Burrard Arts Foundation charitable non-profit organization acts as a launchpad for young artists providing opportunities and resources for Vancouver creatives. We got to speak with their gallery manager, Andrea Valentine-Lewis, to find out more.
What problem does it aim to solve?
Burrard Arts Foundation (BAF) is a charitable non-profit organization located in the Mount Pleasant neighbourhood of Vancouver. BAF’s inauguration in 2013 occurred after our founder, Christian Chan, recognized the limited opportunities for young artists in the city. He wanted to create a launch pad or gateway towards greater growth for these artists.
Our programming ultimately centres around our Artist Residency Program, where six emerging artists are hosted at BAF each year. These artists receive 10-12 weeks of on-site studio space, financial support, networking opportunities, and media coverage to help propel their careers forward. These residencies culminate in exhibitions in our gallery, further promoting exposure of their work and potential opportunities.
Our exhibition programming also includes work by those adjacent to visual arts, as the overall intent of BAF is to expand creative circles in Vancouver. We also organize public art opportunities for artists, often in partnership with other organizations (such as Vancouver Art Gallery, Polygon Gallery, or Capture Photography Festival).
When did you start/join it?
I joined BAF in May 2021 as the Gallery Coordinator and was promoted to Gallery Manager in October, a few months later.
What made you want to get involved?
Before joining BAF, I valued the organization as a place in the city that hosts interesting exhibitions by local artists. Having come from a background working in commercial galleries, I was excited to expand my knowledge in the non-profit area within the arts. I was also excited by the opportunity to work closely with artists and understand their processes as they work towards their gallery exhibitions.
What was the situation like when you started?
When I started at BAF, we had three members on the team: our Director/Curator, Kate Bellringer, our Communications Manager, Lucien Durey, and myself. At that time, we were preparing for our alumni artists auction which was in collaboration with Heffel Fine Art Auction House, as well as an architecture exhibition in partnership with the Architecture Foundation of British Columbia, among other projects.
How has it changed since?
I’ve taken the role of Gallery Manager following the beginning of Kate’s maternity leave in October 2021 – our team of three quickly became a team of two. My responsibilities in this role have significantly increased, which has been a wonderful way to learn more about the financial and operational side of a non-profit arts organization. Burrard Arts Foundation also selected its 2022 Artists-In-Residence with the integral assistance of our Emerging Talent Committee, comprised of members representing the local arts, non-profit, and business communities. We look forward to seeing the incredible work that these selected artists will produce in the coming months during their residency at BAF.
What more needs to be done?
Right now, we’re working on two new exciting group exhibitions. One is scheduled to open at the end of June, and the other in November. Though we haven’t announced the exact content of these exhibitions, I can reveal that one will be photography-based and the other will be design-based.
We’re seeking further support to execute these exhibitions. For example, we’re in the process of raising funds to address the framing costs and fair compensation for the artists. We’re also in the process of completing a grant application to cover the cost of some necessary electrical work in the gallery.
How can our readers help?
First and foremost, we welcome visitors to view our exhibitions at the gallery located at 258 East 1 st Avenue on Tuesdays to Saturdays from 12:00 pm to 5:00 pm. We encourage visitors to check our website in advance of their visit to ensure that we have an active exhibition to view.
Our current exhibitions are by artists Karin Jones and Sara Khan, and they are open for viewing until March 19 th , 2022. The next exhibition, featuring the work of Jack Kenna and Sara Gulamali, opens on April 1 st, 2022. In addition, we always welcome donations to support core programs and/or special projects. We consider corporate and individual donors to be our community partners, meaning that we would love to hear how their support can be mutually beneficial.
Do you have any events coming up?
While we couldn’t have a reception for the opening of Karin Jones’ and Sara Khan’s exhibitions due to public health measures, we’re may host a closing reception in March.
Stay tuned for that announcement by following BAF on social media or by regularly checking our website.
In April, our exhibition of Sara Gulamali’s works will be featured in partnership with Capture Photography Festival. That partnership also extends to their Translink program, where I’ve curated the art featured on the windows of the Marine Drive SkyTrain station (also opening in April).
Where can we follow you?
Our website provides a comprehensive overview of current and past projects.
PAY IT FORWARD: What is an awesome local charity that you love?
We love the Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre for the incredible work they do to support women and children in our community. They are currently looking for donations to support their meal program.