New $800,000 exhibition fund sought for Vancouver outdoor art space Offsite

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      Fresh public funding has been proposed for an outdoor public art area in Downtown Vancouver.

      The City of Vancouver’s managing director of cultural services has suggested council approval of $800,000 to support programming at Offsite for the next five years.

      Branislav Henselmann told council that a yearly allocation of $160,000 will support exhibits at the 1100 West Georgia Street spot from 2019 to 2023.

      “The Offsite program continues to offer the residents and visitors of Vancouver access to a wide range of contemporary public art projects by significant artists from here and around the world,” Henselmann wrote in a report.

      The city-funded program is being delivered by the Vancouver Art Gallery.

      The dedicated public art space was created as part of the rezoning for the Shangri-La Hotel and Residences in 2003.

      “In lieu of providing permanent public artwork on site, the developer agreed to provide for rotating displays of temporary public artworks within a public right-of-way connecting Alberni and Georgia Streets, with a main exhibition space fronting onto Georgia,” Henselmann recalled.

      Henselmann also wrote that the developer provided $2.4 million for the establishment of the Georgia Street (Shangri-La) Public Art Reserve, which funds Offsite.

      “Since 2009, the City of Vancouver, the Shangri-La Hotel and Residences, and the Vancouver Art Gallery have partnered on the Offsite program, which addresses a longstanding need for a site in Vancouver in which to program temporary exhibitions of public art,” according to Henselmann.

      Henselmman noted that since its inauguration, Offsite has presented 18 temporary public art projects.

      With the new $800,000 funding for 2019-2023, Offsite is expected to showcase a “minimum of eight new projects”, the managing director of cultural services said.

      The Georgia Street (Shangri-La) Public Art Reserve had $3.5 million as of February 28, 2019.

      “The reserve has been managed with the goal of maintaining fund level and keeping pace with inflation to ensure the long-term viability of public art programming at Offsite,” Henselmann wrote in his report that is included in council’s agenda Tuesday (April 2).