“Vancouver faces a loss of its brightest painters, dancers, designers, makers and performers to greener pastures. There just isn’t much affordable space. It’s an unsustainable bubble at this point, I don’t think anybody can disagree with that.”

Underneath the vibrant, diverse surface of a thriving arts and culture scene, Vancouver faces a loss of its brightest painters, dancers, designers, makers and performers to greener pastures.

As property values skyrocket higher than any other city in the country (second place worldwide), Vancouver’s artists are facing stark choices about their future. Many find day jobs, paint and create in their bedrooms, or gradually drift to the suburbs. But an increasing number are leaving the city in what Red Gate’s founder, Jim Carrico, describes as a “steady migration of artists.” They’re going to Montreal, New York, Los Angeles, Toronto, even Berlin, Germany.
“The shortage isn’t of expensive space!” Carrico says, laughing sardonically as he describes Red Gate’s Kafkaesque quest navigating city permits, applications and bureaucracies, both before their eviction and now in the search for a new home. “There’s lot of expensive space around. There just isn’t much affordable space. . . It’s an unsustainable bubble at this point, I don’t think anybody can disagree with that. When median prices in Vancouver are more than twice as any other city in Canada, and yet median salaries are lower.”

“The majority of corporations said to us, ‘Arts and culture isn’t where we put our money.’ Vancouver is notorious for a wait-and-see attitude. It’s very hard to convince anybody in this city to get involved in something before it happens.”

The fear of a Vancouver becoming a hollow Disneyland of a city is one shared by many artists.
“It’s a great point, I totally agree,” Kate Armstrong reflects. “There’s a way a city can become so expensive that it (becomes) empty.
“This is such a beautiful city, and it’s a huge risk the way real estate is going here. It’s becoming a postcard of itself – so smooth that no one can afford to live in it. It risks becoming increasingly one-dimensional. If we really lost our artists – and we do take them for granted – we would feel it in ways that we can’t begin to describe.”

The loss of Vancouver’s talent to LA, Montreal, New York and Toronto is something that should concern us all, says artist, lawyer and recent independent City Council candidate Sandy Garossino.
“We’re draining the lifeblood out of our city with the disappearance of the artists,” she says. “By the time you’re at a certain point in your life, you can’t afford to live here.
Garossino rattles off the pros and cons of the various art Meccas on the continent which are pulling some of the city’s creatives away: New York City (expensive, but renowned arts scene); Montreal (mind-bogglingly cheap, and a real arts “incubator”); LA (relatively affordable, great community).

– from ‘Vancouver’s arts and culture bleeding out in “steady migration”, warn city creatives’, David Ball, Vancouver Observer, 9 May 2012
[hat-tips to ‘Aldus Huxtable’ and  ‘granite countertop’]

48 responses to ““Vancouver faces a loss of its brightest painters, dancers, designers, makers and performers to greener pastures. There just isn’t much affordable space. It’s an unsustainable bubble at this point, I don’t think anybody can disagree with that.”

  1. Ok so what are we talking about here, really. Affordability for housing isn’t much different than 10 years ago, what may be occurring is a lack of cheap studio space, but the salary and housing issues are the same today as before. Just thought I’d share what I see.

    And there is a lifeblood of artists served through Vancouver’s enviable video game and production industries, both subsidized by the government. The other side is the art produced on the technical side, look at the brilliance and insanity in some of Vancouver’s tech arena: Stirling engines, fusion reactors, quantum computers, fuel cells,to the more banal but equally as beautiful ASICs, fuel control systems, cytotherapy, all stuff places like Manhattan and London can only look at in confusion. All these receive government subsidy, sometimes generous ones.

    Some lateral thinking on what Vancouver is, and uncovering the existing beauty, despite high house prices, is incumbent upon its citizens. Lowering house costs for artists won’t get Vancouverites out much more. But… Look at incomes and PDI to get the real problem with a community often dependent on patronage for its income. Vancouver, when it comes to investing in its community, has painted itself into a corner. Radical problems, radical solutions.

