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More warehouse parties and events in informal spaces could be coming to Vancouver if council passes motion

Click to play video: 'City of Vancouver to consider non-traditional venue spaces to host more events'
City of Vancouver to consider non-traditional venue spaces to host more events
From preserving artist studios to searching for additional cultural venues, the push is on to highlight unconventional spots to host more artistic events in Vancouver. As Grace Ke reports, some city councillors are looking at warehouses, retail spaces and offices in a different light – Apr 9, 2023

There’s a push by two Vancouver city councillors to allow for more events to be held in non-traditional spaces.

On Tuesday, April 11 a member motion put forward by ABC councillors Sarah Kirby-Yung and Peter Meiszner will be discussed.

The motion aims to ramp up the city’s licensing policies to allow for more events per month hosted in unconventional indoor spaces.

For example, a book launch in a coffee shop, a music event in an industrial space or an art exhibit in a retail store.

“It was only 10 years ago that Vancouver created this initial policy to allow events in these non-traditional spaces and we only allow three per month now,” Councillor Sarah Kirby-Yung explained.

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“This motion really seeks to increase the number of events so we can have more fun. More diversity and more events happening on a regular basis.”

A two-year pilot program saw more than 100 events take place in these indoor spaces. The program was fully adopted back in 2015 with changes allowing two to three of these events every month.

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However — that number could more than double if the motion before council comes to pass, which Kirby-Yung sees as a positive boost to the Vancouver arts and culture scene.

Click to play video: 'Reaction to relaxed COVID-19 mandates'
Reaction to relaxed COVID-19 mandates

“We have the highest number of artists per capita in the country. We have a great burgeoning music scene. Lots in indie art happening.”

She admits, closing studios and COVID-19 have dealt a major blow traditional arts and culture spaces and this motion aims help bring back m0re events, more often.

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“We have been losing arts and culture spaces at a rapid rate and I think people are ready after a long pandemic to just be able to get out and have a good time and those fun pop-up events,” Kirby-Yung added.

That sentiment is being echoed in the city’s artistic community including people like Natalia Lebedinskaia, the Creative Director of the Vancouver Mural Festival.

She says hundreds of artists have showcased their work at events like the Vancouver Mural Festival but for many event partners, it has been quite a challenge, in recent years, to find indoor venues to hold events.

“Artists need space. They need studio space, they need exhibition space,” Lebedinskaia told Global News ahead of Tuesday’s meeting.

She adds, artists are already on board with the idea but says it’s up to the will of local governments to make these changes.

“They need processes that make it easier for them to hold events to showcase what they do, and municipal governments are at the core of making that possible.”

Kirby-Yung says if the motion is adopted, more events in informal spaces will be possible by this summer.

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