Jason Arkell-Boles // Columnist
If you participate in the Vancouver art scene, you’ve probably heard somebody mention that they’re “moving to Montreal.” Hey, even I’m guilty of saying it. Just a few months ago, my roommate and I, both filmmakers, decided that after we get our degrees, we’d want to move to cold, Canadian Paris. It’s hard to deny that moving to Montreal from Vancouver is an intriguing plan for anyone interested in the arts. Cheap rent, a huge creative community, plenty of jobs for young people, tons of art galleries make it a perfect city for up and coming creatives.
Not long after we made this brash decision, we decided that leaving our friends and the film industry in Vancouver may not be the best plan for us. But this got me thinking: Vancouver is a huge city, with tons of art schools, creatives, and alternative neighborhoods—all the tools a city needs to become a creative hub. So why then does our art community feel so dull in comparison to that of French Canada?
With myself and many of my close friends wanting to make a name for ourselves in the art world, I decided to figure out why Vancouver lacks the same artistic environment as other art hubs. What good art is coming out of Vancouver? Where are the scenes? Who’s making waves? What will future art historians write about the city as we live in it today?
Many would say Vancouver is an “artsy” city; that’s why I moved here from Kelowna to pursue film and photography. Anyone can walk down Commercial Drive or Main Street, see the murals and alternative folk, and sense that something creative is going on. In the past, Vancouver produced some great artists, huge names like photographers Fred Herzog and Jeff Wall, architect Arthur Erickson, and multimedia artist Bill Reid. Even Grimes grew up here, well, before she moved to Montreal. But despite Vancouver’s artistic history, which checks all the same boxes as Montreal’s, finding contemporary art and the innovators of modern Vancouver remains a difficult task. Where are these artists hiding, and which scenes are making the most noise?
As far as noise is concerned, the easiest scene to get into here and the first I found my way into was the music scene. Through venues such as the Avant-Garden and Red Gate, anyone can get a quick glimpse into the local musicians trying to make a name for themselves.
These shows are a great way to meet a bunch of local art types. The Red Gate Art Society, in addition to being a music venue, occasionally hosts art shows—giving a platform for artists to show their work publicly. While these spaces provide great exposure for Vancouver artists, they are few in number, and constantly under threat of gentrification and spiking rent prices.
Outside of the music scene, finding contemporary visual art in Vancouver can be a challenge. My attempts to find local art lead me to events like the Vancouver Art Book Fair at Emily Carr, VanCaf for local comic artists, and CanZine for art zines and books. Although these events are great for discovering new artists, they only occur annually and are always packed, making artist-to-artist mingling a challenge.
When it comes to finding artists in the area, Instagram (for better or worse) is the most popular way to find other creatives. Whether they be talented painters and illustrators such as my local favorite Julia Majer (@julimajer), or Instagram rogues such as colorful fashion photographer Conor Cunningham (@mescondi) and vintage-inspired high-fashion stylist/designer Carmyn Slater (@uglybeige), there’s certainly no lack of artists creating work in the city. With a huge number of artists working independently online, Vancouver still seems to lack any sort of organized artistic community.
When thinking of creating communities in the art world, I envision the golden age of New York art in the sixties and seventies. The New York scene gained its infamy through the organized spaces the arts community could call home. Andy Warhol’s The Factory, for example, was a hip hangout spot for local artists and Warhol’s most admired friends and creatives (also a bunch of speed users, but it was the sixties so who could blame them). At The Factory, you had the chance to mingle with all the names in the New York art community, year-round.
At the moment, Vancouver lacks collaboration in the physical sense. Mending this could involve more local galleries showing Vancouver-made artwork, or more cinema’s showing Canadian short films. Constant art shows and events are what the city needs to take off artistically, not just annual events, which don’t create a lasting platform. Montreal figured out how to make these spaces happen, so why can’t we?
