Vancouver City Council this week approved 10,800 square feet of cultural amenity space for artist studios at 1265 Howe Street. In addition, on March 26, Council approved two new artist live/work studios located at Marine and Cambie to be added to the Artist Studio Award Program.
Several years in the making, these studio developments are one aspect of the multi-pronged approach the City is taking to mitigate the cultural creation/production space crisis in Vancouver.
Both developments will be for Class B space (inclusive of the higher toxicity/sound impacts) and will take approximately 2-3 years for completion.
The Howe Street Studios are particularly exciting as a brand new type of cultural space for Vancouver and the first time a large amenity has supported creation/production.
Purpose built and city owned, this creative production space has built in flexibility and operational sustainability to ensure it is, and remains, functional for artist use many years into the future. The space is comprised of two levels of individual studios of approximately 350sf each with garage doors that open into a central common atrium.
Pending the number of artists that may wish to share spaces, the facility will accommodate more 20 artists. The atrium area can act as a collaborative work or programming space, and there is a dramatic presentation space fronting on to Howe Street where artists can display their works.
Dedicated loading at the rear, office, storage, high ceilings, natural light, enhanced power supply, slop sinks, sound proofing will all be built in. The City hopes that this new type of space will open the conversation for new studio design and perhaps spark interest by neighbourhoods seeking to create studio spaces in their locales.
Operation of the space will involve the city leasing to a non-profit operator (yet to be selected) who will be responsible for sub-leasing to the individual artists. Through the support of a cash Facility Reserve Fund (part of the CAC), the rental rates for the space are expected to be held at $1.25/sf/month for the first number of years (inclusive of all costs).
Five years in the making, the developer and members of the cultural community have been partners in moving this project forward.
For those interested in the space, please note there are still a few years of design, permitting and construction ahead. The City will seek a non-profit operator in the coming year and that operator will be responsible for tenanting the studio spaces. I regret that we cannot accept applications for studio space at this time. Watch for further announcements on a call for Expressions of Interest for a non-profit Studio Operator later this year.