Brian McBay is Executive Director of 221A, a Vancouver-based cultural research and cultural space organization. Under his leadership, 221A operates a growing network of over 140,000ft2 across nine properties that provide space for over 1,250 artists working in research, public art, artist housing, and artist studios. As a student Co-founder of 221A during the height of the 2007-08 global economic crisis, he is part of a new generation of leaders in the cultural sector aiming to advance the public appreciation of the arts while also reversing deepening inequality, xenophobia and colonialism in Canada. He applies his training as an industrial designer to non-profit property design, construction and regulation and is known as an active and outspoken collaborator, critic and advisor, championing inter-cultural anti-racism in government policy and cultural development in Canada.
McBay was named a 2018 Fellow at the Salzburg Global Forum and has been invited to speak and write on art, policy and urban development at a variety of institutions and public forums. In addition to his role with 221A, McBay has served on numerous boards including recently as the President of the Pacific Association of Artist Run Centres and Co-Chair of the City of Vancouver Arts and Culture Advisory Committee. In 2020, he co-founded the Sector Equity Alliance for Anti-Racism in the Arts (SEARA), a BC-based consortium that raised funds for BIPOC Artists with over 100 non-profit cultural organizations. McBay is also currently serving terms as a board member of the Chinese-Canadian Museum of British Columbia, and as a trustee appointed to the National Gallery of Canada’s Board of Trustees.