It’s not every day a billionaire engages critics in a one-on-one debate, but that’s exactly what happened in Point Grey on Saturday.
A group of artists and musicians had gathered to throw a DJ-driven “protest rave” on Point Grey Road, where Lululemon founder and billionaire Chip Wilson’s $73.1 million home is located.
Protesters say Wilson’s development company, Low Tide Properties, has bought up land in the city’s northeast and handed renoviction notices to no less than 18 arts and culture organizations.
On Saturday, Wilson came out to the street to push back against the demonstrators and argue that he was a sponsor of the arts and he, too, had been through hardship.
WATCH: Chip Wilson addresses protesters outside his West Side home
“I didn’t get here without making a lot of mistakes and having failed many times, and many times I couldn’t make rent because I didn’t have a product that people wanted to buy, so if you can’t make a product…” said Wilson, before demonstrators shouted him down.
“Well I had a product that was extremely popular and [the event] was packed every week and you still renovicted me,” replied one.
“But you’re not making enough money, right? The world doesn’t want enough of your product for you to pay the rent,” said Wilson.
“But I was paying the rent,” replied the demonstrator. “Your company didn’t give me the option of paying the rent.”
Wilson walked off at that point, declining to answer questions from Global News.
Low Tide Properties did not respond to Global News’ request for comment. The company’s website says it buys and holds office, industrial, multi-family and retail properties.
WATCH: Lululemon founder Chip Wilson inducted into ‘Business Laureates of BC Hall of Fame’
“We invest in the emerging neighbourhoods we know best,” states the site.
“Our company searches for multiple properties in each neighbourhood with the intention of owning enough space to have a meaningful impact.
Nathan Drillot, a local film producer who’s also helped run East Vancouver art and events space Index Gallery for the last six years said his group was among those whose building was purchased by Low Tide, and was later kicked out by the company so it could renovate.
“There’s a crisis happening in the Lower Mainland and in Vancouver in particular around affordability, this isn’t just arts and culture spaces, this is housing, this is small business, this is industrial space,” he said.
“You only have two options, you fight and continue to make it work, or you leave Vancouver. I call it a crisis because for a lot of people they’re not going to be able to stay and they will leave.”
Drillot said his group is happy to pay rent, but as an arts group is only able to afford so much.
“It’s difficult because you’re having to pay rents that have exploded in a few year. For us in particular, we’ve been looking at spaces and we’ve found one … but it’s three times the price we were paying previously,” he said.
WATCH: Lululemon limits founder Chip Wilson’s influence on company
Vancouver City Councillor Jean Swanson also attended the demonstration.
“There’s a lot of artist spaces where rents have gone up a lot, and artists have had to leave because they can’t afford it. And a lot of those spaces are owned by Low Tide,” she said.
“He should just let them stay.”
Swanson said the city is at risk of losing its arts and culture spaces with property values skyrocketing, and said young artists who are just starting out are particularly vulnerable.
“We need to have artist spaces that don’t cost an arm and a leg,” she said. “We’re all richer for it.”
-With files form Paul Johnson
Penticton’s Arts Rising Festival included as BC Culture Days 10th anniversary celebration – Pentiction Western News
Penticton’s Arts Rising Festival will be part of the upcoming BC Culture Days’ 10th anniversary celebration.
Organized by the Penticton and District Community Arts Council, the event will take place at various locations across the city on Sept. 27, running from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Other Okanagan city’s will also be hosting their own Culture Days events in honour of the beloved province-wide arts and culture celebration.
“This vibrant weekend of artistic expression will explore the intersections of creativity, the arts and well-being. Featuring painting, theatre, experimental performance art, literature, design, cinema, and beyond, BC Culture Days is a thrilling family-friendly weekend that builds community, fosters well-being, encourages exploration and discovery and celebrates creativity in all its forms,” states a release.
BC Culture Days will officially launch with a provincial kick-off event in Mission on Sept. 22, 2019 from 1 to 3 p.m. at the Heritage Park Centre. Mission: A Mosaic of Cultures will showcase a broad range of cultural activities by notable and emerging artists from the Mission community. In addition, the release states the cultural hub for the Okanagan and surrounding regions is A SIGNATURE IN TIME — Kelowna Arts and Culture Festival 2019 and is located at the Rotary Centre for the Arts.
Beginning at 10 a.m. on Sept. 27, Penticton residents can learn how to make paper slurry from natural materials with Harmony Paper at the Leir House, located at 220 Manor Park Ave. Song Catching with Yanti kicks off at the same location from 3 to 4 p.m.
The audience can have their say and help artist Lyse Desellier create a new painting at the Tumbleweed Gallery, located at 452 Main St., from 4 to 6 p.m. Then it’s back to Leir House for the Magic & Mystery opening night and reception, which will include a thank you party to Sharon Lawrence, who recently retired after 13 years with the council. This will take place from 6 to 8 p.m.
All events part of the BC Culture Days celebration in Penticton are free and ope to the public. For more information, or to see what other cities are doing to celebrate, visit www.culturedays.ca.
