Artist Eri Ishii with a piece of her art at the artist co-op in Vancouver, BC, June 4, 2010. Vancouver artists who lost their studio space to rising rents and redevelopment formed a co-op and have leased new studio space.
photo credit: Lyle Stafford for the Globe and Mail

In case you hadn't caught the buzz about Mayor Gregor Robertson's plan of action, we are happy to tell you about the plans for the opening of 26,300 sq. ft of artists' studio facilities on city-owned property.

About the endeavour, Robertson says,“Vancouver has the highest concentration of artists in Canada, and artists continue to constitute one of the fastest-growing segments of our labour force. The success of our creative economy is crucial to the health of our city, and today’s announcement is another example of how City Hall can help support local artists by increasing studio space.”

This will no doubt be a great asset for our creative community, with the highly affordable spaces being made available as early as winter this year. In addition to the two new studio facilities, the city has also committed to the creation of an additional 13,000 sq. ft. of new studio space in three recently approved developments, and the Park Board is currently offering six additional field houses rent-free to artists in exchange for community-engaged arts projects and programming.

According to the Mayor of Vancouver's website, "the announcement is the result of the Mayor and Council’s passage of a motion from Councillor Geoff Meggs on February 14th. The motion directed City staff to work with the Park Board and School Board to identify options to provide significant new artists’ space in Vancouver and to review ways to enhance the regulatory framework for the creation and protection of such studio spaces."

The plan calms some worries that Vancouver's steep cost of living -- and the demolition of previously existing artist studios for the sake of condominium and retail development -- would drive artists out to more affordable climes. A healthy creative community means a healthy city; it is great to know that our local government acknowledges this and is beginning to take the necessary steps to ensure the survival of artists in Vancouver.

Read more:
City announces big boost for Vancouver arts & culture with creation of significant new artists’ studio space (Mayor of Vancouver)
Vancouver plans to create affordable studio space for artists (Globe and Mail)