Artists call­ing on peers to join cause

Lo­cal cre­atives ques­tion the ethics of condo de­vel­oper cash

Metro Canada (Vancouver) - - Vancouver - Tessa Vikan­der

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.

Jesse Win­ter/metro

Vin­cent Tao wants artists to join groups fight­ing for rent freezes, a liv­ing wage and an end to “ren­ovic­tions.”

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