To help celebrate the vibrant and exciting arts community of East Vancouver, the 15th Annual Eastside Culture Crawl will take place from Nov. 18–20 at various art studios and locations in the part of the city bounded by Main Street and Victoria Drive, north of First Avenue.
Although the show has gotten a lot bigger over the years, the event’s director, Jeffrey Boone says that its goal – to shine a spotlight on East Vancouver artists – hasn’t changed.
“Basically, the Crawl focuses on artists in their studio space,” says Boone. “It’s about people who have made handmade work. We define that work by allowing anything other than food production. [We allow] textile, ceramic, photography, furniture, design, sculpture – any of those things. It’s artists and crafts makers in their own shops. Part of the idea was to eliminate the middle man from the process, and to give the public direct access to the artists in the place where they actually make their art.”
The Crawl is an annual happening, with 1997 being the first year that the name was used. That first year saw over 50 artists display their art at three studios, with almost 1,000 people in attendance. This year, over 10,000 people are expected to view the work of over 400 artists spread throughout over 70 buildings.
Boone says the event performs a valuable service by highlighting the work of a specific group of artists, namely those who have their studio space in that part of the city. He says that the artists who make their homes and work spaces, face a unique set of challenges.
“There’s pressure on real estate in every part of Vancouver, and that area is no exception,” says Boone. “What used to be a very creative community with lots of artists in the neighborhood is now shifting to residential housing. Obviously, people who are buying million dollar houses there are probably not artists.”
He says that economic pressure can be a strong motivator for some artists during the Crawl. He adds that the range of artists that can be found at the event is very diverse.
“We have everything from the hobbyist who isn’t interested in making a living from art, to the people who make the Crawl a big part of their annual income.”
Corrinne Wolcoski is a renowned local painter, who moved her workspace into the massive art space at 800 Parker Street, a major focal point of the Crawl, last year.
She says that sales aren’t really a top priority for her during the Crawl, but since most of her art is sold through galleries, she doesn’t have many opportunities to meet her audience.
“If I do [get sales], it’s a bonus… it’s more about meeting the people, and getting feedback on my work,” says Wolcoski.
“And for people who have collected my work in the past, they have a chance to visit me in my studio and see what I’m working on now. The Crawl is a nice opportunity for me to meet my viewers.”
It’s not just the artists who have a diverse range of backgrounds and styles. It’s the viewers too.
Boone says that due to its huge footprint, and the fact that the art that is found at the Crawl is fairly affordable, this year’s event has something for everyone. From serious collectors to people just looking for smaller works as gifts for the upcoming holiday season, art is in abundance.
What matters most though, is showcasing the artists.
It [the art community in that area] is so special,” says Boone. “I don’t know anywhere else in Canada, or even the world, where there are so many artists packed into one small area.”
Full list of the artists and spaces involved can be found at www.eastsideculturecrawl.com