Part 1.5: Frontin’ for the arts

How totally remiss of me! Here I am waxing on about all the major public art displays happening around the city and I didn’t give a single pixel to a display that’s a mere stumble from my front door!

The Western Front is one of Canada’s longest running artist-run arts centres, opened in 1973 by a group of eight artists, and is located in Vancouver’s Mount Pleasant neighbourhood. It distinguished itself early on with a commitment to experimental art practice, a tradition that has continued to its modern iteration.

The Western Front Front – Another False Front. In an architectural intervention, artist Reece Terris has constructed a temporary false front on top of the centre’s already existing false front. This work is in keeping with the idea of architecture as an expression of perceived wealth and culture, and it emphasizes Vancouver’s long-running upswing in the real-estate market and subsequent boom economy.

The false front exhibition was installed specifically for the Games – a provocative statement about appearance vs existence of wealth.

Most importantly it underpins an important point that I only hinted at in the last post. In the context of countless arts organizations and projects having lost some or all of their 2009 and 2010 funding, Vancouver is still funding and promoting special art projects for the Olympics. The question becomes, will Vancouver’s committment to the arts later be revealed as a false front? Or will this support and encouragement of art-for-all be preserved once the IOC and the tourists role back out?

It’s cliched, but only time will tell. Certainly, there could be no better time for Vancouver arts to have a platform for their cries against cancelled funding than when all eyes are on our artful rainforest city.

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