Vancouver is an artsy city that’s ripe for exploration, with hundreds of public, private and artist-run galleries available to chin-stroking visitors. The South Granville area is a wanderable strip of private galleries and it’s just a short walk from Granville Island (www.granvilleisland.com), home to dozens of artisan workshops and studio spaces. Granville Island is also the site of Emily Carr University of Art + Design (www.ecuad.ca), which regularly stages free exhibitions of the work of its emerging artists.
The Vancouver Art Gallery (www.vanartgallery.bc.ca) is the city’s leading art space, combining blockbuster visiting exhibitions with shows focusing on regional artists and schools. Photography is a particular specialty among West Coast artists and the VAG showcases local photographers on a regular basis. It also curates a free outdoor art space next to the Shangri-La Hotel, staging challenging contemporary works that add to the city’s streetscape.
In fact, the city is studded with public art, ranging from Douglas Coupland’s Digital Orca outside the new Convention Centre building to the evocative silver boat shed on stilts on the Coal Harbour seawall. For more on the city’s public art program, visit www.vancouver.ca/publicart_net and check out the latest works in the Vancouver Biennale (www.vancouverbiennale.com).
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Hit the city’s Eastside Culture Crawl (www.eastsideculturecrawl.com), a wildly popular three-day November event where local artists open their studios and showcase their works. Interview artists and Vancouverites during the event and include recommendations for “artsy places” to eat and drink along the way.