City taking action to support Main St. arts scene on three fronts

News that VIVO arts centre is facing relocation after 20 years at its Main St. site is discouraging for arts supporters, but not proof that “everyone’s being pushed out” by the impact of the new community plan, as VIVO’s Emma Hendrix has speculated.

In fact, the new plan priorized arts investment with community amenity contributions from major projects and the city has just invited proposals for the use of $4.5 million generated by the Rize development at Kingsway and Broadway.

That’s in addition to the 21,000 square feet of city space recently made available for arts use just a few blocks from VIVO at Main and Terminal.

On top of that, the city recently revised bylaws that were obstructing the use of industrial space for arts and creative uses, opening up about 26 million square feet of potential new space, much of it bordering Mount Pleasant.

Those changes, along with the construction of the Emily Carr University Campus on Mount Pleasant’s northern boundary and the migration of several galleries to Great Northern Way, signal transformation in the community’s arts infrastructure, but not its disappearance.