    • “Some lateral thinking on what Vancouver is, and uncovering the existing beauty, despite high house prices, is incumbent upon its citizens.”

      Excellent point, jesse. Life goes on regardless, it’s up to us to make it as good as possible, using that which is genuinely available to us.
      As you know we have been preparing a post in this spirit, called “What’s REALLY good about Vancouver?”. Not easy, as it’s sure to be imperfect.
      Will use this as an opportunity to poll weekend readers:
      What aspects of Vancouver do you find REALLY good?
      Real qualities/stuff given priority.

      • “What aspects of Vancouver do you find REALLY good?”…

        Evidently, if the following G&M article is to be believed, YVR is a great place to “make money”… but only if you don’t live here. Which brings us to today’s Quote ‘O TheDay!…

        “In Canada, you have a good standard of living, but you can’t make big money.” – Emily Gao

        [Globe&Mail] – Why some Chinese immigrants feel they can’t make money in Canada

        …”29-year-old Ms. Gao, who has a finance degree from the University of Toronto and owns a home in Richmond Hill, Ont., but is back in Shanghai, where she and her new husband have both found well-paid jobs. Ms. Gao’s decision to move back home highlights the new realities Canada faces in attracting skilled immigrants. Ironically, she now works to match Chinese buyers with property in Canada, and staffed a booth at this month’s Shanghai World Real Estate Expo where Vancouver-based realtor Westbank Corp. offered everything from condominiums in Vancouver to luxury apartments in Toronto and farmland in Quebec.”…


      • Nem ->
        Wow. Layer upon layer of irony in that story.
        Post-modern; Matryoshka doll.

      • Froogle Scott

        I’m looking forward to your post, vreaa.

        Things I like about Vancouver, many of them variations on themes others have already expressed:

        • The splendour and diversity of the natural environment, and the way it interpenetrates the city.
        • The size of the North Shore mountains and their proximity to the city. It’s a dramatic panorama that I haven’t become tired of looking at. When I’m in other cities I sometimes get the sense of a ‘lack’ in their surroundings. I’m looking for something that isn’t there.
        • The ocean. Sight, smells, sounds. I’ve lived about a third of my life in the interior of the continent — Ottawa, Toronto, Chicago — and at some level I don’t like being away from the ocean.
        • The intensity of the vegetation, the size and lushness of the trees.
        • The freshness of the air (less so as you travel farther up the Fraser Valley), and the abundance and cleanliness of the water. The cleanliness of the city in general, although I do appreciate the ‘character’ that grit and grime can add to a city.
        • The sense of being at the edge of things, the raggedness/ruggedness of mountains and coast. The ability to step from the urban environment into true wilderness.
        • The differentness of the place from the more buttoned-down version of Canada (thinking primarily of Ontario here).
        • The overlays of different cultures: Aboriginal, British, Chinese, Italian, Portuguese, South Asian, Eastern European, Scandinavian, and now with rest-of-world accents. Certain low-profile collisions that wouldn’t happen otherwise, like the 1950s Chinese-run diners serving “Chinese and Canadian Food” (sadly, a disappearing breed). Chop suey, chow mein, and cheeseburgers. Did anyone else frequent the old Varsity Grill at the top of the hill on West 10th, when it was run by Bing and Wing? (Nostalgia, I know, but I loved that place.)
        • The tawdriness of the PNE, Hastings Racecourse, and the Pacific Coliseum.
        • The relative tolerance. For the most part, we get along. And there aren’t any ghettos or no-go districts — depending on how you define ‘no-go’. Wherever I am, I try to question that designation as much as possible. And yes, I’m including the Downtown Eastside. I’ve walked all over the DTES for years and I don’t consider it any more dangerous than any other part of town. In fact, because of the number of people on the street, it’s probably less dangerous, and if something did happen, people would probably go out of their way to help you.
        • The quirkiness of a significant number of the residents (diminishing, perhaps, in a gentrifying core).
        • The variety and deliciousness of much of the Asian food, the excellence of some of the high-end restaurants (not that we can afford them very often).
        • The walkability/rideability of the core city. The quality of transit in the core city (which many people bitch and moan about, but compare it to transit in similar-sized American cities where car ownership is almost a matter of survival). Yes, transit in the suburbs is much spottier.
        • The rough-and-tumble nature of the old port city/resource town, which still peeks through. The sometimes strange and surreal East Hastings strip. The open drug market that flourished literally kitty corner from the Vancouver Police headquarters. How bizarre. (It’s the juxtaposition I liked, not necessarily the drug market itself.) We’ll have lost something when it’s finally all gentrified. Just ask Fred Herzog. He’s described the West Side of Vancouver, where he lives, as having the perfect boringness of an immaculate German town.
        • The mild winters, the grey/mist/fog/cool, the rain (but not in unbroken, mood-altering stretches of weeks at a time). We have friends in Texas who flee to Port Townsend in Washington State every year to escape the oppressive sun and heat. They’d gladly trade their weather for ours.
        • The still-evolving nature of the city. It’s lack of establishment.

