What a party.
As a newbie to the city of Vancouver, I had been frantically trying to find ways to get involved in the city’s art community. Coming from spending four years in an east coast university town (or village) of 5,000 residents where there were so few galleries, I initially had a difficult time finding my footing. I was quick to realize, however, that the arts community was going to be easier to navigate than I had initially thought. After spending a couple of months volunteering at an artist collective, I caught word of The Cheaper Show.
The show was held in the W2 Storyeum on Cordova Street, on June 26th. The space was huge, doubled from last year, when the turnout resulted in lineups that lasted all day. I spent some time before the show helping to clean up and prepare the space for what was to be Vancouver’s hottest art event of the year.
The 200 talented and predominantly Canadian artists that had been selected had their art exhibited salon-style throughout two large spaces in the Storyeum. The show exhibited a wide variety of medium including prints, drawings, paintings, sculpture, photography, collage, and video instillation. Each artist who attended wore a “Cheaper Artist” pin in order to be identified and questioned about their work. It was fantastic exposure for them, and the event garnered a great deal of media attention – Jack Black and Michael J. Fox even made appearances. The mayor attended the VIP event two nights before, declaring June 26th official “Cheaper Show Day”.
The night of the show drew in a large crowd as expected, and a fairly young crowd. The fact that a young crowd is able to attend an art show with the realistic expectation purchase of purchasing art, I believe speaks volumes about The Cheaper Show. The point of the show is to make original art accessible to a larger audience, which it most definitely achieved with a $200 price tag. While some of my regulars at the beer tub appeared to be present for the cheap booze and the three after parties, the course of the night saw a lot of great art sold.
It’s remarkable when you consider that for the six hours The Cheaper Show lasted, thousands of volunteer hours had been put in over the course of the year. At the end of the night as we wade through the detritus left behind, the volunteer team couldn’t help but ask each other “is it actually over?”
Vancouver, watch out for Cheaper Show No.10, sure to be even bigger, better, and more off the hook than this year’s event!