Vancouver is Canada’s most internationally recognized art city for good reason. For decades, it has produced rigorous, engaging work.
But Vancouver offers more than art stars. Project spaces, regional galleries and progressive artist-run centres play vital roles. Vancouver tops most livable city lists, but it’s not a utopia—thankfully.
“Behind the veneer, the city’s social fabric seems to be discordant, unstable, dichotomous…absorbed by contention,” says artist Howie Tsui. “I’m drawn to working under these circumstances, with these conflicting feelings and thoughts.”
Here are more thoughts from art-scene insiders:
“The Rennie Collection at Wing Sang in Chinatown (51 E. Pender St.) is one of Vancouver’s most exciting contemporary collections.”— Kyle Besuschko / gallery associate, Bau-Xi Gallery
“Working with kind, generous, thoughtful and deeply funny people at Grunt Gallery (11–350 E. 2nd Ave.) provides me with so much sustenance. We all work too much but we keep each other going.” — Tarah Hogue / curator
“Vancouver is a tense and entangled place—a utopic illusion with an unsettling energy. I’m drawn to working under these circumstances, with conflicting feelings and thoughts.” — Howie Tsui / artist
“Eat at Tacofino Commissary (2327 E. Hastings St.) at nighttime, when the hanging garden comes alive, lit up by a light installation by Vancouver designer Omer Arbel.” — Wil Aballe / director, Wil Aballe Art Projects
“Duplex (4257 and 4277 Fraser St.) is a new spot run by a group of artists out of their studio space and always worth knowing about. To eat, go up Fraser Street around King Edward or explore Kingsway.” — Elizabeth Zvonar / artist
“The new, really amazing public gallery in Greater Vancouver is the New Media Gallery (777 Columbia St.). Curators Sarah Joyce and Gordon Duggan are presenting smart, world-class exhibitions.” — Laing Brown / director, BrownArt Consulting , Inc.
“Cloud 9 (1400 Robson St.) is Vancouver’s original rotating restaurant/ bar, and it has the best views in the city. It’s slated for demolition in the next year, so it’s the last chance for a chocolate martini above the city. Don’t eat food there—it’s all about the view.” — Shaun Dacey / director, Richmond Art Gallery