        However… much of this is threatened by the huge run-up in real estate prices, the increasing economic stratification of the city associated with the run-up, and the ongoing sprawl outside the core. I’m ambivalent about the ways in which Vancouver has changed, and is continuing to change, and I’m uncertain whether the future city is one that I’m going to like as much.

      • Froogle ->
        Many thanks; I like much of what you have offered in that comment; what Vancouver ‘is’ rather than what some yearn for it to be. That’s the real point of the exercise. Celebrate that which is available.

        A post with that title is a daunting task; one that is easy to shy away from, for fear of its imperfections.
        I’ll pop it up, regardless, probably on Monday morning, and we can all discuss.

      • froogle,
        You had me at Vancouver.
        So eloquent and honest – written by someone who knows what love is and has Vancouver in their heart.
        Thanks for the beautiful reminder of why we call this place our home. I’ve saved a copy of this message (no future plagiarism planned).

      • “like the 1950s Chinese-run diners serving “Chinese and Canadian Food” (sadly, a disappearing breed)”

        We lost a good one two years ago in New Westminster called Royal City Diner. Fantastic greasy spoon with the usual no frills decor – but with Canadian Chinese food (egg rolls, mushoom chow mein, chicken balls, egg foo yong). If you know of another please let me know…I’ve been looking for a replacement since it closed.

      • Froogle Scott

        formula1, thanks for your reply. I’m sorry to hear about the Royal City Cafe closing. My wife and I stumbled upon it a couple of years ago, and it’s exactly the kind of place I’m referring to. We loved the old-time ambiance of the place, and the mix of clientele. We were planning a return trip at some point, so I guess it’s another reminder to get to these sorts of places while you can.

        There’s a little place on Renfrew St. at 1st Ave, in East Van, called Sugar Shack Cafe. I’ve never been in, so I can’t comment on the quality of the food. But it has the unreconstructed 50s decor, and the chow-mein-and-cheeseburgers repertoire.

      • Froogle Scott, this is a good summary of Vancouver’s strengths. But with the exception of a couple of points re: international character, this description could fit any number of coastal communities where real estate isn’t absurdly overpriced.

      • Froogle Scott

        El Ninja, I agree that many of the things Vancouver has to offer are also available elsewhere up and down the West Coast, and often at much lower cost.

        A couple of points: I think vreaa is planning to post about the positive aspects of Vancouver, irrespective of the price of real estate. As something of a counterbalance to the Vancouver bashing that goes on, which often has a sour grapes feel to it. Would people be slamming the place they live (or have left) if they could get a nice SFH in the city for $200K? Being able to buy a house at an affordable price is pretty bound up with the overall experience of a place, but the two are separate. There are many people who enjoy the Lower Mainland, and rent. Just as there are in other cities with expensive real estate around the world.

