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Vancouver plans to create new cultural spaces and 400 units of artist housing | Urbanized – Daily Hive

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Earlier this week, Vancouver city council approved a new 10-year arts and culture strategy that includes a pillar of protecting and growing spaces for arts and culture.

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Through 2029, the municipal government now has a goal of creating, repurposing, or expanding 800,000 sq. ft. of affordable city, non-profit, and private spaces for arts and culture, including 650,000 sq. ft. of new or repurposed space, 150,000 sq. ft. of enhanced existing spaces, and 400 units of affordable artist housing.

There is also a goal to see “no net loss” in cultural spaces such as artist studios and music spaces.

Housing crisis has impacted artists greatly

A city staff report states “increasing demand for spaces through real estate speculation has resulted in distorted land values and displacement of arts and cultural activities.”

The municipal government has found that over 16 studios in industrial spaces that providing working spaces for about 300 artists have either been closed or are under threat of displacement due to skyrocketing property tax and rent increases, as well as competition with other uses and development pressure.

Metro Vancouver is also currently experiencing a severe industrial space shortage due to the growth of industrial businesses, with vacancies hovering at around 2%, which has resulted in pressure on all types of industrial spaces that were previously purposed for non-industrial uses.

Artistic rendering of the City of Vancouver’s new seven-storey, 21,000-sq-ft arts and culture hub at 825 Pacific Street in downtown. Tenancy is expected by 2021. (IBI Group / Grosvenor)

City staff reviewed property tax assessments for 11 of the studio sites, and discovered an average tax increase of more than 77% over the past five years. In one case, a studio saw a rent increase of over $60,000 per year as a result of the tax increase, while the average increase for all 11 studios over this period was $30,000.

According to the municipal government, BC has the highest number of artists in Canada, and Vancouver has the highest concentration of artists per capita. However, most artists in Vancouver are living under the poverty line; 63% see an income of less than $40,000 annually, and they have a median income of $22,000 per year.

The municipal government may also consider creating new zoning that specifically designates sites for non-profit arts and cultural facilities. Such specific zoning would simplify and align city policies, licenses, permits, bylaws, and other regulatory requirements.

Other policies to assist the arts and cultural outcomes could re-examine property taxes for these uses, and density bonus allowances to developers in exchange for new cultural spaces.

New and enhanced event venues, cultural spaces, and museums

The city owns or leases over 1.3 million sq. ft. of arts and cultural space, including 80 spaces that total 830,000 sq. ft. that provide below-market or nominal rent to about 137 artists, as well as non-profit arts and cultural tenants. This includes the city’s ownership of the Orpheum, Orpheum Annex, Playhouse, and Queen Elizabeth Theatre, and seven artist studios.

The city is currently exploring upgrades to the Playhouse, Orpheum, and Firehall Theatre.

Projects that are deemed to be underway entail 10,000 sq. ft. of artist studios to be operated by 221A with Malaspina Printmakers at Howe Street Studios, a new 21,000-sq-ft cultural hub at 825 Pacific Street, a new 200-seat community performance space and studios at the community centre for the Oakridge Centre redevelopment, and a 20,000-sq-ft music centre at the Plaza of Nations redevelopment in Northeast False Creek.

Granville Island

Highly conceptual artistic rendering of the former ECUAD north building at Granville Island converted into the Arts & Innovation Hub. (CMHC)

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, which owns and operates Granville Island, intends on transforming Emily Carr University’s former north building into a 124,000-sq-ft arts and innovation hub.

The Pacific National Exhibition is in the early planning process of conducting a rebuild of its amphitheatre into a 7,000-person capacity outdoor venue, potentially with a canopy covering. But city staff want to go even further, and explore developing large outdoor spaces with event-supporting infrastructure for both amplified and non-amplified music, with spectator capacities of between 8,000 and 50,000 people.

