Artists calling on peers to join cause
Local creatives question the ethics of condo developer cash
In an increasingly unaffordable city, members of Vancouver’s arts sector are calling on their peers to join anti-gentrification and housing rights advocacy.
The call came at a forum at Chinatown’s 221A arts space last week, where creatives debated the ethics of taking developer money. Afterwards, 221A librarian Vincent Tao told Metro artists are in a tough situation amidst rising rents.
“Many of the city’s opportunities for emerging artists to make a few bucks are kind of attached to or funded by real estate developers,” he said. ”At the same time the real estate corporations that are funding their projects … are eventually going to displace them as artists.”
At the event, artist and Vancouver Tenant’s Union (VTU) member Rebecca Brewer spoke of feeling guilt for accepting a Royal Bank-sponsored prize. But tensions rose as some alleged the Vancouver Mural Festival has aided gentrification in Mount Pleasant because it took funds from Chip Wilson’s Low Tide Properties — a sore point for some because the firm is evicting Red Gate Arts Society from East Hastings.
VMF’S Adrian Sinclair told Metro by email his group sees a responsibility for developers to exceed city-required neighbourhood contributions when they build new condos.
Vincent Tao wants artists to join groups fighting for rent freezes, a living wage and an end to “renovictions.”