Eastside Culture Crawl

“Shhhhhh! There’s art in here!” was one woman's reaction upon entering a gallery in Vancouver’s twelfth Eastside Cultural Crawl. Fortunately the crawl for me was a lively, open event where visual artists spanning between Main St and Commercial Drive emerged opening their studio doors and homes showcasing their work and ideas to the public.

Hoping to visit every studio and view every artwork in one day, I jumped on my bike and took a random route, following a treasure hunt of yellow balloons and sandwich boards that marked out the participating venues. Unfortunately, my optimism in this challenge was thwarted and I barely made it around half the events. The work I did see however was heavily inspired by Vancouver, photography, painting, drawing and textiles being popular mediums chosen by artists to communicate their vision of the city.

The crawl embodied artists of the self taught variety to art school graduates and professional full-timers. It was a fantastic opportunity for artists to make some money, however I would liked to have seen a little more of an experimental flavour incorporating space, installation and outdoor work. If anything however, the crawl was a great networking and social event which is key for visual artists who struggle to showcase work which may not fit into current trends.

After a delicious lunch of pirogues and bread at the Ukrainian Cultural Centre on East Pender, I began to relax and enjoy my bike ride a little more, settling into the social buzz of the crawl rather than trying to keep up with my frenzied mission. Riding through streets I wouldn’t normally go down, stomping down the wooden steps of a home / living room gallery space, I felt a much greater sense of community and awareness of Vancouver’s abundant visual network.