        The one thing I’d say about the Vancouver positives I listed is that they all exist simultaneously. Seattle, Portland, and San Francisco may have many of the same attractions, and others that Vancouver doesn’t have, but not the dramatic backdrop of mountains so close to the city (or the universal healthcare). Communities on the Sunshine Coast and Vancouver Island may have the fresh air and clean water and ocean views, but not the diversity and quality of restaurants. And so on. I think what we’re ultimately talking about when we talk about the pros and cons of any particular place, is the total package. And of course, the specifics of that package will differ for each person. I don’t ski, I don’t sail, and I don’t generally lie around on beaches, which are why those things aren’t on my list in any specific way. But someone else may have those listed very high on their own list.

    • Aldus Huxtable

      Video game and production industries in this city have taken gargantuan hits in the past number of years. Gaming houses have completely shut up shop, post production facilities are going bankrupt, there have been a few auctions recently. There are a number of issues driving productions away, cost of doing business is one of them. That and think about having to house talent for an entire run of shooting.

      • The ‘business case’ for HollyWoodNorth’s ‘Gulag Archipelago’ was always predicated on generous tax treatment combined with outright subsidies, weak local CraftGuilds (comparatively as vs. Cali’s) and… most importantly, a substantially less ‘robust’ MapleDollero, AH. Absent those, NewMexico et al are the current destinations of choice/FlavourDuJour…

        Which is a terrible pity, viz. missed comedic opportunities to vicariously relish the ‘FishOutOfWater’ antics of HollyWood A-Listers adrift in the GreatWhiteNorth… e.g. – the last time the Gubernator worked our ‘burg… his TalentTrailor ‘shenanigans’ (hint: turn off your wireless mic before holding a ‘casting session’) and otherwise boorish behaviour on set had IATSE commission a rather special ProductionSouvenir T-Shirt (which same hilariously quoted the Gubernator’s spontaneous ‘in flagrante delicto’ dialogue… A deliciously ribald one liner – which, regrettably, decorum precludes sharing here)…

      • not to mention, standard operating practice for game dev studios is to fire almost all the staff after finishing a game (or having them contract) and then hiring months later for the next game. not exactly a stable work environment.

      • Anonymouse

        Aldus, more and more production studios have moved to Vancouver, and they’re all the top international players. The industry is booming right now.

    • I know a lot of the people leaving: both connected to artists in gaming houses (who are staying) and artists of a variety of sorts in film, theatre, etc. (who are leaving.)

      I would really like to see numbers about how “Hollywood North” has been affected by high housing prices/high dollar. I think a dollar related industry slowdown plus high housing prices does mean we’re losing that industry – or at least mid-career professionals in that industry – to places where you can work in props or do voice work and live in something other than a basement suite. Less work around is part of that, but since it’s *always* feast or famine, a lower “monthly nut” is a pretty important consideration.

  2. Or switch it around, the city attracts/inspires hollowness and that’s what makes it expensive, as the inhabitants pursue shallow material status and easy ways to get rich.

    ‘Arts and culture isn’t where we put our money.’

    But perhaps they should, if things get too unstable then Bread & Circus might be a valid policy.

  3. ““When organizations are under-resourced or underfunded, and operating in a very, very expensive environment, they certainly don’t have capacity to be competitive in attracting and keeping the best talent. It’s certainly not just the visual arts – all of the arts have to cope with the tremendously high costs.””

    “Very, very expensive”. Really? I would like to see some cost of living and operations comparisons between New York, LA, Montreal, and Vancouver. Maybe I’m not getting the issue, other than Vancouver is expensive and a relatively small city (only just over 2MM people remember) so should be cheaper. But not very very expensive, unless an artist can only feel inspired in Vancouver in a relatively small subset of areas that happen to be popular. I know commercial landlords in Richmond who are renting out what could be studio space for fractions the cost of stuff in Vancouver. I see very little in the way of artistic activity in Richmond. There is, though, a lot of tech.

