16-1265 Howe Street
Vancouver BC, V6Z 1R3

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

General Inquiries:
+1 604 568 0812

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PHYSICAL DISTANCING NOTICE: 221A’s offices and indoor programming venue are closed until further notice. This is part of broader social distancing measures that we all must take in order to flatten the infection curve of the COVID-19 global pandemic. Staff are mostly working from home. Please get in touch if you have pressing business or questions.

COVID-19 Facilities and Access Policy


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

Organizing Values

Responsible to community and neighbours
Non-market autonomy
Question design
Artists paid fair wage
Contemporary art and design


Afuwa, Associate Director
Tvine Donabedian, Communications & Story Producer
Tao Fei Program Producer
Michelle Fu Head of Finance & Equity (Leave)
Aubin Kwon, Technician
Madison Mayhew Admin & Governance Coordinator
Brian McBay Executive Director
Jesse McKee Head of Strategy
Tosan Omatsola Project Director
Stephan Wright Head of Facilities & Production
Nicole Kelly Westman Education & Learning Programmer
Sungpil Yoon Tenancy Relations Coordinator


Rosemary Heather Editorial Director, Blockchains & Cultural Padlocks
Christy Nyiri Designer/ Developer
Quantum Accounting Bookkeeping
Charles Pan UBC Sustainability Scholar (2020-21 academic calendar)
jaz whitford Planner & Community Liaison, x̱aw̓s shew̓áy̓ New Growth《新生林》
Oliver Barnes Community Liaison, x̱aw̓s shew̓áy̓ New Growth《新生林》
Soloman Chiniquay Community Liaison, x̱aw̓s shew̓áy̓ New Growth《新生林》
Valeen Jules Community Liaison, x̱aw̓s shew̓áy̓ New Growth《新生林》

Artists’ Fees & Living Wages

221A’s policies require the payment of artists at or above CARFAC-RAAV Professional Fees and the compensation of all staff per the Living Wages for Families Campaign. 221A aims to improve the reciprocal health of the organization, its constituents, and our ecological context.


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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Operating Model

Benjamin Seror, Mime Radio, 2015

221A operates under a Research and Infrastructure model. Unlike a typical exhibition model for a Visual Art and Design organization, 221A’s operating model supports cultural workers over extended periods to lead the organization’s artistic pursuits, engaging deeply with contexts, collaborators, ideas, and audiences, with a focus on the development of research that leads to new social, cultural, or ecological infrastructure.

Research Initiatives

Andy Yan

221A leads multi-sectoral capacity building initiatives that include Researchers, External Advisors, and Partnerships in the nonprofit, business and academic sectors. These initiatives develop essential policy knowledge, grow relationships between sectors, engage in public consultation through programming, all in the aim of furthering long-term planning by 221A, as well as the cultural, education and nonprofit sectors.

Research Fellows

Yu Su

221A works with artists and designers as Research Fellows to conduct research over a period of 3 to 24 months. Each Research Fellow receives a stipend and open research office at Pollyanna 圖書館 Library where they are 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.


T’uy’tanat Cease Wyss at Semi-Public 半公開. Photo by Damaris Riedinger

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 Research Fellows into public infrastructures for the cultural, ecological and social commons.