Vancouver City Council unanimously approved capital grant funding of $4.5 million to four arts and cultural non-profits today (June 11) towards stable community based artist production spaces in the Mount Pleasant neighbourhood.
The funding comes from a cultural community amenity contribution (CAC) from the developer of the Rize Alliance Properties tower in Mount Pleasant. In the fall of 2013, an open call was issued for submissions from local non-profit arts and cultural organizations for innovative capital development projects to retain and enhance existing space or develop new space for artist production in or adjacent to Mount Pleasant.
Four groups were chosen as recipients of the funds through an intensive selection process. Western Front ($1.5 million), grunt gallery (S400,000), and Arts Factory ($300,000) will receive funds for the purpose of securing, enhancing, or expanding existing artist production space. The Centre for Arts Innovation, a working collaboration between VIVO Media Arts and C-Space, will receive a total of $2.3 million to purchase a new shared space with an aim of “cross-pollinating and broadening the reach of artists.”
Funding allocated to grunt gallery, received on the eve of its 30th anniversary, will enable the organization to pay off its mortgage and will support the purchase of additional space in the near future.
The Western Front, at the forefront of art production nationally and internationally for over 40 years, will be able to purchase its 6,800 square foot heritage building at 303 East 8th Avenue and secure its future. Caitlin Jones, Western Front executive director, thanked Mayor Robertson and Council, and said that access to space is the number one threat to Vancouver’s cultural scene.
Last year, The Arts Factory Society was selected as the non-profit operator to fit-out, sublease and operate multi-tenant artist work space at 281 Industrial Avenue. Improvements on the building are underway, however unexpected delays and expenses have arisen while upgrading the space. The Arts Factory’s Elia Kirby said that the funds will support the society as it faces new challenges of renovating an old building.
C-Space, the joint venture between independent theatre companies Boca Del Lupo, Electric Company, Neworld Theatre and Rumble, currently shares space at Progress Lab 1422. VIVO Media Arts, one of Canada’s oldest artist-run centres, has been a cultural landmark at 1965 Main Street for two decades and will now be able to remain in the neighbourhood, establish a permanent home, and sustain its activities in the future.
The Centre for Arts Innovation would ideally accommodate uses such as a gallery, black box production/recording space, presentation studio, rehearsal and production spaces, micro-cinema, digital and electronics classroom, micro studios, archive, research room, preservation hub, office space and a lobby cafe.
For more on the City of Vancouver's plan to make space for arts and culture, click here.