Want Free Rent in Vancouver? Become an Artist!

The city is looking for creative types for its live-work studio program.

March 15, 2017

By Maansi Pandya

For an artist, Vancouver may very well be the city of dreams. With scenery perfect for painters and sketch artists, dozens of galleries to exhibit your masterpieces and some incredible local talent, it’s really no surprise that Vancouver’s art scene is impressive. But with the high cost of rent, many artists find themselves forced to leave in search of more affordable real estate.

But the City of Vancouver’s Artist Live-Work Studio Awards Program is here to help. The program offers studio spaces to local artists based on artistic talent and financial need with monthly rent for a studio space ranging from no cost to just under $500 a month. And—good news for all those artists out there—the next intake for the program will be in fall 2017 for the 2018 to 2021 studio term. There are seven studios available in total; two are work-only and five allow you to live and work in the space.

Esther Rausenberg, Executive Director of the popular visual arts festival Eastside Culture Crawl, says city-supported studios are an important step in combating the barriers artists in Vancouver face. “Unfortunately, it can be challenging for many artists to make a living with their art, but that doesn’t diminish the value of the artistic contribution they’re making to the city,” she says.

As an artist herself, Rausenberg says the difficulty in Vancouver isn’t just about finding affordable rent but also finding enough space to work in. With studios ranging from 400 square-feet to about 1,200, the Live-Work program addresses this by giving artists ample room to create large-scale pieces. The studios are spread out around Vancouver and many of them are transit accessible. The option of live-in studios also appeals to the work habits of many artists. “I believe that for artists, there isn’t much of a separation between their work and their personal lives,” says Rausenberg, “Artists think about their art constantly so to have opportunities like this where we can live and work at the same time is vital.”

While city-supported studios are a great step in strengthening Vancouver’s vibrant arts community, Rausenberg adds there is definitely room for more. “What we want to do is support Vancouver’s artists. That’s our culture. We’re good at providing places for artists to exhibit their work, but we could do better in terms of addressing where an artist produces their work, and it’s great to see that the city has encouraged studio spaces like this.”

So what exactly qualifies you as an artist? According to the program’s website, an artist is anyone with specialized training in their artistic field, including dance, music, creative writing, painting, drawing, pottery, sculpture, most crafts, video and moving or still photography.

How To Apply:

• Fill out an application form
• Provide proof of Vancouver residency
• Hand in supporting documents demonstrating financial need
• Submit a CV and examples of artistic work

For more information visit vancouver.ca

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