What the heck is Papergirl?


“What the Heck is” introduces you to Vancouver organizations and causes you might not have yet heard about, written from an insider’s point of view by people working within them. View the archive HERE.

Words: Danielle Leroux, Volunteer Team Leader
Photos: courtesy of Michele Mateus and Julie Larsen


Papergirl Vancouver is an inclusive and non-commercial community arts project that redefines street and participatory art by combining art, philanthropy, and bicycles. Papergirl Vancouver is part of a larger global arts movement. It was founded by Aisha Ronniger, an art student in Berlin, in 2006, in response to a media debate that was trying to equate the prosecution of public postering with graffiti. Ronniger and her friends wanted to explore other means to make and share art in public spaces. Papergirl has since spread worldwide, including projects in Mexico, San Francisco, Toronto, Manchester, and Vancouver!

Papergirl arrived in Vancouver in 2011 and now takes place on an annual basis. Run out of the Roundhouse Community Arts & Recreation Centre, Papergirl is driven by a group of passionate arts-loving volunteers of all ages and backgrounds who share a love for colourful bicycles, surprising strangers, and giving the gift of art.


The project begins with an open call for art that welcomes artists of all ages and abilities to participate by donating their work. Artwork received becomes part of a non-juried, uncurated, and public weeklong exhibition at the Roundhouse Community Centre. On the final day of the exhibition, each piece of art is taken down and rolled up. Teams of volunteer cyclists, in the style of American “paperboys”, distribute the art to completely unsuspecting strangers on the streets of Vancouver.

Papergirl Vancouver is motivated by the gift of giving art and the spirit of altruism. We believe that the act of giving can make a significant contribution to our community by helping to connect individuals and create a genuine sense of belonging. From spectators, to practicing artists, to hobbyists, to cyclists, to surprised art recipients, to local businesses, we actively try to engage everyone in our community. We strive to inspire the artist and creative in all of us… while having a lot of fun along the way!


Want to get involved? Submit your artwork! Artists of all ages and abilities are welcome. You can also sign-up for our 2014 workshop series (Photography without a Camera), attend our exhibition opening on July 8th, or try to find us on the streets of Vancouver during our ride out on July 19th. For more information please visit our website: www.papergirlvancouver.com or check us out on one of our social media channels: Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram. We’d love to have you be a part of this global art movement!


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Bob is our founder and Editor-in-Chief. A family man and outdoors enthusiast in his 3rd decade of publishing, he steers the V.I.A. ship, hosts our 'BC Was Awesome' history TV show and co-hosts our weekly podcast. bobk@vancouverisawesome.com