A Force for Public Art in Vancouver

Vancouver’s Downtown Association has a long history of investing in unique public art to enrich our city center and create a place that is unlike no other in the world. In the past 5 years, VDA has invested nearly $200,000 in various projects throughout our downtown.


12th & Main Artlet, Bike Art Park on Main

The Vancouver’s Downtown Association has been awarded funding by the City of Vancouver’s Culture, Heritage and Arts Commission for 2020. We are seeking artists to submit proposals for either or both projects.



In celebration of National Poetry month, haiku and short poems were applied to sidewalks throughout downtown using a special paint which was only be visible in the rain for approximately 2-4 months.

Each poem reflected the downtown Vancouver experience, such as spending time outdoors, attending cultural events, or exploring the city with family or friends. Our aim was to present poems which will lift the spirits of those who come upon them.

The installation was celebrated with an opening celebration and reading, as well as a poetry crawl.

Check out photos of the project on social media using the tag #dtVANrainku.

The Phoenix

The Phoenix and its location at 8th and Main were chosen by the late Carl Dobbs, an active member of our Design Committee. Sadly, Carl passed away on October 2nd, 2010 and was unable to see this magnificent sculpture in its glory, but he was aware of the project and was pleased to know that it was going to become a reality. The Phoenix was funded through grant funds provided by the City of Vancouver. This sculpture helped raise other funds dedicated to public art in our downtown. The community is always pleased to see this kind of investment and is supportive. Artist: Andrew Carson

Turtle Place

Turtle Place is a public plaza downtown on 7th and Main Street. Formerly a C-Tran bus stop, it is now a model of sustainability and urban beauty.

Thanks to a cooperative effort led by VDA and including the City of Vancouver and C-Tran, Vancouver has a new public gathering place rich with public art and environmentally low-impact fixtures and plantings.

The name “Turtle Place” comes from Vancouver’s past. There is a good reason Vancouver is located where it is. This rich, fertile area has been a population center for thousands of years. Before the Europeans settled the area, it was a gathering place for native people, known to them as “Turtle Place.”

Turtle Place received the 2009 Award of Distinction for Public Spaces from the International Downtown Association.  The annual Achievement Award recognizes the level of innovation, replication, partnerships, and impact for the project.  Vancouver’s Downtown Association, in partnership with C-TRAN and the City of Vancouver, transformed an underused bus mall into an urban plaza rich with public art, lighting, seating, and other amenities.  The plaza was constructed from repurposed materials as a model for sustainable practices.

Many local businesses contributed to our new plaza: Harper Houf Peterson Righellis, Group McKenzie, Tribe2 Studios, and more. Visit Turtle Place anytime and enjoy the many events now scheduled.
Artists: Mural – Guy Drennan, Sculpture – Wendy Armstron & Greg Conyne

Flying Umbrellas

NW Corner of Main and Evergreen – From a pool of 19 local artists, Cobalt Designworkswas selected to produce our newest exhibit. Financial support came from Friends of Carl Dobbs, the City of Vancouver, and the Vancouver Downtown Association.

The power to keep it lighted with LED lights will cost just pennies a month……only $8.09 annually!  The lighting was paid for with funds donated by Columbia Credit Union. Thanks CCU!!

Art is the icing on the cake that helps us explore, think, become amused, consider, and grow. It can beckon a pedestrian to walk just a bit further to see “what is that interesting thing I see in the next block?”.

It can take stories from our past and make them new again. And, it can teach us a bit more about our world as a whole and our place in its future. Art activates streets, helps connect busy places together, and enriches the fiber of the downtown experience.

Heart and Stone

SE Corner of Columbia and 6th – ‘Heart and Stone’ was commissioned by Vancouver’s Downtown Association to honor past, present and future women who have been the shapers of our community. The work of local artists Jennifer Corio and husband Dave Frei, the boulder at the base of the 12-foot steel heart weighs in at 3,000 pounds.


Movie Madness

NW Corner of 11th and Main – From vaudeville to digital, downtowners loooove the theatre! Over a dozen theatres have operated in downtown featuring everything from live performances and motion pictures to community events. Local artist and member of the Slo Poks car club Paul Springer created this kinetic artwork to complement the Kiggins marquee and honor the contribution of downtown theaters.

Start typing and press Enter to search