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Creative City Strategy early findings shape vision for culture and creativity in Vancouver

Themes, tensions, and immediate actions as part of the ongoing Creative City Strategy were presented to Council, along with four major cultural grant programs

May 15 2018 –

City Staff presented an update to Vancouver City Council today on the early findings that will shape the Creative City Strategy, which is expected to be delivered in early 2019. The Creative City Strategy will aim to develop a comprehensive plan and vision for culture and creativity in Vancouver.

“Vancouver is home to an extraordinary arts and culture community that is building a vibrant and diverse creative scene in our city,” said Mayor Gregor Robertson. “It’s great to see the Creative City Strategy taking shape with plans to boost funding support for our artists and new ideas to keep growing our stellar arts and culture community for all Vancouverites to enjoy.” 

Preliminary engagement phase

During the preliminary engagement phase, staff connected with more than 500 people from across the cultural sector including Indigenous arts and culture organizations; LGBTQ2+ artists; accessibility organizations; organizations working in low income communities; the Arts and Culture Policy Council; individual artists; and many others. In 15 focus groups, 130 individual artists and representatives from 90 organizations, large and small, shared their perspectives on the opportunities and challenges the strategy could address.

Key themes 

Key themes have emerged out of the early conversations that will shape the public engagement in the next phase of the strategy’s development: reconciliation, equity and access, visibility investment, capacity, and collaboration.

Early findings

The early findings also highlighted some known tensions facing the creative community, such as affordability and approach to distribution of the City's investments in, and support for, arts and culture in Vancouver.

“We’re grateful to the many organizations and individuals who are giving their time, and sharing their unique perspectives, to contribute to the development of the Creative City Strategy,” said Sandra Singh, General Manager of Arts, Culture, and Community Services with the City of Vancouver. “The arts and culture community plays a critical role in every community and once finalized, this new strategy will present a roadmap for the development of arts, culture, and creativity in Vancouver. The early actions that will be implemented right away will give us a head start on supporting the needs of this sector.”


As a result of the themes and tensions that emerged through early engagement, the City is recommending five immediate actions that will be implemented alongside the broader public engagement: 

  • Supplemental grant funding to support organizations in areas that reflect the themes of early findings
  • New Public Art Initiatives including an emerging Artists boot camp and a new 2D Platforms program
  • Developer Public Art program review to look at how the City can better support work initiated by Indigenous and local artists
  • Equity Update to Jury nomination process to ensure the grant adjudication process better reflects the history and diversity of Vancouver
  • A Nightlife Council to advise the City on how to better support the nighttime economy while also promoting safety and inclusion

Major cultural grant programs

Council will also vote on four major cultural grant programs on May 16, that if approved, would support creative communities and mirror the early findings presented in the Creative City Strategy.

Staff are recommending approval of the following grants:

  • Host Your Own Engagement Grants - $100,000 in one-time only funding to 10 organizations to hold their own community consultations on the Creative City Strategy. The grants range from $5,000 to $13,000.
  • Cultural infrastructure grants - $1,056,800 to twenty-eight organizations to support local, not-for-profit arts and cultural organizations to acquire, create, maintain, and improve cultural spaces in the City. 
  • Community Arts grants - $436,768 to 91 organizations and projects that increase public participation and strengthen social connections through arts and culture, enhance the role of artists in our communities, and activate the public realm in neighbourhoods across the city. 
  • Arts Capacity grants - $70,000 to five organizations to support professional development opportunities for artists and arts administrators.

Public engagement

The next phase of public engagement for the Creative City Strategy will begin in June with two public open houses being held at CityLab (511 West Broadway) June 5 and 7.

The Creative City Strategy team will also be present at many public events throughout the summer. An online survey in English and Chinese will be launching in early June.

View the full presentation on Creative City Strategy early findings (1.2 MB)

Read the full report on cultural grants that will be voted on by Council  (488 KB)

Learn more about the Creative City Strategy