221A and the City of Vancouver officially opened Howe Street Studios today with a welcome by Debra Sparrow, Musqueam Weaver, Artist, and Knowledge Keeper; a press briefing with Mayor Kennedy Stewart; and, the launch of an artwork by Germaine Koh, Set Pieces, 2019, commissioned through the City’s Private Sector Public Art requirement.
The vision of the facility is to support the re-emergence of material culture in Vancouver’s downtown core, focusing on artists and designers who have traditionally been disadvantaged through lack of access to public resources. The facility provides 10,800 square feet of studio space (roughly the size of a baseball diamond), which 221A operates through a cost-recovery model.
“As a recent graduate, having a studio in a place like Howe Street Studios, is all about the affordability of space” says Aileen Bahmanipour, Artist subtenant at Howe Street Studios. “Affordability not only in terms of the rent, but also what can I afford to the artists in that space, what can they afford me as an artist, and what can we afford to our culture and our city?”
The facility is owned and was developed by the City of Vancouver through its Community Amenity Contribution (CAC) program. Earlier this Fall, a Peer Assessment Committee was convened by 221A to assess tenancy applications on the basis of economic need, material suitability, as well as quality and contribution of the artistic work in the field and to the city.
“When I visit the studio of artists I admire and respect, I’m consistently disappointed by how little space they have, how much they are paying for their studios, and how unpleasant their working conditions are,” says Tiziana La Melia, Artist subtenant of Howe Street Studios. “For these reasons, an entire generation of artists in their 30s have reluctantly left Vancouver. City intervention into this problem is so necessary and has been necessary for a very long time.”
The protection and creation of arts and cultural spaces, such as Howe Street Studios, is a key priority in the Making Space for Arts and Culture report, which was approved by City Council in September, as part of Culture|Shift: Blanketing the City in Arts and Culture. Vancouver’s new culture plan recommends that the City demonstrate its long-term commitment to address acute space challenges.
For more information about 221A please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or +1 604 568 0812.