further evidenced by the City of Vancouver’s recent announcement of a 10-year plan to support arts and culture, including the Making Space for Arts and Culture report in which the city’s desperate space challenges are addressed through a multi-pronged approach, including a target of creating 800,000 square feet of dedicated artist space over the next 10 years, as well as the creation of an Affordable Cultural Spaces Fund over the next three years.

“While we maintain our mandate of celebrating the Eastside Arts District and community through the annual Eastside Culture Crawl, it is critical that we take the steps necessary to be a vocal member of this current conversation, and to heighten awareness and raise funds in support of our vibrant arts community. It’s important we recognize the significant value and impact artists make on a healthy, thriving society,” adds Rausenberg.

The Displacement Forum, open to the public, includes four moderated events:

Setting The Stage… Numbers, Numbers, Numbers | October 25 from 3:30-5:30pm
John Steil, Chair of the ECCS Spaces Committee joins Rausenberg in presenting the findings of a comprehensive survey conducted by ECCS in 2019 to determine an inventory of artist production spaces in the city’s industrial areas. Captured through ECCS’s database, interviews, online artist surveys, discussions with building owners, and site-specific research, results reflect both existing as well as historical data and identify land use trends.

So What? | October 25 at 6pm
Moderated by Tony Osborn, architect, UBC professor and founder of Turncoats Vancouver—an international public debate series—this evening event will feature a playful and provocative debate. Conducted in Turncoats style, where two teams of two panelists must argue both sides of the issue, the debate honestly examines whether artists deserve support and funding in their quest for affordable space in a city and era that has alienated nearly all of its residents.

What the… ? | October 26 from 10am-12pm 
Moderated by Marianne Amodio, an award-winning architect, member of the City of Vancouver Regulatory Review Advisory Committee, and ECCS Board member, this event examines the current state of artists’ circumstances through an expert panel of Vancouver-based artists and advocates. Artists will be invited to share their own stories and current struggles.

Now What? | October 26 from 1-3pm
Moderated by Tony Osborn, this last event offers practical solutions to the problem, through a team-based approach assembled of one artist and one building expert. Each team will present their work, examining case studies, zoning and funding solutions, followed by a panel discussion and audience questions.

The forum will be held in conjunction with a multi-venue, salon-style exhibition, Displacement, mounted at various venues from October 29 — November 24, 2019. Featuring work by artists who have faced the challenges of eviction or have found ways to survive displacement, the exhibition will not only address the issue of displacement but question the overall value of art in our society, and demonstrate the need for stronger support by civic and provincial governments to protect and encourage the development of affordable, safe, and sustainable artist production spaces. Exhibition details include:

ARTS FACTORY (281 Industrial Avenue)
November 2 — 10, 2019 | Opening Reception: November 2, 2019, 8:30-10pm

FIREHALL ARTS CENTRE (280 E. Cordova Street)
October 29 — November 24, 2019 | Opening Reception: November 6, 2019, 6-8pm

THE CULTCH (1895 Venables Street)
October 29 — November 24, 2019 | Opening Reception: November 6, 2019, 6-8pm

October 29 — November 17, 2019 | Opening Reception: November 6, 2019, 6-8pm

For full event details, visit culturecrawl.ca/events.

About the Eastside Culture Crawl (culturecrawl.ca)
The Eastside Culture Crawl is an annual four-day visual arts festival held in November that involves artists on Vancouver’s Eastside opening their studio to the public. The event is focused on the area bounded by Columbia Street, 1st Avenue, Victoria Drive, and the Waterfront and involves painters, jewellers, sculptors, furniture makers, weavers, potters, printmakers, photographers, glassblowers; from emerging artists to those internationally established.

The Eastside Culture Crawl officially began in 1997 with 45 visual artists in three Strathcona area studio buildings attended by a few hundred people. Since that time the event has grown to include more than 500 artists, craftspeople, and designers attracting more than 45,000 visitors. The organization itself has evolved to represent the heart of the East Van creative community.

Media release and image provided by Sarah Ghosh, Murray Paterson Marketing Group.

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