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Vancouver non-profit organizations get a funding boost to support public art

March 29 2017

Interactive artwork - poles that light up at night

Public art is getting a boost in Vancouver as the City invests more than $500,000 dollars to create opportunities for artists and organizations in Vancouver’s vibrant art scene. The investment will stimulate opportunities for murals, artwork by indigenous artists, and enable significant new public art projects in Vancouver.

“Vancouver has a rich and diverse cultural scene with a strong community,” says Kathleen Llewellyn-Thomas, general manager of Community Services. “It is important for the City to continue to invest in its creative arts community and fund public art initiatives to support a thriving arts culture.”

A call to local art organizations

To enhance the experience of the public realm for residents and visitors, in February 2017, the City’s Public Art Program issued a call to local art organizations that needed financial support to pursue a planned public art initiative. For the next two years, ten projects will receive funding totaling $490,000 in grants to enable exciting new opportunities for art in public spaces, including support for:

  • The Burrard Arts Foundation’s expansion of the Façade Festival and increasing the number of artist commissions
  • The Or Gallery’s commissions for artists exploring re-use and upcycling.

Sound, murals, sculpture, and projections are also supported through this boost.

Another $152,000 is being granted to 11 community organizations working with artists to produce public art projects, including:

  • The Italian Cultural Centre, which will feature an interactive and intergenerational sculpture
  • PHS Community Services Society, where carver and artist John W. Sam will facilitate a drum-making workshop that will inform a mural to honour the Coast Salish peoples

“The boost funding will assist grunt gallery in producing an urban screen exclusively for art,” says Vanessa Kwan, curator of community engagement for grunt gallery. “This funding will enable grunt and its neighbourhood collaborators to explore a significant new public art opportunity and foster rich connections to the art and cultural history of Mount Pleasant.”

Supporting a diverse arts culture

To support a diverse and thriving arts culture, Council put forward a motion in June 2016 to support Vancouver’s public art activities and increase awareness through new events and projects, totaling an investment of $1.5 million. The first report in 2016 identified five quick-start projects and a total of $755,000 went to local arts organizations to help build their programs. Lumière Festival in downtown Vancouver, a Musqueam Infrastructure Project in South Vancouver, and an Imagination Zone were some of the projects that received funding. Today’s announcement of $642,000 is the second allocation of funds for the public art boost approved by Council in 2016.

Vancouver's Public Art Program

Vancouver’s Public Art Program has been commissioning public art for 25 years and has produced over 300 pieces of public art throughout the City. In 2016, the program produced 16 temporary artworks and 16 permanent artworks. For the 25th anniversary of the Program, the Public Art Registry was optimized for mobile devices and can now show artwork near you.

Read the Council report on the public art boost and organizations receiving funding PDF file (380 KB)

Learn more about the Public Art Program