Mayor to support motion to identify and protect Vancouver arts and culture spaces

January 23, 2013 | Arts and Culture

Mayor Gregor Robertson will support a motion at next week’s City Council meeting to identify and provide stronger protection for Vancouver’s arts and culture spaces. The motion from Councillor Heather Deal will begin a process for recognizing and mapping artistic and cultural assets in the city, including venues and spaces that may be at risk of redevelopment.

“Vancouver’s creative sector is one of the most unique and vibrant in the world, but it’s important for the City to continue to be proactive in supporting our city’s most important arts and culture spaces and resources,” said Mayor Robertson. “Many major cities face similar challenges with high land prices, but find ways to protect key cultural venues and provide strong support for artists. We should be drawing on best practices from around the world to see how we can better protect artistic and cultural spaces in Vancouver, and strengthen our creative community even more."

The motion will request that City staff work with Vancouver’s new Arts and Culture Policy Council and the public to identify Vancouver’s unique existing cultural assets, and to examine and recommend best practices from other leading cities that will best ensure their protection.

The motion also seeks to involve Vancouver’s open data community and local technology entrepreneurs in mapping these arts and culture resources online.

“Arts and culture is valued in a variety of different ways by people with diverse perspectives, and this motion will help ensure that Vancouver preserves and expands upon its dynamic cultural character,” added the Mayor.

Next week’s motion builds on a series of steps by the City to support Vancouver's arts and culture, including:

  • the launch of the Arts Factory, a new 21,000 square foot artist space at 281 Industrial, which will provide up to 40 new studio spaces in a City-owned building;
  • the creation of a citizen-led Arts and Culture Policy Council;
  • over 20,000 square feet of new artist space approved in 2012
  • 44,500 square feet of space approved at the Wall Centre at 160 West 1st Avenue, designed to accommodate a new 250-seat theatre and a rehearsal hall;
  • the Park Board offering nine previously vacant field houses rent-free to artists in exchange for community-engaged arts projects and programming;
  • approval for restoring the historic York Theatre on Commercial Drive, to be operated by the Vancouver East Cultural Centre

On a per capita basis, the City of Vancouver has the highest number of artists and provides the most local grant funding for arts organizations in Canada.


Full text of the motion:

Motion to identify and protect arts and culture spaces in Vancouver

WHEREAS it is challenging for local artists to find affordable and appropriate space in Vancouver;

WHEREAS people have very different opinions on what type of arts and culture is important to them;

WHEREAS cultural facilities are often located in older buildings and neighbourhoods that can be vulnerable to development pressures;


a. Council request staff to work with the City’s Arts and Culture Policy Council (ACPC) on a process for identifying and mapping artistic and cultural resources in the city, including facilities at risk from development;

b. That this process include an opportunity for public input and involve Vancouver’s open data community;

c. Staff and the ACPC provide recommendations for Council regarding opportunities for additional protection of existing cultural facilities, based on best practices in other cities.