Like most problems in Vancouver, the root cause is, of course, rent. Let’s not forget that not so long ago, the 333, one of Vancouver’s cornerstone music venues located in the trashiest garage in town, sold for 2.5 million dollars to a condominium developer. Regardless, I’m still optimistic that all of us poor, café-loving, tree-hugging Vancouver creatives can push forward by connecting with new artists in the community and showing each other kindness.
Through Instagram, Vancouver artists know of each other, but they don’t necessarily know each other. In a city as expensive as Vancouver, artists need to reach out to each other virtually, setting up collaborations, organizing events, or just meeting up for coffee to learn more about each other’s art. Vancouver’s creatives deserve a strong and supportive community to work in, as well as recognition on an international level. This sounds like a daunting task, but we can make this happen. All we have to do is reach out to each other and say hello. Who knows, if we all start getting to know each other better, maybe we won’t have to move across the country to be heard.
Submissions accepted for Anonymous Art Show – Abbotsford News
The Abbotsford Arts Council is now accepting applications for its sixth annual Anonymous Art Show fundraiser.
The show runs as a digital exhibition from Nov. 1 to 30 at abbotsfordartscouncil.com, and artists can apply until Oct. 10.
The show enables the community to support emerging artists and gives the buyer an opportunity to take home an artist’s original work at an affordable price.
The Anonymous Art Show features art that is submitted anonymously by members of the community of all ages and skill levels to be featured and sold in a lightly juried exhibition.
Each piece displayed in the show is on a 12” x 12” x 1.5” canvas and is sold for $100. Half the proceeds go to the artist, and the other half stays with the Abbotsford Arts Council.
When a piece is purchased, the work will be marked as sold and the artist’s name revealed. The Abbotsford Arts Council will announce each participating artist on Instagram @abbotsfordartscouncil as their work is sold.
The proceeds help fund programs such as free community events, exhibition space, arts initiatives and more.
Artists may submit their application online at abbotsfordartscouncil.com until Oct. 10, and the completed works must be delivered to the Kariton Art Gallery (2387 Ware St.) on Oct. 10 from noon to 4 p.m. or by pre-arranged appointment.
The House of Fine Art (2485 West Railway St.) will include a $5 coupon (to be used toward a future purchase) with the purchase of the required pre-stretched canvas.
Visit the arts council’s website or email email@example.com for more information.
SC Rewind: The 1971 Art Derby – Standardbred Canada
Published: September 26, 2020 11:35 am ET
In the current edition of Rewind Robert Smith recalls a rather novel promotion from 50 years ago that was spearheaded by Bill Galvin, longtime Publicity official of the Ontario Jockey Club. It was a pretty ingenious endeavor that attracted the attention of a huge number of participants.
Fifty years ago The Ontario Jockey Club was a very well organized and successful entity. Their tracks were state of the art (two of the three fairly recently completed) and the on-track product rivalled any jurisdiction then in existence. The O.J.C. Publicity department was a very active segment of the operation and did a first-class job of promoting current and future events and happenings. They also were always eager to seek out new fans, even the youngsters, many of whom attended the races with their parents.
In 1971 under the guidance of Bill Galvin, future Hall of Fame writer and communicator, the Publicity folks repeated an exciting promotion called Art Derby For Kids. Previous competitions had been based on poetry, this one on art. The subject of the latest Art Derby was a Standardbred mare named Superior Princess and her young daughter Hieland Barbara. Both of these fine-looking animals were owned by Mrs. Edith Hie of Cobourg, Ont. It was through the generosity of Mrs. Hie and her husband Cliff that these two were “loaned” to Bill Galvin for this interesting event.
In order to be eligible for the 1971 Art Derby the child had to be 12 years or younger by October 15, which was the closing date for the competition. The task at hand was for the child to submit a creative drawing of Superior Princess and her daughter. It was to be drawn on any size piece of paper up to 20 x 24 inches using any type of pen or pencil. Included in the permissible tools were watercolours, magic markers, poster colors and acrylics. Oils were not acceptable. An entrant who met the age qualifications could submit as many drawings as they wished.
