DIY: Rent prices high ***ART SPACE WANTED***

by Katharina Schulz


In this socially awkward city, where eye contact on the street is shocking for most, there is an underlying desire to bump shoulders, shake bodies, nod heads together, and shed our social stigmas. Do It Yourself projects offer alternatives to established modes of entertainment, art, culture, and social space. They attempt to foster a sense of community, the “starving artists” become autonomous gallerists, and dancing to house music becomes romantic again.

Vancouver is expensive, but creativity is abundant. Combating the cliché of “No Fun Vancouver” may lie in a Do It Yourself approach that artist collectives, studios, ARC galleries, and semi-legitimate nightlife venues have been utilizing.

Not feeling that your art practice is recognized? Do you feel a repetitive monotony when going out on weekends? Not having enough fun in this city?


Option 1: Find between 6-10 of your best artist friends. Recruit from your design class, from the smoker’s spot, who has 100, 200 bucks? We need 1st and last month’s rent, you’ve got that? Great. Go on group outings to Craigslist ads for east-side warehouse spaces. Find the one with the least amount of pigeon feathers and caked on dust. Look for the hidden potential that might be there after afternoons and nights of scrubbing floors, drinking beers, painting walls, youtubing “How to Plumb Industrial Sink.” Once finished, make art on the semi-clean floors, have an art show, sell beer to your friends, repeat (See Gam Gallery and 221A).

When in need of tenants,

Post to Classifieds:


-“Hi Mary? Welcome, did you have trouble finding the space?”

-“Yeaa.. this neighborhood is.. interesting”

-“Mm yea it’s pretty diverse, we really like it”

-“Yea.. I don’t think this is gonna work..”

***Re: Craigslist Inquiry: ART SPACE AVAILABLE***


I’m looking for a studio space for my beautiful, artistic wife so that she can hone her beautiful artistic talents.”

***Re: Craigslist Inquiry: ART SPACE AVAILABLE***

“yoga in an art studio would just be the icing on the cake!”


Option 2: Start a music venue, make your money off cover charge and drink sales, cultivate creativity at night. Curate intimate spaces with dim lighting and great music. Vinyl only please; plants abundant. This is not the most legal route, but look into getting on the city’s good side.. (See Arts Event License Pilot Program).

***Re: Craigslist Inquiry: ART SPACE AVAILABLE***

“Can I use my metal sanding equipment and blow torch in your shared studio space?”

***Re: Craigslist Inquiry: ART SPACE AVAILABLE***

“If you and your friends would be willing to accept my contributions in developing the studio area and startup costs for the gallery space with up front payments, and in exchange allow me a measure of influence over the studio space (with the bar remaining as a shared resource if you guys are into that) and potentially to bring in some of my own people as we collaborate during future projects, that would be pretty solid goal for me…

If you have the same reaction as I do when you think about passing through Granville or Robson on a Saturday night, we are off to good start.”


Option 3: Combine options 1 and 2 and add a splash of investment. Work your ass off for a year, find a few others with “liquidities,” but use caution. When dealing with money, friends must become “business partners.” Stay true to the mission.

Art spaces that come together through a unified group effort among artists create a sense of community, responsibility, and freedom from the restrictions of displaying and working within institutionalized gallery spaces. Many established artists founded their art practices in this way, which gave them the freedom to experiment and cultivate their particular practice.

These projects are necessary for a city to grow and aspire to creativity and collaboration, breaking down the way we communicate and transforming the way we relate with others, with our dreams, with art, and with ourselves.

Make your own fun.

Make your own white cube.

Photography by Andrew Volk.

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