    As for “keeping the best talent”, well I find the parallels with tech — and marketing and finance — equally valid, once again. Vancouver has always been a niche player in tech, I know of good tech people who have left Vancouver to pursue more ambitious and technically satisfying challenges elsewhere; Vancouver simply is not big enough to accommodate the infrastructure surrounding high R&D investments like Boston or California. It has been no surprise for decades that this is the way Vancouver is, and will likely continue to be, simply because of its size. Talking to those educated in finance I hear the same things, and it’s unsurprising relatively few can find rewarding work in Vancouver and end up moving to Asia, Europe, or eastward in Canada or the US. It’s nothing personal and not necessarily a failure of Vancouver.

    These articles get to me, if only because I’ve heard them before in past years and decades. The “brain drain”, in my view, is a product of the city’s relative size and as a corollary lower incomes of its residents. If Vancouver wants to change its arts, tech, and business scene to where it can “maintain top talent” I wonder how practical it is, even if property prices were to fall back to earth and stay there for a prolonged period.

    • Possible function of over-reaching.
      Trying to go from step ‘B’ to step ‘G’ in one leap?
      Have we done the necessary ‘footwork’? (or, rather, let the necessary foundations develop naturally).

      Associate back to Robson street landlord thinking:
      “We’re world class, therefore we should command ‘x’ rents”
      rather than
      “What rents are sustainable given the activity in our city?”

    • “I would like to see some cost of living and operations comparisons between New York, LA, Montreal, and Vancouver. Maybe I’m not getting the issue, other than Vancouver is expensive and a relatively small city (only just over 2MM people remember) so should be cheaper.”

      This is it. Vancouver, at these prices, doesn’t provide an equivalent value. There is so much more opportunity in NY or LA that it warrants higher cost and more risk taking. Vancouver just isn’t worth the trouble for certain people.

      • Btw, we are comparing Vancouver to cities that are many leagues higher than Vancouver (again).

    • New York headed friends have had a much better standard of living on salaries there for equivalent positions; so I think there IS a problem here for standard of living – but some of that is definitely collegiate, opportunity, networking.

      There is value to being beside others doing the same thing: you can’t, I don’t think, look at artist space in Richmond and artist space on Commercial Drive and have equivalent utility based on square footage. Similarly, a studio in Vancouver is not a studio in Manhattan. Location matters for arts as much as everything else, because collaborations that cost nothing can end up producing a good deal of value.

      I think the problem is that if we’re a small pond, we’ve big pond costs. We will probably always have our biggest fish leave for bigger ponds. The problem is when the small-to-midsize fish – perfect for our economic ecosystem – leave because we’re dealing with big pond prices.

      • Perhaps that’s true Absinthe. I haven’t seen any data to suggest it’s happening more now than before. A demographic shift has occurred such that the 20-35 cohort is percolating up the age curve. We might expect a larger exodus as those trained in arts and sciences consider their options simply because there are more in that age group.

        I don’t know how many here remember the “brain drain” articles from the late 1990s where all the “best and the brightest” headed to the US for greener pastures, in part due the low Canadian dollar and a booming jobs market, most notably for technology-focused jobs. Now I hear it but it’s nowhere near as prominent in the news as it was.

        Of course the data support the supposition that people are leaving Vancouver. There is a net negative interprovincial migration and it is almost assuredly in part due to high house prices.

        We can discuss “big” and “small” fish syndrome as well. I have worked with those in Vancouver that are as good as any from the major centres of my industry. They stay for family and lifestyle reasons and money isn’t an object. They have found what they need in Vancouver, it just happens not to be the marquee jobs that make the news. The sacrifice is lower pay.