Children who wished to get a close-up view of Superior Princess and her cute little foal were advised to tune in to the Uncle Bobby Show, a long-running children’s program of that time. This popular educational show was then in its eighth year and aired daily except Sunday on Toronto’s CFTO which was Channel 9. For those not in the Toronto viewing area there were six other locations with varying dates throughout August and early September to choose from. So wide was the viewing area that it included the cities of Windsor, Edmonton, Calgary, Halifax, Regina and even St. John’s, Nfld.
Owner Cliff Hie holds broodmare Superior Princess while her foal is attended to by a visitor on the Uncle Bobby Show. A TV cameraman catches all of the action. That’s “Uncle Bobby” with the striped trousers. (Courtesy of Bill Galvin)
Two judges were selected to oversee the Canada-wide competition. Mrs. Kay Boa, Head of the Art Dept. at Ridley College in St. Catherines, and Barry MacKay, a bird artist and naturalist were chosen. Mr. MacKay was a regular guest on the Uncle Bobby Show.
The grand prize for winning the 1971 Art Derby was a fully paid trip to the fabulous new Disney World in Orlando, Florida via Eastern Air Lines. The first prize also included the teacher of the winner who would accompany the child. This was a major prize as Disney World had just opened at this time and very few people had visited there.
AND THE WINNER IS…
In October of 1971 the winner of the contest was announced. That lucky person was 11-year-old Kim Thoms, daughter of Wm. and Ann Thoms, and a student at Beverly Acres School in Richmond Hill, Ont. A horse lover, Kim created her prize-winning art during her spare time at school. The judges commented that Kim’s art was an excellent piece which went beyond the horse and it was obvious that she put a great deal of effort into her work.
Taking second prize of $50 was Teri Lynn Maxwell of Scarborough, Ont. with third going to Melanie LeMarchant of Cobourg, Ont. who received $25. Jackie Cameron of Amherst, N.S. and Heather Fisher of Morinville, Alta. both received honourable mention.
Three Derbies were held in the years 1969, 1970 and 1971 all with similar formats. They reached huge audiences through newspapers, magazines including extensive front-page coverage in the Toronto Star, Canada’s largest newspaper. The total media coverage for the three Derbies was 9,236,400. It was estimated that this year’s event attracted 300,000 viewers on the TV programs when the mare and foal were guests.
Bill put on a lot of “neat” promotions and special events back in the day. He staged donkey races, arranged for Santa Claus to land in the centrefield, put on sleigh rides for kids, held Christmas dinners for the horsemen and that’s just a small sampling of his many endeavors.
Quote For The Week: “A smile can start a conversation without saying a word.”
Who Is It?
Around the same time as the contest described in today’s Rewind (within a year or two) another version of the Art Derby was held. Can you name the three people in the above photo as they appear in the TV studio with that year’s “celebrities”. Second from left is the TV show host Uncle Bobby. (Courtesy of Bill Galvin)
Where Was It?
Can you identify where this famous photo was taken? Now how about naming the winning horse and driver and what event was taking place. That’s a lot but I’ll bet our experts will come up with it. (Hoof Beats Photo)
Black Lives Matter street art installations coming to Dartmouth, Halifax – CBC.ca
The Halifax Regional Municipality will be painting the words “Black Lives Matter” in Halifax and Dartmouth this weekend.
The municipality said it was doing it to show support for the movement.
“This public solidarity augments several measures being taken by the municipality corporately to help address anti-Black racism and continue to build [a] better relationship with the municipality’s communities of African descent,” the municipality said in a news release on Friday.
Work on the first installation at Alderney Drive in Dartmouth will begin at 7 p.m. on Saturday.
Work on the second installation at Brunswick Street in Halifax will begin at 7 p.m. on Sunday.
The municipality said sidewalks will be open and access to businesses will be maintained and that at least one lane of vehicle traffic in each direction will be maintained while work is underway.
The bicycle lane on Brunswick Street will be closed while work is happening and cyclists and vehicles will share one single file lane around the work area.
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