Girl in the City digital animation

Public art program to bring new energy and diversity to Vancouver

May 27 2020 –

Today, Vancouver City Council approved a series of cultural grants that will bring local artist-led projects to a wider audience.

Guided by the directions of the City’s new 10-year cultural plan, Culture|Shift, the funded projects aim to deepen the connection that locals and visitors have to Vancouver’s history and culture, as well as elevating artists from communities whose cultural practices have been historically suppressed and denied visibility.

Pilot funding program: Untitled

The pilot funding program, which is called Untitled, will fully fund new public art projects by arts organizations in Vancouver. The program’s framework seeks to continue the successes of the Public Art Boost by opening a similar opportunity to all Vancouver arts-mandated non-profits and building the capacity of Vancouver non-profit arts organizations and local First Nations Band Councils to commission artists to create significant public artworks for Vancouver. 

Council approved $345,200 to support five projects, funded through the 2020 Public Art Capital Budget. 

Upcoming projects

Some of the projects that will be delivered over the next year and a half are:

The Or Gallery

Vancouver artist Devon Knowles will draw upon imagery and found objects from walks near the gallery to create a stained-glass artwork incorporating architectural traces, colours and textures from the gallery’s Chinatown surroundings. The project will be informed by archival and community based research to better understand the history, patterns of usage, and shifting values of the neighbourhood.

Other Sights for Artists’ Projects Associations

In a performance titled “Mobility Device,” artist and accessibility activist Carmen Papalia replaces his cane with a marching band that will serve as his primary navigation system during an improvised walk in a public place. “Mobility Device” is a celebration of interdependence in the area of accessibility. Building awareness around an expansive idea of accessibility that goes beyond accommodation to interdependence, agency, and care.

Visible Art Society (grant gallery)

To Be Beaver: Building Indigenous Art in Mount Pleasant is a social-practice project centering on urban Indigenous peoples’ relationships to and knowledge of the historic and current Mount Pleasant landscape. Jolene Andrew, a Gitksan Witsuwiten community organizer, artist, and facilitator, will work with community members explore connections to the land and waterways that preceded the city, beginning specifically with a beaver dam that once existed at Main and 14th. The form of the artwork will be determined by the artist in collaboration with community participants, and documentation of the project will be displayed on the Mount Pleasant Community Art Screen. 

While the program was created and launched before the full emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic in Canada, the adjudication, which was managed remotely, was done with an eye to the current conditions. The selected projects will play a crucial role in public engagement and the re-emergence of our city.

Read the full Public Art grants report (233 KB)

Platforms 2020

In addition to the projects approved today, the City has also launched Platforms 2020, and project through which all Vancouver-based artists and artists from the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations are invited to submit 2D and video art projects that provide a response to the complexities of the current situation that we find ourselves in.

Selected artworks will be presented as temporary projects on existing platforms throughout the city that the public can access under physical distancing measure for the remainder of 2020.

Find out more about Platforms 2020


Sandra Singh, General Manager of Arts, Culture, and Community Services

“We recognize the impacts that COVID-19 has had on the livelihood of artists in Vancouver and across the globe,” said Sandra Singh, General Manager of Arts, Culture, and Community Services. “As the City moves from physical distancing to social resilience, each of these grants will play a small role in generating new economic and cultural activity, providing opportunities for us to come together through art, and giving opportunities for new artists to be seen.”