As of March 11, 2020, 221A’s offices and programming venues have been closed, and will remain closed for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic, as part of the physical distancing measures enacted by the Public Health Agency of Canada and the British Columbia Ministry of Health. Staff are predominantly working from home until further notice, and are maintaining their usual hours. 221A has made commitments to keep its staff employed during these uncertain times, and to provide full payment of fees for Artists and contractors engaged with the Organization’s programming and research initiatives. In the coming weeks and months, 221A looks forward to sharing digital-realm programming outputs that are being generated by its Fellowship program and the Blockchains & Cultural Padlocks Research Initiative.
221A’s Cultural Services facilities have remained accessible to individual studio subtenants of 222 E Georgia, 236 Pender, 1654 Franklin and 1265 Howe, permitted they are able to follow the health measures of physical distancing, and that the facilities remain below total occupancy of 50 people. However, the public facing businesses and nonprofits which operate at these facilities, such as Access Gallery, Or Gallery, Franc Gallery and Malaspina Printmakers Society have closed to the public.
221A is diligently working to secure subsidies and relief funding from various departments and levels of government, as well as the private sector, and is negotiating with the landowners of each of its facilities in the wake of the economic correction that resulted from the slow down of all work and business activities, save for essential services. These measures are intended to provide rent relief to the subtenants whose revenues have been impacted by the pandemic. While 221A is not the landowner of any of its facilities, it recognizes the leadership role that it can provide, and will act as a collective negotiator to bargain for the most supportive outcomes for the 80+ subtenants. 221A is currently assessing the capacities and needs of subtenants, and asks for support and cooperation from its stakeholders, communities and fellow cultural workers.