PNE Amphitheatre

Artistic rendering of the potential “best scenario” concept for a new PNE Amphitheatre. (PNE)

There are some Vancouver districts with density bonus provisions that have benefited cultural spaces. The False Creek Flats Plan implemented a bonusing provision to support non-profit workspaces, job training programs, rehearsal space, and arts production facilities. The plan also limited certain uses and removed barriers for artist studios by maximizing allowable floor space and allowing new artist studios.

When it comes to museums, the city acknowledges that its civic museum cluster at Vanier Park is in need of a “major renewal.” This cluster includes the Museum of Vancouver, Vancouver Maritime Museum, and the HR McMillian Space Centre.

City staff have indicated they are conducting early research that will lead to a new master planning process for the Vanier Park museum cluster.

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Greta Thunberg will join Sustainabiliteens at #FridaysforFuture climate strike at Vancouver Art Gallery – Straight.com

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Expect throngs of young and old climate activists to converge on downtown Vancouver on Friday (October 25).

They’ll converge on the north side of the Vancouver Art Gallery to listen to a speech by their 16-year-old Swedish hero, Greta Thunberg, who will be making her first visit to the city.

The event will run from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Thunberg attracted a crowd of 10,000 to 12,000 when she spoke recently in Edmonton.

When she spoke at the UN Climate Action Summit in New York City in September, Thunberg emphasized the importance of keeping the global average temperature rise since the start of the Industrial Revolution to below 1.5 C.

“The popular idea of cutting our emissions in half in 10 years only gives us a 50 percent chance of staying below 1.5 degrees [Celsius] at the risk of setting off irreversible chain reactions beyond human control,” Thunberg told world leaders at the summit. “Fifty percent may be acceptable to you, but those numbers do not include tipping points, most feedback loops, additional warming hidden by toxic air pollution, or the aspects of equity and climate justice.

“They also rely on my generation sucking hundreds of billions of tonnes of your CO2 out of the air with technologies that barely exist. So a 50 percent risk is simply not acceptable to us—we who have to live with the consequences,” she continued. “To have a 67 percent chance of staying below a 1.5-degrees global temperature rise—the best odds given by the IPCC—the world had 420 gigatonnes of CO2 left to emit back on January 1, 2018.

“Today, that figure is already down to less than 350 gigatonnes. How dare you pretend that this can be solved with just business as usual and some technical solutions? With today’s emissions levels, that remaining CO2 budgets will be entirely gone within less than eight-and-a-half years.”

Thunberg’s event in Vancouver will be hosted by the teen-climate group Sustainabiliteens Vancouver.

Last year, the north plaza of the Vancouver Art Gallery was renamed šxʷƛ̓ənəq Xwtl’e7énḵ Square in honour of the region’s Indigenous heritage.

The name incorporates languages of all three Indigenous peoples in the region—the Musqueam, Tsleil-Waututh, and Squamish.

Video of Say it with us! šxʷƛ̓ənəq Xwtl’e7énḵ Square

This City of Vancouver video explains how to pronounce the name of  šxʷƛ̓ənəq Xwtl’e7énk Square.

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Society says City of Kamloops price tag for new performing arts centre would not exceed $45 million – CFJC Today Kamloops

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Benefactors Ron and Rae Fawcett have already committed $3 million, as well as a building already on site.

“We look to secure these funds through fundraising and a contribution from the city. This is very typical of similar projects of this scope,” said Daley.

The proposed PAC would be City of Kamloops-owned.

Council sent the issue to staff for analysis of the business case. Staff will bring a recommendation back to council for its Nov. 5 meeting, conceivably giving the society enough time to meet a Nov. 12 federal grant application deadline.

“We know this project is right now,” said Daley. “We have momentum.”

Councillor Arjun Singh tried to temper the enthusiasm for quick advancement of the project, saying the city would need to carefully weigh how to frame another referendum question asking the public for permission to borrow up to $45 million.

