Grunt gallery has received $45,000 of Collaborative Spaces funding from the B.C. Government to help save the Blue Cabin and turn it into a thriving artist residence. It was the last heritage squatter's cabin on Vancouver's North Shore.
The money will fund the remediation, renovation, and relocation of the structure as a floating artist residency. It will live on as a place where artists can interpret foreshore ecology from a perspective on the water.
The Straight had earlier reported the structure was under threat of demolition.
The quirky blue shack with the storybook red trim is considered a work of art in itself and a rare example of West Coast vernacular architecture.
The cabin—built as a Coal Harbour float home during the 1930s but beached between Deep Cove’s Cates Park and the McKenzie Barge shipyard for the past several decades—has existed in a state of legal limbo for years.
Recently, the land adjacent to the cabin, MacKenzie Barge and Shipbuilding, was sold to Polygon Homes for redevelopment. Under their agreement with Port Metro, Polygon has to remediate the foreshore, including the Blue Cabin's small cove. To avoid demolition, the cabin was relocated five kilometres west to a secure storage lot for repair.
Two of Vancouver’s most revered senior artists—sculptor Carole Itter, 75, and interdisciplinary artist Al Neil, the 90-year-old winner of a lifetime-achievement award from the City of Vancouver last year—had occupied it on a part-time basis, Neil since 1966.
The Blue Cabin Floating Artist Residency is also about a bigger idea: alternate modes of living and working, especially for artists who live in a city where real estate is skyrocketing. As it says on grunt's The Blue Cabin site: "Despite Vancouver’s international reputation for producing exceptional artists, inflated real estate prices make it challenging at best for arts organizations to offer visiting artists spaces for research, experimentation, innovation, and exchange.
"Artist residencies exist worldwide and the experiences of those who have been lucky enough to take part are often described as life changing and transformational. Recognizing the need for such a generative space, the Blue Cabin Floating Artist Residency presents an opportunity that is unique to this region while global in its reach."
Info on the new Blue Cabin Floating Artist Residency is here.
The B.C. government's Creative Economy Strategy was launched in February 2016 and aims to fund collaborative arts spaces as mixed-use, flexible spaces that blend educational, recreational, and cultural engagement. The aim is to up arts opportunities and thereby boost the economy.
As part of the strategy, the B.C. government is putting $1.5 million towards these collaborative spaces over three years.
Twelve other arts and culture organizations received this funding as well.
Among them, Vancouver Creative Space Society (C-Space), a creative hub formed by Boca del Lupo, Electric Company, Neworld Theatre, and Rumble Theatre received $22,500 to replace aging audio-visual and lighting equipment at Progress Lab 1422 in East Vancouver.
Vancouver contemporary dance company Plastic Orchid Factory received $45,000 to support renovations to “Left of Main” dance and live arts space in Vancouver’s Chinatown. (The space is to be shared between Plastic Orchid Factory, MACHiNENOiSY, and Tera Cheyenne Performance.)
Eastside Culture Crawl regulars Terminal City Glass Co-op, on Parker Street in East Van, received $45,000 to replace the glass blowing furnace with a new, more energy-efficient, technologically superior furnace with greater capacity.
And Vancouver Access Artist Run Centre got $50,000 for fire-system upgrades and to create flexible new working and presentation space.