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CURRENT COLUMN

Visual Artists as Entrepreneurs and Marketers
September 2013
Visual Artists as Entrepreneurs and Marketers

Audain Art Museum
June 2013
Siting an Art Museum in a Forest

Gordon Smith Gallery
November 2012
Boosting the Profile of Artists for Kids

Equinox
September 2012
From glacial meltwater to contemporary art

Morris & Helen Belkin Gallery
June 2012
Professional curators of contemporary art were once as scarce as hen's teeth

Equinox Gallery
April 2012
Gallery owners have their eye on East Vancouver

Equinox Gallery
February 2012
Gallery owners have their eye on East Vancouver

Jacana Gallery
November 2011
Nothing is certain but death and taxes

Satellite Gallery
September 2011
Hope springs eternal


June 2011
The Hotel Waldorf
reimagined


April 2011
Education for the eye,
soul and mind


February 2011
Fine art inkjet prints
are here to stay


November 2010
SAAG endows the old
with new possibilities

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Gallery Views

By ANN ROSENBERG

BElkin Satellite Gallery

555 Hamilton Street, now the Belkin Satellite Gallery, Vancouver, BC, in 2004

In the first decade of the 20th Century, not long after Vancouver’s incorporation in 1886 as a city, many buildings were decorated with cornices and friezes, elements that trace their roots back to ancient Greece and Rome. In downtown Vancouver, several structures such as the Del Mar Inn, at 555 Hamilton Street still survive.

First-time visitors to the Belkin Satellite will undoubtedly be surprised by the gallery’s placement inside the Del Mar Inn, a hotel now embedded within the recently built B.C. Hydro complex. Those with a more long-standing knowledge of the site realize that this exhibition space and hotel are part of a fascinating chapter in Vancouver’s development as a city and as a cultural centre.

What you could not guess is that 555 Hamilton Street was directly across from the Vancouver School of Art (VSA) when it moved into new premises in the early 1960s. After that, the hotel, owned by George Riste became increasingly important to the art community.

In 1964-65 artist Paul Huang ran an arts supply shop from his studio at this location. Between 1965-73 he gradually transformed it into the Bau-Xi Gallery, a showcase for up-and-coming local art stars such as Michael Morris, Gathie Falk and the N.E. Thing Company. By the time Huang moved the Bau-Xi to its present location on south Granville Street, the Vancouver Artists Gallery was ready to become the site’s first non-profit gallery, as well as the storage space for the City of Vancouver’s small art collection. Although the VSA moved to Granville Island in 1980 (where it changed its name to Emily Carr College of Art) and the Vancouver Vocational Institute moved into the former premises of the VSA, the Vancouver Artists Gallery (now the Contemporary Art Gallery) did not suffer because it had already established a committed following for its vanguard shows.

The Contemporary Art Gallery moved to new quarters on Nelson Street, keeping the ‘555’ number of the former site. In 2001, after suitable renovations, 555 Hamilton Street became the home of the Belkin Satellite, whose shows are co-ordinated through the University of British Columbia’s Morris and Helen Belkin Gallery.

555 Hamilton Street is Vancouver’s longest-standing, essentially unaltered gallery space. It is still here because of the marvellous support of George Riste and his family who stood firm for his renters, firm for art and firm against unchallenged development. Katherine Walters’ word sculpture, permanently installed in the frieze above the Belkin’s entrance, was created during the period when real estate negotiations between Riste and B.C. Hydro were taking place. It reads, “Unlimited Growth Increases the Divide.”

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