While members of British Columbia's arts community have been among the hardest hit by the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, Vancouver's arts and culture scene were nonetheless there to lift locals’ spirits during the darkest days of the pandemic.
Now, one highlight of Vancouver’s annual arts and cultural calendar is returning to shine a spotlight on "the creative resilience" of Vancouver's visual arts community.
But the Eastside Culture Crawl isn't just returning for its 24th year— it's expanding.
The popular arts festival is taking advantage of a collective shift towards online activities to expand its reach across the entire Pacific Northwest, offering attendees "a fully customizable experience" over two consecutive weekends. The Culture Crawl kicks off next month, scheduled to take place Nov. 12–15 and Nov. 19–22. The Eastside-based festival is set to include virtual studio tours, livestream demonstrations and appointment-based studio visits that are sure to inspire.
The Eastside Culture Crawl has long been known to offer "unparalleled access" to Vancouver-based visual artists and a wide range of different art forms. Those include mediums like painting, sculpture, pottery, photography, jewelry, glass art, furniture, to name a few. The Crawl has grown exponentially since it began in1997 with just "a handful of visual artists in three Strathcona area studio buildings." In recent years, the event has boasted more than 500 artists, craftspeople, and designers and has facilitated more than 45,000 studio visits. This year's event is featuring 247 artists, according to the event's website.
That said. the festival's 2020 edition has been "designed to suit the needs and comfort levels of all arts enthusiasts during these extraordinary times," organizers explain in a news release. "Arts patrons will have the opportunity to engage in an innovative, intimate and enriching Culture Crawl this year through enhanced, interactive virtual programming, as well as a new digital appointment scheduler for controlled, in-person engagement at open studios."
Visitors are also invited to take part in a "sneak peek" of Culture Crawl festivities during a Virtual Preview Week set for Nov. 2–9. The preview will feature "a curated selection of artist workshops, demonstrations, and talks, as well as the 7th annual Moving Art exhibition." Arts enthusiasts are also encouraged to use this week to plan out their Culture Crawl experience using the festival's new digital appointment scheduler. The online tool will allow attendees to reserve specific times throughout the festival during which they can pay a visit to their favourite studios and sites.
“Each year, we welcome visitors to explore the richness and vitality of the Eastside Arts District. And while artists have faced unprecedented hardships this year, our mandate for the 24th annual Crawl remains the same—to celebrate the extraordinary talents of our visual artists and inspire a creative connection between artists and the greater community,” said Esther Rausenberg, the Eastside Culture Crawl Society's artistic and executive director, in a release.
“The strength and resilience, the fortitude and passion arts patrons have come to expect each year from the Culture Crawl will be on full display. It promises to be an inspiring, uplifting and unifying experience.”
Crawl-goers are "invited to supplement their Eastside Culture Crawl experience" through several feature presentations and exhibitions scheduled to take place over the Festival's two weekend. This year, those include:
DIS(PLACE)MENT: EXPLORATIONS OF PLACE, PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE
Skwachàys Lodge Gallery
Nov, 7–23 from 10 a.m.– 5 p.m.
This exhibit, curated by Cheyenne (Natoyihkii) McGinnis, highlights the issue of displacement in Indigenous communities while simultaneously inspiring individuals to create their own spaces through sharing culture, self-reflection and community-building.
TAKE FLIGHT VIRTUAL BENEFIT
Oct. 14–Nov. 7
The Crawl’s 4th annual benefit and festival launch, this year’s virtual event features a silent auction, event-tote auction and the return of the wildly popular Art Roulette. More information, auction items and art is currently posted and available for viewing online .
Centred on the theme of “Creative Resilience,” this series of three intimate and entertaining discussions by 2020 Culture Crawl artists is moderated by former journalist and fellow creative Carlyn Yandle. Topics include: “Pivoting in a Pandemic,” “Working through Loss,” and “Traversing Sensitive Territory.”
MOVING ART (online premiere)
Nov. 2. at 7 p.m.
The Culture Crawl’s 7th annual film & video exhibition is titled “Connection in the year of our disconnect.” This showing of evocative contemporary films features 11 artists who have dug deep within their own creative reserves to challenge and embrace our multiplicity of experiences.
Looking for more info? Full details of Eastside Culture Crawl events, artists, talks, and locations can be found on the event's website.