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16-1265 Howe Street
Vancouver BC, V6Z 1R3

Unceded Territories of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam),
Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish) and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh
(Tsleil-Waututh) Nations

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221A works with artists and designers to research and develop social, cultural and ecological infrastructure.

Organizing Values

  • Access as an ongoing practice
  • Accountable to community and neighbours
  • Anti-disposability (no start and no end)
  • Anti-racism
  • Artists’ work is essential
  • Communities self-organizing
  • Embrace complex (salty) conversations
  • Encourage learning between age groups
  • Instrumentalize dominant structures against themselves (Billy-Ray Belcourt)
  • Joy of cultural work
  • Kinship and kindness as method
  • Love as process
  • Moving at the pace of trust
  • No market housing in battleground neighbourhoods
  • Nurture relationships amongst cultures and across generations
  • Nurture the ecosystem
  • Regenerate the art and design sector
  • Repair infrastructure
  • Transparent communication with artists

Constitution & Bylaws and Membership

Annual Report

Board of Directors

Julia Aoki, Vice-President
Jeff Derksen
Marisa Espinosa
Kathy Feng
Virginia Hong, President
Marci T. House
Krystal Paraboo
Neeta Soni
Katy Young


Afuwa, Associate Director
Oliver Barnes, Community Pollinator
Soloman Chiniquay, Community Pollinator
Tao Fei, Program Producer
Michelle Fu, Head of Admin & Finance
Valeen Jules, Community Pollinator
Aubin Kwon, Technician
Jastej Luddu, Communications & Story Producer
Kenji Maeda, SEARA (Sector Equity for Anti-Racism in the Arts) Project Director
Sasha Mark, SEARA (Sector Equity for Anti-Racism in the Arts) Network Coordinator
Madison Mayhew, Admin & Governance Coordinator
Brian McBay, Executive Director
Jesse McKee, Head of Strategy
Tosan Omatsola, Project Director
Luca Seccafien, Head of Advancement
jaz whitford, Community Outreach & Program Developer
Stephan Wright, Head of Facilities & Production
Sungpil Yoon, Tenancy Relations Coordinator


221A envisions a pluralistic society in which all people have the means to access and make culture.

A wide shot of the x̱aw̓s shew̓áy̓ New Growth《新生林》garden seen from the street, with its gates open and a light covering of snow spread over its grounds. Photo by Nicole Kelly Westman.
A wide shot of the x̱aw̓s shew̓áy̓ New Growth《新生林》garden at Semi-Public 半公開 seen from the street, with its gates open and a light covering of snow spread over its grounds.

Brief History

Beginning as a student-led initiative in 2005, the organization was initially animated by an opposition to the division between contemporary art and design. Leaving the university grounds in 2008 to establish its first public exhibition space, the organization would be shaped by the history and upheavals of its new home in Chinatown, the embattled neighbourhood itself a microcosm of a global economic recession and the transformation of Vancouver before and after the 2010 Winter Olympics.

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221A Artist Housing Society

Ndidi Cascade, a hip hop artist, is a tenant of a new building in Mount Pleasant for artists. Photo Mike Howell.

221A Artist Housing Society (221A AHS), is a newly formed non-profit society registered for the purposes of operating and providing housing for low-income Artists and their families. The Society currently operates a 30 units at 187 E 3rd Ave in the Mount Pleasant neighbourhood.

x̱aw̓s shew̓áy̓ New Growth «新生林»

Welcoming for the x̱aw̓s shew̓áy̓ New Growth «新生林», Semi-Public 半公開, July 6, 2019.  Photo by Damaris Riedinger

x̱aw̓s shew̓áy̓ New Growth《新生林》nurtures ecological processes and community members alike. It provides a forum for the public, artists, groups, and 221A’s programs, and introduces us to healthy relationships with the land and each other. Through a collaborative educational curriculum led by 221A fellow T’uy’t’tanat-Cease Wyss, a Skwxwú7mesh/ Sto:Lo/ Hawaiian/ Swiss artist, ethnobotanist, and educator, this site was designed and redressed from a vacant lot into a public garden with flora indigenous to this territory. Read more at semi-public.


Affordability Index Dashboard, by 221A Fellow DOMA in partnership with the Centre for Spatial Technologies.

221A works with artists and designers as Fellows to conduct research over a period of 3 to 24 months. Each Fellow is supported to lead new research on potential social, cultural or ecological infrastructure. Staff work alongside Fellows to resource and translate research into programs and operational plans towards infrastructure. 221A defines infrastructure as the core facilities and systems of a society. 221A seeks to develop facilities and systems that exceed or cut across traditional forms of production in their capacity to respond to fluctuating realities and needs. 221A develops the work of its Fellows into public infrastructures for the cultural, ecological and social commons.

Sector Work

221A was a core member organization of SEARA a consortium including 110 non-profit organizations who raised over $350,000 for BIPOC artists

221A leads initiatives that includes cultural, real estate, government, technology, and academic sectors. These initiatives develop policy, grow relationships between industries, engage in public consultation through programming, all in the aim of furthering long-term infrastructure.