        I’m not familiar with arts in Manhattan but I had thought the same constraints apply and studios pop up away from the more expensive areas. I don’t know studio operation constraints enough to comment, only I’m confident Manhattan has the same problems.

      • It’s quite possible it’s just happening more to my cohort than it used to as we reach middle age. The attrition’s been rough, and is my least favorite thing.

    • granite countertop

      About the cost of living in Vancouver, my impression is that the numbers don’t do justice to the low quality of the rental stock. Renting an equivalently sized unit in Toronto might cost the same, or a bit more, but the Vancouver unit will be marginal in one way or another: Poorly maintained, in a bad neighbourhood, require extra hurdles to acquire (connections, waitlist), held by an amateur landlord who could sell at any time.
      This kind of marginal living space is where young aspiring artists live in other cities. In Vancouver, people with steady jobs end up there because that’s what’s available to rent.
      The rental experience in Vancouver is shitty, I haven’t had enough experience renting in other cities to properly compare.

      • I’m a lifelong renter – my mom was a single parent student, and we rented in four cities in Ontario. My family now is doing very well compared to my childhood. Heck, two incomes! And the choices are not as good. Have a pet, children, want 3 bedrooms? Ugh. Yuck. We’re really lucky where we are, but I hate the feeling that if something happened (like a landlord selling), we’d be screwed.

      • This accords with my research into/experience with rentals here, with the exception of professionally well-managed, long-established rental high-rises.

  4. I came to and stay in Vancouver for one simple reason, it snows less here than in any other major city (Victoria notwithstanding) in Canada. I grew up in Toronto, I lived in Montreal and Calgary for awhile, and if it wasn’t for the snow I would be living in Toronot or Montreal now. They are more affordable and have more opportunities for both work and leisure. (caveat that I’m not a skier or mountain climber). If I could easily work in Southern California, I’d be there in a heartbeat. I don’t know how many people cite “I hate snow but I love Canada” as a reason for paying the immense premium to live here, but in a nutshell, that’s my story.

    • And I think it sums up the stories of many who have settled her from other parts of Canada.
      More accurately “I hate snow but I need to stay in Canada”, perhaps? (given your bit about California and the heartbeat)

      • Fair enough, I probably shouldn’t claim to love Canada right after declaring my desire to leave it for a warmer place. Part of the reason I don’t work harder to get to California is that I do prefer Canada to the US politically and culturally. But remove the barriers to employment and I’d quickly jump ship. So yes, hate snow, need to stay in Canada.

    • Bears repeating that live is not the same as own. All else equal landlords should care little about whether or not it snows, only that they get a decent ROI. Right now, FWIW, places with less snow than Vancouver gets are better buys from a yield perspective.

  5. I have worked out of pretty low cost studio space but after paying that plus materials costs and then galleries take 40 or 50% in commission, my earnings per piece are quite small. A few factors I think: people in this city don’t want to invest in art because they prefer hegemony – they want what their friends have so they all buy their art at Urban Barn or Ikea (the sheep effect) or don’t have the extra cash flow to invest (misallocation of resources due to re bubble + low wages) and/or devalue art generally (something you do in retirement, anyone can do, artists should get a real job, etc…) Many artists work at their practice insane hours and study for years at good universities or with fine art masters around the globe but many people don’t see that, or the important contributions the arts have made to societies and communities through history. Vancouver is a very shallow town and I don’t see this changing anytime soon.

    • I am hoping that Vancouver hasn’t self-selected for being full of philistines because if it has it is that more difficult to right the ship.

    • Art isn’t an investment. It’s a gamble that somebody might care enough about the artist in the future to pay you more than it cost you.

      • Like RE, a piece of Art can be seen to have:
        1. Fundamental value (its value to you as an object, to observe, to touch, to cherish, to ponder, to discuss)
        2. A Speculative component to its value (the hope that at some point in future someone may want to pay you more for it than you paid for it).

