Vancouver Art Gallery potential move

The question of the Vancouver Art Gallery moving to the Larwill Park site in the block to the east of the Queen Elizabeth Theatre demands a broader discussion with all the stakeholders, including input from citizens of Vancouver which the Vancouver Art Gallery has so ably served under its current Board and Director Kathleen Bartels.

In this post-Olympic period, the City of Vancouver has reached an unprecedented coincidental change in the political, cultural, social, and planning areas of city hall. We must pause for a moment and think carefully of the future. We all talk of “world-class” development in the City of Vancouver. Well, let’s give ourselves the ability to dream as big as we can, and create that audacious cultural infrastructure plan that will make all of us proud and respectful of the wonderful place we live in. We’re almost there. We must not rush to judgment, as we have many times in the past, and squander our unprecedented “internationally renowned city” that we all speak and dream about.

With due respect to my colleagues Michael Audain, one of our leading philanthropists and a pillar patron of the Vancouver Art Gallery, and Kathleen Bartels, who has revitalized the Vancouver Art Gallery and made it a not-to-be-missed stop in Vancouver, other groups have been speculating on that piece of land since the early 90’s, – in fact since the late sixties. I looked at it every morning from my office at the stage door of the Queen Elizabeth Theatre complex. Should it be single purpose, shared, or commercial development? Where is the world-class concert hall and 400 seat theatre that is desperately needed going to be in this mix?

It is pre-mature to speak of any specific building to be constructed anywhere until we have a comprehensive look at what the infrastructure for Vancouver culture should be in the future. Who knows, – we could have a Vancouver equivalent to the iconic Lincoln Centre in New York City.

David Y.H. Lui
David Y.H.Lui Associates
May 3, 2010