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Community rallies to help rebuild Vancouver artists' space destroyed in fire

MOTN we hardly knew ye.

A fire on Aug. 22 tore through three buildings, leaving two uninhabitable. Among the people and businesses affected includes a community-led artists' space run by a group of twenty-somethings.

The MOTN was a tattoo studio and photography hub by day and performance venue by night beloved by the local arts community for its innovative and accessible approach to "the scene" in Vancouver. Now the crew has been displaced and much of their equipment is ruined.

"To the best of my knowledge [the fire] started in the courtyard," says MOTN founder Austin Jamieson. "Most of the damage to our unit was water damage from the fire hose and sprinkler system, with every electronic we had being destroyed."

The MOTN was known for its eclectic mix of street art, statues, and sculptures that Jamieson planned to rotate and move around on a regular basis to keep the space fresh and surprising for patrons and the artists who work there. "Luckily most of our signature statues and set pieces were okay, and luckily the fire only seemed to spread to our back wall," says Jamieson. "The whole place had an inch or two of water, and the ceiling had already started to collapse when we were there. I’d imagine we won’t be moving back in, as the damage/repair would take a minimum of a year, so we are hoping to regroup and find a new location that can house us."

There is an online fundraiser up to help raise money to replace the equipment and gear of the artists who called the space home, but Jamieson says "donations to our GoFundMe would be incredible, however, I encourage people to donate to the people who lost their homes before us. We lost a lot of stuff, and our temple, but they don’t have places to sleep tonight."

He adds that the money raised will also go towards a new space. "I personally lost most of what I own, having only gathered the essentials when we could, but my team as well lost so much, and that’s who I really want to help."

So far the community has rallied around the crew which consists of four full-time team members who are photographers, videographers, and tattoo artists. Not to mention the revolving door of comedians and local hip-hop artists who perform weekly in the space. The GoFundMe has so far raised over $5,000 of its $8,000 goal.

Jamieson promises that The MOTN is down but not out and they will find somewhere else to carve out their niche for the underground arts scene in Vancouver once again.