Historic Blue Cabin Floating Artist Residency Located in Vancouver’s False Creek

Blue Cabin Floating Artist Residency under construction in a dry dock. Photo by Henri Robideau.

If you spy a small blue cabin bobbing in front of the Plaza of Nations in False Creek, you’ll have come across an exciting new artist initiative.

Other Sights for Artists’ Projects, grunt gallery, and Creative Cultural Collaborations (C3) have recently commenced a unique artist residency program that recognizes creative cultural work, as well as the complex colonial history of this region.

The Blue Cabin Floating Artist Residency (750 Pacific Boulevard) currently houses its first yearlong program (ends September 2020), entitled Skeins: Weaving on the Foreshore, which celebrates Coast Salish weaving and its many traditions and evolutions. Weaving serves as both a literal and figurative symbol for the bringing together of many different threads of perspectives, historical moments, stories, as well as communities and families.

Photo Credit: Henri Robideau

The residency involves five talented Indigenous weavers: Angela George from Squamish/Tsleil-Waututh nations, Debra Sparrow from Musqueam nation, Janice George and Buddy Joseph from Squamish nation, and Vicki Couzens (Gunditjmara) who hails from Australia (her residency will be from September 15 to October 31, 2019, presented in partnership with Australia Council for the Arts). Local artists have a 8 week research term and then transition to a 6-8 week residency at the Blue Cabin.

Debra Sparrow weaving.

The cabin itself has a fascinating history that mirrors the displacements and community building and revival that are embedded in Vancouver’s past. The cabin was first constructed in 1927 as a floating house in Coal Harbour for maritime labourers and their families before spending eight decades in North Vancouver. During that time, from 1966 until 2015, it served as an artist studio for Al Neil and Carole Itter.

The Blue Cabin in its North Vancouver site in 2018. Photo by John Ward.

Fortunately, it was saved from demolition in 2015 and refurbished through the collective efforts of grunt gallery, Other Sights for Artists’ Projects, C3, artists Jeremy and Sus Borsos, artist Germaine Koh, and architect Marko Simcic. It now features the restored cabin and an energy efficient deckhouse.

The Blue Cabin being lifted onto a concrete platform in a dry dock. Photo by John Zuk.

The cabin is a private facility for the artists; however, there are upcoming events and programming that will provide the public with access to it. As well, there will be other off-site events that will introduce the resident artists and their creative practices.

On September 15, 2019, from noon to 4pm, visit the Blue Cabin for a guided tour.

On September 26, 2019, at 6pm, the Blue Cabin hosts a welcome reception for artist Vicki Couzens.

At Native Education College (237 East 5th Ave), there will be Meet the Artist sessions on October 3, 2019 at 6pm (Angela George, Janice George, and Buddy Joseph) and November 21, 2019 at 6pm (Debra Sparrow).

Janice George and Buddy Joseph weaving.

So far, two Open Studio events at the Blue Cabin are planned: October 26, 2019, from 11am to 4pm with Vicki Couzens and January 11, 2019, from 11am to 4pm with Angela George.

More info can be found on-line.


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