Initially a network of creeks and marshland, The Flats was once a vital industrial centre for the city of Vancouver. Located between Main Street and Clark Drive (just minutes from downtown Vancouver), The Flats has quickly become Vancouver’s hottest arts district and is now home to more than 15 of the city’s most prestigious, experimental and critically acclaimed galleries, as well as various artist-run centres. Adding to the appeal: internationally recognized Emily Carr University of Art + Design announced earlier this year a brand-new campus will be built in the neighborhood, relocating from their former home on Granville Island to The Flats (slated to open in 2016). For a self-guided tour, start at Winsor Gallery and continue in order:
Winsor Gallery (258 E 1st Ave.). Established locally as a premier source for contemporary art, Winsor Gallery primarily exhibits sculpture, photography, painting and multimedia work. The gallery’s artists regularly hold and exhibit work in local, national and international collections and institutions, including the Tate Gallery, Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal and the National Gallery of Canada. Open Tuesdays through Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Catriona Jeffries (274 East 1ST Ave.). Undoubtedly one of Vancouver’s most internationally recognized art dealers; Catriona Jeffries represents some of the biggest local names at galleries and art fairs across the globe. Her 6,500-square-foot eponymous gallery showcases post-conceptual art practices that emerged from Vancouver, and the critical relationships between these practices and international artists. Open Tuesdays through Saturdays, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Monte Clark Gallery (525 Great Northern Way). The 4,800-square-foot Monte Clark Gallery features contemporary photography, painting, video and sculpture. The gallery’s artists hold and exhibit work in collections such as the Museum of Modern Art, Art Gallery of Ontario and National Gallery of Canada, and have also represented Canada at the Venice Biennale. Open Tuesdays through Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Equinox Gallery (525 Great Northern Way). In celebration of its 40th anniversary in 2012, the Equinox Gallery moved to a former industrial building in The Flats consisting of 12,000 square feet of space and 25-foot ceilings. Showcasing contemporary Canadian and international artists, the space allows for larger exhibits and pieces as well as group exhibitions. Open Tuesdays through Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Feeling inspired? Mark your calendars for the East Side Culture Crawl, November 15 to 17. Located in East Vancouver (the area bounded by Main Street and Victoria Drive north of First Avenue), the free visual arts festival encourages the curious to poke their noses into 300-plus studios in some 75 buildings while visiting with the city’s widespread community of artists. This year’s event is expected to draw more than 10,000 attendees, resulting in 500,000 studio visits with artists that include local painters, jewelers, sculptors, photographers, musicians and more.