        Wise individuals buy art solely for component (1) above.
        Even wiser folks make their own, and swap with friends for other pieces.
        People involved in the (2) market may as well be buying and selling derivatives. They are easier to transport home in your car. Granted, some pricey speculative art pieces are also nice to look at, but it’d be hard to get past their spec value when you try to enjoy them on your kitchen wall. In all markets, spec component f%3ks things up.

      • There’s a Seinfeld episode where George buys a painting from a guy who then becomes terminally ill. George thinks he’s going to make a fortune only to have Elaine nurse the guy back to health. Or something like that.

        Art’s an investment if it inspires greatness.

  6. Who cares about losing a bunch of god damn hippies. What about the fact that doctors cant afford to live in Vancouver on their salaries. That should shock people, not this…

    • That is also a concern, and yes, it has shocked people:

      “Recruitment to Vancouver for skilled health professionals is nearly impossible. I’m leaving, too.”

      “Ryan and Laura Cain wanted three children. Despite having great jobs, the surgeon and physiotherapist say they couldn’t afford to stay in Vancouver.”

      Professional couple; Lived in Vancouver for 4 years; Moved to Calgary to better jobs; “It was ridiculous in Vancouver; we didn’t want to pay the bubble price to buy a tiny shaky box there.”

      “The idea of a highly paid surgeon leaving because he can’t afford to live in Vancouver is absurd.” [“No, it isn’t.”]

      Doctors Leaving Vancouver – “My friend, a surgeon at Children’s Hospital, said he couldn’t have the life he wanted in Vancouver because of the insane real estate prices here.”

      etc, etc.

    • Well I can’t speak for all healthcare professionals, but I can assure you that physicians can live a very nice life in Vancouver. Even as (gasp) renters (or maybe because of…). 🙂

  7. Not Guggenheim

    What is up with Globe and Mail’s articles with the ‘it’s time for us to lead’?

  8. I’m not buying into this crap. You can say this about artists anywhere. You mean artists are leaving here to go live in NY? Name the seven artists this is happening to. How did they get into the US? What visa grants them rights to work there? How can an apartment in Manhattan, where one skyscraper crowds out the light from other skyscrapers work for artists at cheaper rental rates than moving to say, New West or Langley?

    The other starving artists are leaving for LA, right? They’ll be spending a crapload on cars. Please. Artists in the US flee to dumps when costs run high. They don’t go to NY or LA. TO isn’t cheaper. You know where artists go? Detroit. It’s cheap. So is Abbotsford. I suspect there isn’t a great art scene in Vancouver anyway. Mostly because of the dreary non-existence of corporations here to become corporate sponsors and their mind-numbing short-sightedness. But this is just another I can’t afford it here article. Which I don’t mind. But call it what it is. People who don’t want dreary jobs that pay can’t afford to live here. Duh! No kidding.

    But we were never exactly on the road to becoming an interesting hot spot for fine or modern art. There’s nothing here. No one even goes out to see shows if the weather’s nice. The fault lies with everyone. Then, after that, you can blame the RE prices. But put the blame where it belongs, the Rennie and Good vision to turn this place into a Resort Town for China. These newcomers aren’t exactly going to go to the culture crawl off the drive and rave about the paintings.

    • As someone with a number friends over the border and three in New York, it’s doesn’t appear that hard to get a visa if you’ve an employer sponsoring you. You’re probably right that people flee to Detroit (or New West!) if you’re just trying to find a cheap space to put paint on a canvas based on your own artistic vision, but there are a number of artistic fields where you can actually be hired – design, computer graphics, theatre, dance, illustration, etc. etc. – and artist visas are not so bad, because really, you aren’t taking away an American job if you’re the only person who is you. Anyway, I only know one traditional fine artist who doesn’t need a day job, and that’s just for right now, because of big commissions. That artist does have cheap studio space in a low cost area.

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