In eleven hours the cash-poor Vancouver Art Gallery will pitch the Vancouver Board of Trade on a new building at the site of the former bus depot on West Georgia Street. Topic heading: “A Vancouver Masterpiece.”
As much as I would like the gallery to reorganize, create a better situation for the display and dissemination of art and art production, my hope is that they do so as part of a larger conversation -- where the desire for a new gallery is based not on the egotistical posturing of its Chairs and Director but on a civic understanding of what a gallery is and how it might serve the city and its guests. Only when people feel part of something do projects like the VAG’s come to pass.
Will the Board of Trade be open to the VAG’s pitch? A few years ago the owner of the local soccer club put up the cash to build a new stadium at the west end of Gastown. All that was needed was City approval, and the City said no -- the owner wanted to include market housing. In the VAG’s case, they want the opposite -- a stand-alone building. But the City wants a shared site.
Is there a compromise? Yes. The new VAG will have corporate skyboxes.