In 2015, Kamloops residents voted 54 per cent against borrowing up to $49 million to help build a PAC with a $90 million price tag.

Daley told Singh he believes the society can sway opponents of the 2015 proposal who were worried about the timing of the expenditure.

“It wasn’t ‘No;’ their big thing was, ‘Not now.’ We’re saying, ‘We think the time right now is the time.’ We believe that there is a basis of support out there.”

Councillor Bill Sarai told Daley a new PAC fits in well with the city’s Tournament Capital identity.

“We’re starting to realize we are the Tournament Capital of Canada, but performing arts is part of recreation,” said Sarai. “There was talk years ago that Sandman Centre would stay empty, you couldn’t fill the seats. Now it’s almost too small on Blazer days. TCC was never going to be used. Now it’s overused.”

“I think back to my family members who were involved in sporting activities — they have the greatest sporting facilities in Western Canada,” said Daley. “I think to my family members who are involved in arts activities — we can give them the greatest venue in Western Canada.”

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Arts upstart Meow Wolf says jobs up after public investment – CityNews Vancouver

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SANTA FE, N.M. — Offbeat arts adventure and entertainment company Meow Wolf says it has surpassed hiring goals outlined in a $1.1 million economic development grant from New Mexico and the city of Santa Fe, amid plans for an aggressive business expansion into Denver, Las Vegas and other major U.S. cities.

Meow Wolf co-founder and board member Vince Kadlubek said the addition of 290 employees since 2018 puts the company ahead of employment requirements under the 2017 grant award for building renovations.

The agreement called for Meow Wolf to create 250 jobs at an average salary of $46,000 a year by the end of 2021, with the opportunity for a $100,000 bonus if 300 jobs are created.

The New Mexico Economic Development Department that monitors the grant agreement could not immediately verify employment figures and average salaries on Tuesday. Agency spokesman Bruce Krasnow said it appears that “Meow Wolf has exceeded its job creation goals for state economic assistance.”

More than 1.5 million visitors have visited Meow Wolf’s kaleidoscopic walk- and crawl-through exhibit space in Santa Fe since it opened in a converted bowling alley in early 2016.

The company’s labour practices have come under scrutiny after two former employees filed a lawsuit this year complaining of unpaid wages for overtime and discrimination based on gender. Meow Wolf denies the charges. Court records show the company is seeking to move proceedings to arbitration.

In May, Meow Wolf announced a company-wide $17 hourly minimum wage — or roughly $35,360 a year for fulltime work. Santa Fe’s current minimum wage is $11.80 an hour. Meow Wolf’s executive compensation rates are not public.

Kadlubek, who helped broker the infrastructure award from New Mexico’s closing fund, announced last week in a blog post that he will step down as the company’s CEO to focus on improving his own business skills and taking better care of his personal health.

Going forward, the CEO post is being shared by three Meow Wolf executives, including a former creative director for Disney and a former vice-president at Lucasfilm who worked on business spinoffs from the “Star Wars” and “Indiana Jones” film franchises.

The 2017 award from New Mexico’s closing fund for emerging businesses was used by Meow Wolf to purchase and renovate an art and video production facility on the south side of Santa Fe, in a warehouse previously owned by construction equipment manufacturer Caterpillar. The state committed $850,000, and the city of Santa Fe pledged $250,000.

“At this point, we are packed to the brim at that facility, having literally run out of parking spots and space to operate,” Kadlubek said in an email. “So we are, in addition, renting out another 15 locations around the city to accommodate our workforce. It’s amazing.”

New Mexico also previously awarded Meow Wolf $450,000 through a jobs training incentives program to create 33 jobs.

The taxpayer funding is dwarfed by the company’s $158 million securities offering in May — borrowed money from private investors that Meow Wolf is using to expand. Permanent exhibitions are planned for Las Vegas, Denver and Washington, D.C. — along with a hotel-related project in Phoenix.

Morgan Lee, The Associated Press

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