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 10 years, VDA has invested over $350,000 in various art projects throughout our downtown.
Great River Arts Festival
Vancouver's Downtown Association is proud to partner with Local Boy Tatau to bring a new annual event to Downtown Vancouver—The Great River Arts Festival (GRAF)!
In August 2022, Over 15 new murals were added to the downtown core, from 5th - 15th Street. Watch the video below for a highlight of the event!
The goal of GRAF is to strengthen unity through diversity by showcasing northwest and world-renowned artists. Curating and growing a visual multicultural historic arts district experience will build and enrich the future through the arts. 2021 was the first year of the event, Local Boy Tatau and related artists won VDA’s coveted HeART of Downtown Award.
THANK YOU to all of the artists, business owners, and property owners, that made this community effort possible! The event will reoccur August 2023, stay tuned on VDA channels.
The Heart of Vancouver
“The Heart of Vancouver,” painted by Ana The Artist. Located above Main Event Sports Grill, on the side of Union Chapel Vancouver, the mural depicts a yellow heart and floral elements representing Downtown Vancouver’s strong community fabric and vibrant past & future. We hope that this mural brightens your day as you stroll along Main Street.
The mural encompasses a total of 1,200 sq ft and is spray painted.
More Than Meets the Eye
More Than Meets the Eye activates a building that has been boarded up for approximately 40 years. VDA chose this project site to help promote connectivity between districts and to draw additional traffic to the blossoming 700 block in Downtown Vancouver.
Conceptualized by local artist Jane Degenhardt, “More Than Meets The Eye,” brings the observer out of the urban environment and into nature.
“Wandering through the Pacific Northwest understory, the forest floor becomes a way of experiencing nature intimately. Mosses, mushrooms and other small organisms invite us to dwell for a time in a state of wonder. All it requires is attentiveness. Under the quiet cathedral of trees, I see how nature echoes my own emotional, intellectual and spiritual experience. My paintings are an invitation to take a closer look at our human relationship to the natural world.”
This art installation is made possible by the support of Vancouver’s Downtown Association and International Graphics & Nameplate.
In 2021, VDA partnered with the Public Art Committee on a vision to fill downtown with “Crack Art.”
“Crack art” is created when an artist uses the existing physical environment, such as a crack in a wall, retaining wall, bollard, etc., as the inspiration for mural design. Crack Art will add to the high-quality public art collection already present in this historic district.
Current Locations: 801 Main Street, 901 C Street, additional locations to follow soon!
12th & Main Artlet
In 2020, VDA’s Design Committee was awarded a grant from the City of Vancouver’s Culture, Arts & Heritage Program. This grant supported a project a project conceptualized by VDA's Design Committee: 12th & Main Artlet.
The improvements emphasize creative art treatments to develop a gathering space that enliven an intersection that was once devoid of any specific public art. The improvements are designed to tie together both the north, south, east and west sides of the intersection, by utilizing artful treatments throughout.
The Arlet includes:
- New bulb-outs painted on the asphalt of the intersection's four corners and connected to painted crosswalks. Designed and painted by Colin & Mia Behr with Gombehr LLC, as a mural to highlight safe pedestrian crossing areas.
- Enhancement of the blank walls of the above-ground parking garage ("Menashe Building") at the intersection's southeast corner with public art that range from mural(s) underneath the west-facing side of the parking garage, designed and painted by Gombehr LLC, and a mural panel installation on the south-facing elevator tower wall of the parking garage by the name of Bramble, painted by local artist, Jane Degenhardt.
- A new gathering area at the southwest corner designed as an extension of the painted bulb-outs to bleed the art onto the adjacent sidewalk and "no parking area."
Bike Art Park on Main
In 2020, VDA’s Design Committee was awarded a grant from the City of Vancouver’s Culture, Arts & Heritage Program. This grant supported a project a project conceptualized by VDA's Design Committee: Bike Art Park on Main.
Bike Art Park on Main installed two bike corrals on Main Street at 8th & Main and 12th & Main to increase multi-modal connectivity and enhance the designated Vancouver Arts District.
The corrals’ bike racks were custom-designed by VSAA students and incorporate artistic features that celebrate local nature, along with complementary street murals painted on the asphalt beneath the corrals, painted by local artists Colin & Mia Behr with Gombehr LLC.
Movie Madness was unveiled in downtown Vancouver on a First Friday, March 3, 2017. The kinetic piece is meant to honor Vancouver’s 12 historic downtown theaters, including the Kiggins Theatre, which is the only one still operating.
Local artist Paul Springer created the piece, incorporating three original film reels from the Kiggins Theatre into the top, which resembles a movie camera. When the wind is right, the reels will rotate slightly. Its design kept the Kiggins’ art deco style in mind.
Movie Madness is 13 feet tall and 750 pounds. Its acquisition and installation was a joint effort between the City of Vancouver and the Vancouver’s Downtown Association.
Artist: Paul Springer
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.
Artist: Jennifer Corio, Dave Frei
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.
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.
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.
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
Artist: Mural – Guy Drennan, Sculpture – Wendy Armstron & Greg Conyne
NW Corner of Main and Evergreen – From a pool of 19 local artists, Cobalt Designworks was selected to produce a stunning art piece. Financial support came from Friends of Carl Dobbs, the City of Vancouver, and the Vancouver Downtown Association.
Artist: Cobalt Designworks
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 2, 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