by Luiza Brenner
VANCOUVER – For the past few years, Vancouverites saw the art scene shift around the city as South Granville, the once one-stop-shop for gallery hopping, met its match: The Flats. Named after the marshland and creeks that were once there, the area east of Main Street, from Industrial Avenue to 7th Avenue, witnessed a proliferation of microbreweries, boutiques, restaurants, and galleries; becoming a cultural, culinary, and entertainment hub for locals and visitors alike.
In 2006, Catriona Jeffries was a pioneer migrating east. In the following years, with the cheaper rent on vacant warehouses and artist live-work spaces nearby, over 15 contemporary art galleries followed: Winsor Gallery, Gallery Jones, Equinox Gallery, Monte Clark Gallery, South Main Gallery, and Macaulay & Co. Fine Art, just to mention a few.
To promote the booming neighbourhood, Jennifer Winsor (Winsor Gallery) started The Flats Block Party in 2013. Now, in its fifth edition, it shows no sign of slowing down: on July 15, from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., the district will play host to crowds of local collectors and art-goers to celebrate the Flats’ success as a cultural cornerstone. Visitors are free to roam through over 10 different exhibitions and openings or to follow the scheduled programming of talks from the city’s prominent creative figures.
With the new Emily Carr University campus on Great Northern Way on the verge of its inauguration, a new generation of artists will be born native to the Flats — and their new home is looking out to be a very prosperous one.
“Our intention is to build a stronger community in The Flats district,” Winsor says. “This year’s Block Party has the largest number of participating galleries, artists, and studios. The Flats is all about promoting, collaborating, and celebrating Vancouver’s emerging art neighborhood as a team. We aspire to ensure the long-term development of our arts community and look forward to adding our new neighbor Emily Carr University this fall.”
The Flats Block Party takes place on July 15 at various locations.The Flats, The Flats Block Party