In the interest of improving East Vancouver’s already vibrant arts scene, the creation of an Eastside Arts District has just received a financial green light.
The Eastside Arts Society (EAS), formerly the Eastside Culture Crawl Society, has been awarded $300,000 by the Vancouver Foundation over three years to create the arts district. The project will increase the society’s capacity and dedicated workspaces for artists, programming initiatives and opportunities for artists across all disciplines the society stated in a recent release.
The arts district is being created as a remedy to the hundreds of artists that have lost their workspaces due to evictions, rent increases, and shrinking studio space since 2010 says Esther Rausenberg the artistic and executive director of EAS.
'Sustainable solutions for artists'
“The Vancouver Foundation grant is the first step towards the creation of policies and funding models that will offer sustainable solutions for artists,” Rausenberg said. “At the same time, the establishment of a designated arts district will serve to formally recognize the significant value and impact artists make on a healthy, thriving society, while simultaneously enhancing economic growth and boosting tourism.”
Over the next three years, EAS will collaborate with the City of Vancouver, which launched its own 10-year plan to support arts and culture in 2019 and passed a unanimous motion in February 2020 to support EAS’ initiative to define and develop an Eastside Arts District.
Over the three years of funding, the EAS will take into consideration policies and legislation, zoning and real estate. The EAS will also create maps of East Vancouver’s studios, galleries, theatres, public art and breweries as well as engage with the area’s stakeholders, artists, Indigenous leaders.
Based on compiled data and feedback, EAS will develop a plan that includes the expansion of year-round arts programming opportunities according to the release. The EAS will also create an interactive website to serve as a resource for both locals and tourists as well as preserve cultural and artistic sites within the community, and establish new workspaces for artists.
The society is also announcing the CREATE! Arts Festival, a two-day community arts-making event coming this August. The festival will feature hands-on art-making activities led by local visual artists and craft makers. More information about the festival will be announced in July 2021.
The EAS will be putting on the 25th annual Eastside Culture Crawl this year as well with dates set for November 12-14 and 18-21. For more information check out the Eastside Culture Crawl's website or the Eastside Arts Society's webpage.