Agenda Index City of Vancouver

ADMINSTRATIVE REPORT

TO: Standing Committee of Council on Planning and Environment
FROM: Director, Office of Cultural Affairs
SUBJECT: Murals for Hoardings on Hastings Street - Downtown Eastside
 

RECOMMENDATION

GENERAL MANAGER COMMENTS

COUNCIL POLICY

City Council has funded a number of programs which supplement community initiatives to improve conditions in the Downtown Eastside and nearby areas.

Council, through the Community Public Art program, supports the collaboration of artists and area residents in the creation of artworks in a community.

Recommendation B is a grant requiring eight affirmative votes for approval.

PURPOSE

The purpose of this report is to seek approval for a grant to create and place murals on hoardings along Hastings from Cambie to Main Street. This represents the extension of an existing Community Public Art project approved by Council on January 15, 1998. Granting approval would allow artists and local residents to participate in enhancing the visual quality of the area concurrently with initiatives being undertaken by the Engineering Services.

This report is a companion report to "Physical On-Street Enhancement - Downtown Eastside and Nearby Areas" presented by the General Manager of Engineering Services.

BACKGROUND

Council is currently considering initiatives by the General Manager of Engineering Services to enhance the appearance of the area by improving lighting, power washing sidewalks, graffiti removal and other clean-up efforts this spring. At the same time as the work of Engineering Services is scheduled to take place, a small Community Public Art project already approved by Council is at work in the Downtown Eastside. This conjunction of civic and community efforts presents an opportunity to highlight and extend the changes Council wishes to support in the area.

DISCUSSION

This report proposes an expansion of the "Walls of Change" project to enable the painting of large murals on up to 12 additional hoardings from Cambie to Main street. The current project is well along in its task to create one hoarding mural for the new Portland Hotel plus ten portable (canvas) murals for local community service organizations. For the project currently underway, the overall budget, including donations and grants requested from other sources, is projected to be $24,000. $7,500 has come from the Community Public Art program.

The organizers have estimated the costs for the extension at $ 38,600. This amount includes substantial donations ($7,603) from paint and hardware suppliers and other supporters but, given the time frame, does not assume participation by other funders or sponsors. A total of $ 33,500 of civic support is requested. This report requests approval for a grant of $ 27,500, $2,500 to maintenance and indicates materials with a value of $ 3,500 would be provided from existing Engineering Services budgets. (See APPENDIX A).

After consulting with the project leaders and Engineering Services, Cultural Affairs staff note that extension of the existing project has a number of merits:

because residents participate directly in the design and painting, community pride and a sense of ownership come into play, suggesting the work is more meaningful to the residents and more likely to be treated with respect;

local community organizations are co-operating with the project. Trust and a working relationship is essential to engaging the residents. Organizations include the Carnegie Centre, Portland Hotel, Youth Action Centre, Urban Youth Alliance, SOS (Social Orientation Services), Downtown Eastside Seniors' Centre, Downtown Eastside Women's Centre, Four Sisters Co-op, the Living Room, Gallery Gachet and the Japanese Community Volunteers/Tonari Gumi;

the project is co-ordinated by two professional artists who have succeeded with similar projects in the past. Richard Tetrault has been responsible for the creation of murals in the Carnegie Centre, Strathcona Community Centre, Firehall Art Centre, and on the Keefer Street pedestrian overpass. Sharon Kravitz has created chalk works around the Carnegie Centre and led art workshops for residents over several years. Other artists involved include Marcel Mousseau, with a First Nations background, and Priscilla Yeung, a recent arts graduate from Emily Carr Institute fluent in Cantonese.

Project Description

1. Subject to Council approval, the project would paint up to 12 additional wooden hoardings between Cambie and Main on Hastings Street. This does not include the Woolworth or Woodward's building as their hoardings are well maintained and patrolled. The owners will be approached by project leaders to explore their interest in a separate sponsorship at a later date.

2. Before any base-coat or mural work is done, businesses involved would be contacted in order to gain their approval. The "Wall of Change" project has already been in touch with many of the landlords or agents and has gained verbal support from a number. Since the goal is to enhance the appearance of the buildings and streetscape, the co-operation of the affected owners is expected.

3. The Engineering Services Department would clear six of the proposed hoardings of posters and staples and then base-coat them prior to the murals being created on-site. A further six hoardings are in such poor condition that murals will be painted on plywood in a central location and then mounted over the existing hoarding.

4. On completion, the murals would receive an anti-graffiti coating to allow for clean-up in the future. This report requests $2,500 for the Maintenance Reserve as a contribution to such maintenance needs. Given the materials and the climate, these murals cannot be regarded as permanent, but are expected to last from three to five years.

CONCLUSION

There is a welcome opportunity to bring civic initiatives and community participation together to improve the appearance of Hastings Street. With civic support, unpainted and graffiti-covered hoardings would be replaced by a series of murals to complement the City Engineer's initiative to refurbish sidewalks, street furnishings, and lighting. The result would be the substantially improved appearance of Hastings Street by the end of June, 1998. Staff rcommend approval of a $27,500 grant and a $2,500 allocation to the Public Art Maintenance Reserve.

* * * * *

APPENDIX A

Walls of Change Phase 2

BUDGET

REVENUES

City of Vancouver

Public Art Unallocated Reserve $ 27,500
Engineering Department materials budget $ 3,500

Donations $ 7,603

Total Revenues $38,603


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