Vancouver Art Walk Chalks Up First Anniversary
Opening weekend for SIXBYSIX group exhibition at THIS Gallery, March 2024. Photo: Shannon Pawliw.

Vancouver Art Walk Chalks Up First Anniversary

Ongoing

by Michael Turner

Now celebrating its first anniversary, the Vancouver Art Walk is a Strathcona-based art gallery initiative developed during an informal January 2023 meeting of representatives from Fazakas Gallery, Monica Reyes Gallery (now YES), Outsiders and Others Gallery, Paneficio Gallery and THIS Gallery. The question behind the initiative: How do we make people not only feel safe, but want to come to events on East Hastings Street and in Chinatown?

Rather than wait for an answer, the principals focused on infrastructure. A self-directed walk was devised and printed onto postcards, with a QR link to a website. Reyes, who had been operating her East Hastings Street gallery since 2013, approached the Strathcona Business Improvement Association (BIA) and, on the strength of the founding galleries’ earlier billboard series, secured funding for advertising and promotion.

Said Reyes: “When LaTiesha [Fazakas] told me in 2018 that she’d found a space around the corner, and would I mind if she opened [a gallery] there, I said, ‘Of course!’ Strength in numbers has always been my position, growing communities. Thankfully, BIAs are there to assist
in that.”

Today, the Art Walk is 16 galleries strong and stretches from Clark to Main, Alexander to East Georgia. Its mission: “to collaborate with commercial and non-profit galleries and creatives to provide visitors with an exceptional and well-curated tour that can be enjoyed at their own pace.” As for extending collaborations to businesses beyond the creative realm, THIS Gallery’s Shannon Pawliw notes there’s a lot to choose from between exhibitions. “The Vancouver Art Walk brings people to the neighbourhood, where they not only get to enjoy the art but also take the opportunity to pick up dumplings, egg tarts and coffee along the way.”

With special events first Saturday of every month

vancouverartwalk.com

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