Artists and cultural community groups can create, collaborate, perform and exhibit in 55 affordable spaces in the new BC Artscape Sun Wah Centre launched in Vancouver’s Chinatown.
“This new centre and community hub is giving people more opportunities to create, work together, and contribute to B.C.’s culture and economy,” said Premier John Horgan. “By turning this under-used space into a dynamic cultural hub for Vancouver’s Chinatown, we are investing in the creative sector and the people that drive it — building a strong local economy that works for people.”
The Sun Wah Centre project has created 55 new artistic, cultural and community spaces suitable for artist production, rehearsal, presentation and exhibition, as well as space for public cultural events and programming.
“The BC Artscape Sun Wah Centre is a much-needed creative step for downtown Vancouver,” said Lisa Beare, Minister Tourism, Arts and Culture. “BC Artscape has transformed this underutilized space into a catalyst for creativity for artists and residents. It provides the affordable spaces that creative workers need, while making arts and culture more accessible for the surrounding community.”
The revitalization of the Sun Wah Centre is the result of support from the Government of Canada, the B.C. government, the City of Vancouver and BC Artscape.
“Investing in cultural infrastructure not only allows artists to create and collaborate, it also helps promote thriving, dynamic and creative communities,” said the Honourable Pablo Rodriguez, federal Minister of Canadian Heritage and Multiculturalism. “As part of our government’s vision for a Creative Canada, we committed $300 million in funding over the next decade to support the next generation of cultural spaces — including creative hubs like BC Artscape. These facilities will provide artists, creators and creative startups with opportunities to develop and practise their skills, innovate, and contribute to the growth of the creative economy.”
The 55 new spaces and revitalization of the site has allowed for over 70 artists and non-profit community groups to rent work space in the renovated Sun Wah Centre.
“Today's opening builds on the city's work to turn the page on a new chapter in Chinatown,” said Gregor Robertson, mayor of Vancouver. “I applaud the work of BC Artscape in strengthening Vancouver's vibrant arts and culture community by boosting the availability of creative and cultural spaces for working artists in Chinatown.”
“The completion of this space represents the first of BC Artscape’s projects to increase affordable arts and cultural spaces in this province,” said Genevieve Bucher, BC Artscape president and CEO. “Artists constantly face the threat of eviction and displacement, or the insecurity of tenure. At the heart of BC Artscape projects is our passion to provide more creative hubs to support and foster cultural activities, arts and community engagement, so that artists can thrive in British Columbia."
- BC Artscape received a $1-million provincial grant for the renovation project, in addition to $2.5 million from the Government of Canada through Heritage Canada and $200,000 from the City of Vancouver.
- BC Artscape, founded in 2014 as a non-profit urban development organization based in Vancouver, is an affiliate of Artscape, an organization that first began in Toronto. Its primary mission is to develop and manage affordable space for not-for-profit arts organizations.
- Projects are designed to address the opportunities and challenges of their location through an in-depth community engagement process with artists, cultural organizations, community groups, residents, businesses and community leaders.
- In 2014, the City of Vancouver supported the launch of BC Artscape with a $300,000 investment in partnership with the Vancity Community Foundation and the McConnell Foundation.
- BC Artscape has arranged a 10-year lease of the Sun Wah Centre, with an option to renew for two more 10-year terms. Affordable work spaces were first available for rent in March 2018.
For more information about the Sun Wah Centre or the work of BC Artscape, visit: https://bcartscape.ca/
To read the Government of Canada’s news release on BC Artscape’s funding grant, visit: https://www.canada.ca/en/canadian-heritage/news/2017/06/great_ideas_meetinnovationgovernmentofcanadainvestsincreativehub.html