Mayor Gregor Robertson supports moving the Vancouver Art Gallery to Larwill Park
After an extensive review process involving city staff and an expert panel of local and international arts leaders, Mayor Gregor Robertson is announcing his support for a new, innovative and expanded Vancouver Art Gallery on the City-owned site at 688 Cambie, formerly known as Larwill Park.
“A new, expanded art gallery at Larwill Park is a huge opportunity to bolster our creative sector, showcase local artists from Vancouver and across BC, and make a clear statement that Vancouver makes arts and culture a priority,” said Mayor Gregor Robertson.
“We’ve done a lot of work to support the arts in recent years, but this has the potential to really elevate our creative economy to the next level. I hope that all of City Council will support the recommendation.”
The recommendation for a new Vancouver Art Gallery will be considered at next week’s City Council meeting. The new purpose-built Art Gallery would feature more than double the area available for exhibition space and triple the area available for education space.
The staff recommendation also includes a creative proposal to close a portion of the adjacent block of Cambie Street between Dunsmuir and Georgia, enabling a unique opportunity for a new public space in downtown Vancouver.
The Vancouver Art Gallery is the largest public art museum in western Canada and is recognized internationally as a centre for contemporary art, with the Gallery’s permanent art collection held for the citizens of Vancouver.
This proposal for a new Vancouver Art Gallery builds on a series of significant recent steps to support arts and culture in Vancouver, including:
- Creating the City of Vancouver’s Arts Event program, an initiative that is the first of its kind in Canada and makes it easier for artists to hold events, showcase their work, and perform in Vancouver;
- Changing zoning to allow artist studios in industrial districts, increasing the permitted space from 2 million to 28 million square feet;
- Indexing arts funding and providing the highest grant funding per capita to arts groups of any city in Canada;
- Council’s recent motion to formally identify and provide stronger protection for key Vancouver arts and cultural spaces;
- The launch of the Arts Factory, a new 21,000 square foot artist space at 281 Industrial, which will provide up to 40 new studio spaces in a City-owned building;
- The creation of a citizen-led Arts and Culture Policy Council;
- Over 20,000 square feet of new artist space approved in 2012;
- 44,500 square feet of space approved at the Wall Centre at 160 West 1st Avenue, designed to accommodate a new 250-seat theatre and a rehearsal hall;
- The Park Board offering nine previously vacant field houses rent-free to artists in exchange for community-engaged arts projects and programming; and
- Approval for restoring the historic York Theatre on Commercial Drive, to be operated by the Vancouver East Cultural Centre.