Eastside arts hub takes shape

Eastside arts and media hub takes shape at the new Woodward's complex.

Credit: Granville magazine

Woodward’s community arts space comes to life as a vibrant hub for both media and arts on Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside


The first things to hit you when you open the door of W2 in the new Woodward’s complex will be a whirl of people and the smell of espresso. Then you’ll notice the walls, stretching 34 feet up, with huge video art installations over the atrium’s open stairwell.


The W2 Culture + Media House, expected to open just in time for the Olympics, will be home to a collection of arts and media organizations. Its resources and expertise will be available to area residents, students and non-profit groups, and amenities will include a performance venue, a TV studio, a public reading room, multi-purpose community rooms, a digital-media lab, art studios, and creative-technology incubators designed to support developing artists.


During the Games, W2’s True North Media House will be a social-media hub, supporting up to 800 bloggers. And the café, a social-enterprise business with support from Salt Spring Coffee, is expected to be a major draw for artists and non-artists alike.


W2 expects some revenue from the café, and will share some equipment with fellow Woodward’s tenant the SFU School for the Contemporary Arts, thanks to a $1-million grant from Western Economic Diversification Canada. W2 Community Media Arts Society executive director Irwin Oostindie says remaining funding is uncertain, but a bulk of it will come from W2’s many member organizations.


Martin Gotfrit, director of the SFU School for the Contemporary Arts, says the Woodward’s development “will be transformative in the city,” explaining that the cluster of arts venues will provide access to cultural events and opportunities that weren’t available before.



W2 moves its thriving Gastown culture hub into Woodward’s


[Updated: 31 Jan 2011]