Encompassing the region bounded by Columbia Street, First Avenue, Victoria Drive and the waterfront, the Eastside Arts District is home to the highest concentration of visual artists, designers and craft makers in Canada.
The festival offers a chance for visitors to discover over 500 visual artists in their art studios, collaborative work spaces, garages, and homes. You’ll discover painters, jewellers, sculptors, furniture makers, weavers, potters, printmakers, photographers, glassblowers and more. While there are multiple studios for the event, the central area is bounded by Columbia St, First Avenue, Victoria Drive and the waterfront.
William Clark Studios, located at 1310 William St., has been with the festival since its inception, and offers an impressive roster of nearly 40 artists.
Vancouver Is Awesome spoke to building managers Gregg Steffensen and Tina Ozols who are both showing their work in this year’s crawl. They described how much the building means to the local community, as well as how much it has changed over the years.
“They originally made coat hangers in the building, and then it became a garment factory,” explains Ozols. “And I believe it was built in the ’40s.”
“We’re always finding needles in the floor. Even when we vacuum, we’ll see needles coming up from the floor.”
Steffensen describes how things “emerge from the floor” — whether it’s “pennies from the ’50s” or factory pins — relics of the past make their way into the creative shared-space.
According to Steffensen, the former managers lived on-site and their bunk bed is still in one of the rooms. His art hangs along the wall beside it — a combination of mixed media works, paintings, and photos. He says he shoots a great deal of images locally, but that a number of them were shot on the road.
“The picture of the ferris wheel is actually in Chernobyl,” he said. “There’s a dude with a van — you pay him $150 bucks and he takes you there. The folks in Ukraine don’t have a great deal of money and they have this side-industry.
“I like abandoned places.”
Ozols describes how she designs and produces an exclusive line of LGBTQ2+ friendly products for Your Open Closet, which is an all-inclusive undergarment store on Commercial Drive. She makes clothing for all sizes, and also has a unique offering called ‘Frankengear’ — all sorts of things made from smaller bits to prevent them from going in the landfill.
Have a look at some of the works from the artists at William Clark Studios.
Eastside Culture Crawl
Where: Nov. 16 and 17, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Where: Various Venues in East Vancouver Cost: Free (Some pay events)