Culture Days and Drift

Culture Days in Vancouver – two weekend’s worth of art.

Ty and I headed downtown last weekend to check out the new SFU School for the Contemporary Art’s home at the former Woodwards Building site downtown. The School has relocated here from their former home on Burnaby Mountain and now occupies several floors at the Woodward’s complex. Their Open House coincided with Culture Days and we attended the opening of the Visual Art Faculty exhibition at the new Audain Teaching Gallery, as well as listened to a jazz quartet, watched African dancing and drumming, and took in a student film in the new theatre. The Audain Gallery is beautiful, with polished cement floors and movable walls; and the music, theatre and dance spaces also look wonderful. We did not see any rooms that appeared to be visual art studios, although there was a large room full of computers for digital work on one of the  upstairs floors.

Read more about the School for Contemporary Arts here.

See a few more pictures here.

On Saturday we did the Granville commercial gallery strip and attended the opening of Diana Thorneycroft’s show at the new Granville Fine Art Gallery at Granville and Broadway in what used to be the Big News cafe. Diana’s show, A Group of Seven Awkward Moments, juxtaposes iconic images from the Canadian painters with her trademark doll tableaux of figures engaged in quirky or bizarre activities. Along with Diana’s work the Gallery showed some of the original Group of Seven paintings, as well as works by their contemporaries, such as Emily Carr.

Read more about Diana Thorneycroft here.

Read a review of the show here.

Saturday evening we attended the opening of the Craftivism (Downsized) Art Show at Raw Canvas restaurant and art studio in Yaletown. Here is the blurb from Liza Lee, organiser, about the event:

“Overtime Building Maintenance is proud to sponsor The Craftivism (Downsized) Art Show with over 60 8” x 8” paintings this fall. Many of the art pieces utilize … found materials and recycling due to the theme of sustainable community centered around ideas of subversive structures and networks, which engage various social issues about communities-of-care and intimacy versus immediate publicity: including anti-consumerism, slow time, geo-social networking, environmentalism and sustainability.

The name of The Craftivism (Downsized) Art Show also illustrates that art funding has been severely downsized in BC. A “normal-sized” canvas could fetch $1200, but the canvas size is reduced to a tiny 8” x 8” and discounted by 92% to reflect how much the art funding has been cut in BC. Therefore, each 8” x 8” art piece is $110.40 with no HST as it is included in the price.”

Raw Canvas combines a tapas restaurant, extensive local wine list, and small painting studio in what is a pretty interesting venue. Here is some information about it from their website:

“Welcome to Raw Canvas… tapas lounge, wine bar, art studio… an extraordinary social destination. And you are the creator.

Take a deep breath, sit down, make yourself at home. Choose from our dynamic selection of handcrafted tapas and earth-friendly wines. If the mood strikes, grab a smock and make your way into the painting pit. Buy a blank canvas, we will provide the paint, brushes and everything you’ll need to free your inner artist. Our crew will provide encouragement, insight and inspiration to aid you throughout your creative journey.

We are the renaissance; art, food, wine, music, poetry, love, community.

Eat. Drink. Make art. Raw Canvas will revolutionize the way you socialize.”

This weekend we checked out the Drift on Main, a weekend’s worth of exhibitions and events taking place on and around Main Street and adjacent areas. From Kafka’s coffee bar, we strolled around the triangle formed by Broadway, Kingsway and Main, investigating several artists studios and sampling a great brunch at the 30s decor diner Wallflower on Main, and then headed up and down Main from 18th avenue to 28th. Most of the artists’ works were in retail outlets and some in cafes; I found the work in the cafes most interesting, particularly given that these venues usually enabled the artists to show more than a couple of pieces.

Overall, we agreed that the Drift was a bit thin, in that the organisers must have wanted to include more retail outlets than there were artists’ works available to fill them (or else the stores had  only agreed to show a few pieces in their spaces). We felt that almost all the venues could have shown many more works and that the experience would have been more satisfying if they had.

See more here.

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