To report a typo, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Disaster in store for Prince Rupert, announces Lester Centre of the Arts – Prince Rupert Northern View
Disaster will be coming to Prince Rupert in April, but don’t worry, not in the literal sense.
The Lestre Centre of the Arts’ announced that Disaster! was chosen as the 2020 community musical.
Disaster!, is a musical comedy created by three-time Emmy Award nominee and SiriusXM Broadway host Seth Rudetsky.
“We chose this production to appeal not only to audiences but artists as well. We’ll be searching for performers and instrumentalists with a wide range of specialties and talents. The lighthearted script and the infectious rhythms of the score guarantee this will be fun for everyone,” stated Kristy Tillman, who will lead the musical production.
The score features favourites from the 1970’s like ‘Knock on Wood’ and ‘Hooked on a Feeling’ with a “storyline set in a floating casino and discotheque”.
Tillman led the orchestra for the Lester Centre’s 2018 production of Spamalot and 9 to 5: The Musical, put on by Charles Hays Secondary School. Joining her on the Disaster! team is Hans Seidemann who will serve as the show’s artistic director. He most recently directed Neil Simon’s Rumors for the Lester Centre’s spring production.
“The comedic chops of Prince Rupert’s artistic community will get a thorough workout,” Seidemann stated. “The bell-bottomed A-listers who are outrageously lampooned in this story are going to infect our city with disco fever, whose side effects include dancing in the aisles.”
Dwain Harrison will oversee the show’s design and Scott Langille will serve as stage manager.
Auditions will be held at the end of October with the musical taking place in April.
Jenna Cocullo | Journalist
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Aboriginal arts organization forced to cancel conference plans due to Ontario funding cuts – Global News
After the Ontario government eliminated the Indigenous Culture Fund earlier in 2019, some Indigenous organizations have been left without funding.
The Aboriginal Arts Collective of Canada (AACC) previously received $25,000 from the Indigenous Culture Fund through the Ontario Arts Council (OAC). The funding was administered on behalf of the Government of Ontario through the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport.
Dawn Setford, the founder and president of the AACC, said now that the Indigenous Culture Fund has been eliminated, the organization does not have enough funding to continue some of its efforts to preserve Indigenous arts and tradition.
Setford said she used the money to hold a conference earlier in March to teach Indigenous women about the spirituality behind the techniques of Indigenous arts and tradition. She said they brought in elders and artists who taught the participants about drum-making, ancient basketry, porcupine quilling, and caribou tufting — important ancient Indigenous art forms lost as time passed.
Without the funding, Setford said she’s unable to hold another a similar conference in 2020.
“I won’t be holding another one next year because I don’t have that funding,” said Setford.
“I can’t foresee having another conference without the support of the Indigenous Culture Fund and other funds that are similar,” she said.
Additionally, Setford said there is a difference between how Indigenous individuals perceive art and how non-Indigenous people do.
“Our art is completely based on spirituality and culture. In everything we make, there’s symbolism to a story, reference to a map or a pattern,” she said.
The Ford government cut arts sector support to $6.5 million from $18.5 million in May. The Ontario Arts Council was set to receive $10 million less in funding in 2019, which resulted in the elimination of the Indigenous Culture Fund.
However, Setford said the Indigenous Culture Fund did more than just support the arts.
“The Indigenous Culture Fund did not just support our artistic endeavors, so when somebody sees that that programming or funding was cancelled, it’s not just that we can’t paint anymore,” she said.
“That funding was actually very sensitively directed towards reclamation of our language; mentorship that helped us to relearn and then teach our children.”
Setford said the funding was meant to help them revitalize their languages, songs, performance art and traditional art, adding the fund also helped Indigenous women to gain momentum and relearn their traditions.
“We came together, a group of a couple hundred women, and we gathered in order to make sure that the original purposes of our arts weren’t forgotten,” she said.
“That’s why this really hurts. Because generally speaking, we as Indigenous women were just getting momentum. We were just coming back to pride and not being afraid.”
A spokesperson for the Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport recently provided Global News with a statement regarding the cuts.
“The government believes that all artists, including Indigenous artists, play an important role in sharing cultural practices and strengthening communities’ well-being,” the statement read.
With respect to the elimination of the Indigenous Culture Fund, the spokesperson said it still supports Indigenous art in other ways.
“A $60-million investment in the Ontario Arts Council is seeing the continuation of numerous core programs that support Indigenous artists, musicians, and other individuals,” the statement continued.
The programs cited by the government include Indigenous Arts Projects and Indigenous Presenters in the North: Music Projects.
Meanwhile, Setford said without the Indigenous Culture Fund the organization doesn’t have any other options in terms of funding.
She said the AACC is a Canada-incorporated not-for-profit organization that can’t afford to move forward and become a charity. Setford said corporations are more likely to give money to charities so they can claim it as a charity donation.
“Our funding is really limited to government sponsored councils, such as the OAC,” she said.
“Without the ICF, the Canada Council for the Arts is inundated with proposals and funding is spread thin – leaving gatherings like ours without any funding.”
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