As part of this Saturday’s first-ever Vancouver Mural Festival, a series of three panels featuring muralists, musicians, curators, and other thought leaders will be held at the Fox Cabaret. With so many events taking place as part of the fest—everything from live art and street parties to concerts and gallery presentations—these speaker panels will provide a platform for art enthusiasts and academics alike to discuss the culture surrounding street art in Vancouver.
Panel 3: Fairness vs. Public Art: The Value of Curation, 3 p.m. to 3:45 p.m., The Fox Cabaret
Moderated by Straight writer Amanda Siebert (yours truly), this panel discussion will highlight the need for skilled curation in public art. For the most part, the selection process in Vancouver with regard to public art involves open calls, special committees, diversity of mediums and artists, and community involvement. While these processes are rooted in good intentions, the emphasis on ‘fairness’ can work against how art pieces are selected for public display. Attempts to ensure non-critical response limit the opportunity for dynamic dialogue. This is where the curation process can be more valuable. Good curators are considerate of diversity and community, while encouraging dialogue and buffering criticism: they understand that they are ultimately responsible for how the art is seen. Panelists will shed light on the expectation of fairness when curating public art, and discuss ideas to supplement curation programs in the city.
Artist, teacher, and curator Drew Young has exhibited work around the world. Young is an instructor at both the Federation of Canadian Artists, and at Langara College, where he teaches commercial illustration. His curatorial history has included roles with TEDx Vancouver, the Cobalt’s weekly live art night, Snag, and of course the Vancouver Mural Festival. Check out Young’s mural at Belvedere Court.
As the owner and founder of Dazed and Confucius, panelist Pennylane Shen acts as an artist consultant, advisor, and curator. Shen isn’t new to panels: in the past, she’s lectured at various forums on the politics of representation, gender, identity, and fine art. Shen is also the instructor of theory, history, and business marketing in Langara Colllege’s photography program. She has also worked with a number of notable art galleries, including Bau-Xi, Canada’s longest standing commercial gallery.
In addition to his role as the executive vice president of the Burrard Group, panelist Christian Chan founded the Burrard Arts Foundation in 2014. The charitable organization is committed to bringing more visual art to the public, while simultaneously supporting emerging artists. Chan is also a trustee at the Vancouver Art Gallery. An exhibit showcasing the work of Vancouver Mural Festival artists is currently on display at the Burrard Arts Foundation. A series of murals are also painted on the exterior of the building.
Panelist Karen Henry is the public art planner for the City of Vancouver. For nearly 20 years, Henry has been developing exhibitions as a curator, while also operating as a public art consultant and overseeing the production of artworks for local governments and private corporations. Past public art projects include a work by Coast Salish artist Susan Point for Stanley Park and Olympic artwork at the Richmond Oval, among others. Current projects include working with artist Erica Stocking on an artwork for the new nə́c̓aʔmat ct Strathcona branch library, and commissioning 15 temporary artworks for the Platforms 2016: Coastal City series on transit shelters and video screens throughout Vancouver.