Vancouver Mural Festival Transforms City Centre Motel into Vancouver’s Newest Creative Community Space

Photo courtesy of Vancouver Mural Festival

VMF has partnered with Nicola Wealth Real Estate and The Narrow Group to reimagine Mount Pleasant’s iconic City Centre Motel into a temporary landmark community space for art and social connection in Vancouver. The project seeks to be a model for arts-driven placemaking and a vision for how underused and transitional space can be reimagined and repurposed for community well-being.

Photo courtesy of Vancouver Mural Festival

Since 2016, VMF—producers of Vancouver Mural Festival—has changed the face of Vancouver with over 300 murals across the city. The City Centre Motel, located at 2111 Main Street, was home to several of the festival’s very first murals during its inaugural year. VMF has now come full circle to transform the former motel into a dynamic space for community connection, with the support of their partners. The City Centre project represents the core of what drives VMF: supporting and showcasing local—particularly underrepresented and marginalized—artists, and placemaking through public art and live experiences.

As the first step in this temporary multi-year project, The Narrow Group has converted the former motel’s 75 rooms into low-cost artist studios, with VMF involved in the application process to ensure priority for underrepresented groups. This artist studio portion of the project is known as City Centre Artist Lodge.

Photo courtesy of Vancouver Mural Festival

Next, VMF has taken over the exterior transformation, with the full building façade and parking lot serving as a giant canvas for its largest mural to-date, covering over 30,000 square feeet. Designed collaboratively by three local artists—Fiona Ackerman, KC Hall, and Joon Lee—the full-wrap mural brings together the artists’ divergent styles and varied backgrounds while taking inspiration from the iconic motel’s original elements. According to the artists, the mural is “a mirror of what the City Centre Artist Lodge aspires to be: artists discovering each others’ working processes, being pushed in unexpected directions, and working alongside each other to shape this city.”

This summer, VMF will bring the creative potential of this project to life with dynamic programming at the transformed Main & 6th Avenue site. “Our programming is designed to create layered interactions between art, people and place to highlight Vancouver’s diverse creative community, while inviting the public to experience a shared sense of belonging through participation, exploration and play.” says Nickolas Collinet, VMF Senior Project Manager. “The project will support low barrier access to a public stage for emerging artists, curators and community partners through a variety of upcoming VMF events.”

Photo courtesy of Vancouver Mural Festival

The City Centre Block Party—June 25-26—marks the opening celebrations with an official unveiling of the City Centre mural and a full weekend of free, all-ages entertainment, including open artist studios (featuring City Centre Artist Lodge tenants), a licensed bar, food trucks, kids activities and more. Saturday’s line-up features feel-good DJs and dance performances curated by Public Disco, while Sunday features a Drag Brunch and afternoon Tea Dance curated by Bye Felicia.

Later this summer, Vancouver Mural Festival returns—August 4-14th—for its seventh year with over 30 new murals in 9 neighbourhoods. City Centre will serve as the festival’s hub with 10 days of free, live entertainment; plus mural tours, talks, and much more to be announced.

“In light of the challenges to social connection highlighted by the pandemic, VMF sees an opportunity to reimagine the ways we gather.” states Andrea Curtis, VMF Executive Director. “Placemaking is the process of shaping public space to strengthen connections between people and places. VMF takes an arts-driven approach to placemaking, working with local creatives and neighbourhood stakeholders to collectively reimagine public space as the heart of our communities. VMF—with the support of Nicola Wealth and The Narrow Group—present City Centre as a model of this approach to repurposing underused and transitional space for community well-being.”

The site at 2111 Main Street is slated for redevelopment and will be temporarily repurposed for the next two-three years until the property can be redeveloped under the pending Broadway Corridor Plan policy.

Tagged: ,

Comments are closed for this post

One Response to Vancouver Mural Festival Transforms City Centre Motel into Vancouver’s Newest Creative Community Space