The Canadian government this week announced a $3 million investment in support for two new creative hubs in Vancouver.
The investment will support construction, infrastructure upgrades and facility expansion activities for the BC Artscape Society and the Vancity Community Foundation, according to The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Canadian Heritage.
“Our government understands that investments in arts and culture help build strong communities,” said Joly. “Shared spaces create dynamic environments for artists and citizens alike to work, create, collaborate and thrive.”
The BC Artscape Society is receiving $2.5 million to renovate three storeys of the Sun Wah Centre in Vancouver’s Chinatown to create a dynamic, mixed-use space dedicated to artists and arts and culture organizations.
“The impact of this Canada Cultural Spaces Fund support for BC Artscape cannot be underestimated,” says Genevieve Bucher, President, BC Artscape. “Our vision is space where a diverse mix of artists, cultural producers, community groups and the public come together to create a community asset for Chinatown.”
The Vancity Community Foundation will convert the former Vancouver Police headquarters on the Downtown Eastside into a new community amenity, which will offer artist studios and presentation spaces that will be available for exhibitions, performances and community events.
“By making investments into a cooperative Centre for Social and Economic Innovation at 312 Main, the Canada Cultural Spaces Fund provides a catalyst for their creation in a very real and physical way,” noted Gene Blishen, Member, Vancity Community Foundation Board and 312 Main Management Committee.
The investment supports the government’s new approach to growing the creative sector, which provides jobs to more than 630,000 Canadians. Across Canada, and especially in Vancouver, the creative scene often overlaps with the technology scene; the city’s vibrant ecosystem of startups is famous for its top-notch game studios, for example. The move also highlights an increase in collaborative spaces: Vancouver is increasingly full of coworking spaces and innovation hubs where entrepreneurs and artists can exchange ideas.