Black and Yellow Gallery hit by closure of East Vancouver’s Waldorf Hotel
Black and Yellow Gallery is searching for a new home now that the operators of the Waldorf Hotel have decided to shut down the East Vancouver cultural hub.
Graeme Berglund, founder and co-director of the small gallery, said the abruptly announced closure of the hotel is devastating.
“In a city where it’s sometimes tough to find a good time, you always knew that you could just jump in a cab and pop down there and there was five things going on," Berglund told the Straight by phone today (January 10). "I don’t know of another place like that.”
“It was just kind of like this perfect storm of creativity and personality colliding in one unique location. It feels like the clubhouse is gone, you know?”
Yesterday, the operators of the Waldorf Hotel announced the popular venue would close on January 20 because the property had been sold to a developer.
A lawyer representing Waldorf Hotel Ltd., the owner of the complex on East Hastings Street, has told the Straight that hotel operations will continue.
Black and Yellow Gallery has been operating out of the revamped hotel rent-free since holding its first show in March 2011.
The gallery, located in a repurposed hotel room on the second floor, shared the complex with two nightclubs, a restaurant, a tiki bar, and a recording studio.
“What a unique scenario for an art gallery,” Berglund said. “It’s been a real honour to be a part of that whole machine and simply devastating, the fact that it’s over at this point.”
“We’re one of the only spaces in the city…where an artist straight out of Emily Carr or UBC can even get an art show,” he said of the gallery. “The level of support that we receive, particularly from young artists in the city, is incredible.”
Berglund said he and Allison Mander-Wionzek, the other co-director and lead curator, are committed to seeing the gallery live on.
Berglund said he has been looking in Chinatown for a new home for the gallery and expects to relocate to some kind of mixed-use space.
Despite the prospect of having to pay rent, Berglund expressed optimism the gallery will survive. “It’s just going to have to take another shape and fit into a new space,” he said.
The gallery’s final show at the Waldorf Hotel will be an exhibition by textile artist KT Kilgour. The show’s opening reception is this Friday at 7 p.m.