ART, QUOTES

Big Mouth Leaves Me Hungry For More: A Case of Too Many Cooks In The Kitchen/Too Many Opinions on Art & Real Estate and Not Enough Concrete Action?

OK, tonight riled me up.

I attended a speakers series called Big Mouth.

Tonight’s subject was Art and Real Estate.
In a city such as Vancouver, which has had an absolute explosion of condo development and a constant destruction of anything old in favour of new, this is a very heated subject matter.

Artists can not afford to live in the city. They are being pushed further and further away from the centres where they and their craft should be thriving and enlivening the city.

But after listening to seven speakers, as well as a much-too-short Q&A, I felt like there wasn’t enough talk on action.
How do we take what is obviously a difficult situation for artists and make it better?
How do we integrate art & government, culture & development?

An article was published in the Globe & Mail yesterday that provides what I believe are some answers. I will post the link at the end of this blog post.

Before that,
here are some notes I compiled from the evening…

Speakers:

1st

Michael Green

– Principal, Michael Green Architecture

  • Humourous, quick presentation.
  • Point of view that art & architecture used to be integrated w/ craft. Then we moved to the architect trying to be the artist, such as Gehry. Green says we are still here, which he sees as unfortunate.
  • Unfortunate case too often: by the time a building has been completed, no $ left over for the art that was intended in original design. Green experienced this with tall vertical slots in the lower section of the airport in Ottawa. Was meant to be area to put art.
  • Mentions a project called “One % for the hood.” US has 1% rule to incorporate art into new buildings. Canada needs something similar.

2nd:

Donald Luxton

– Heritage Consultant + President, Heritage Vancouver
photo

  • Gave a cursory history of the development of Vancouver. A tad us-and-them (Europeans vs First Nations). Left me with a bad taste in my mouth.
  • Interesting fact about 33×122′ parcels of land
  • Talked about history, but what else? Didn’t get into much about current state or possible resolutions.

3rd:

Heather Redfern

– Executive Director, The Cultch

  • Quite raw, off the cuff, I admired her gusto.
  • A little bit idealistic, but also some great ideas such as creating buildings that can house visiting artists closer to venues such as Cultch.
  • Make a real artistic district, East side culture crawl throughout year
  • She says “Yes” to density.
  • Redfern says that artists need to see change as inevitable, and to work w developers.

4th:

Steven Cox

– Principal, Cause+Affect & Producer, PechaKucha Vancouver, created FUSE for VAG
SIQICs (Sustainability, Individuality, Quality, Intelligence, Craft) = ideal audience, they create the future according to @causeaffect @BigMouthSeries

  • Very likeable, said he was going to talk all about himself and his company, which he did, but he made it relevant to the topic.
  • I admire his pursuit of making communities that count, how to actually make culture work in a era where money rules. “Good.”
  • “We want to de-commoditise Van Real Estate” in a city run by tourism
  • Some important points in his process:
    – Create more aesthetically pleasing buildings, and buildings that actually fit into the neighbourhood they’re built in. Gave example of “Chips” in Manchester: they responded because it meant something to them, they could relate to it.
    – Reinvent marketing by communicating process rather than product. Get people with u from Day 1!

5th:
Mark Shieh

– Director, River Market at The Quay
Mark Shieh describes his Food 360 project @BigMouthSeries

  • Believes in integrating culture & community & commerce.
  • Smart, personable, some interesting projects but do they actually integrate with the community or are they just tacked on?
    – Food 360: Break down the process of food
    – PS New West: poetry on building exterior across sky train.
    – ONE: put 1% towards community projects such as @popluckNW
    – Bringing Street Game Fest to New West – if you’d like to help, contact him

6th:

Bruce Wright

– Chair of the Vancouver Art Gallery and Managing Partner of Goodmans Vancouver

  • Talked entire time about VAG & the new land awarded, didn’t know what his point was in relation to the topic.
  • Wants to get non-art supporters on board to help finance new VAG

7th:

Ernesto Gomez

– Co-Owner, Nuba Restaurant + Founding Partner, Arrival Agency (formerly Waldorf Productions)

  • Shy presenation, scattered thoughts, but his heart is coming from the right place.
  • Waldorf as a platform for a variety of people from different sections of city & community, a rare place they could come together.

Q & A

  • Inhabitants disconnected from owners.
  • Steven brings good point about buying home being an investment more than being a home.
  • Prediction that the most interesting stuff in future Vancouver will be rental and commerical
  • Who is Ernesto’s friend (Shelley?) is a firecracker, brings some spark to Q&A
  • Ernesto ends w great point about how we need to stop seeing a separation between arts & everyday monetary life. They should be integrated, seamless.

Thank you Polina!
Nice to see you Graeme, Erika, Avalon, Pax

Here is the article on the Globe & Mail “The economic imperative for investing in arts and culture.” Have a read, it’s worth your time.

And I’ll close with this inspiring slide by Steven Cox
Wise words via Steven Cox of @causeaffect @BigMouthSeries

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