The ever-loving and I were members of the Vancouver Art Gallery (VAG) for many years and we still go to shows that interest us. I consider myself extremely sympathetic to art in general and galleries in particular. However, they are luxuries, especially in a city where we have an excellent gallery already, but where there is a housing crisis and little money to deal with it.
The prime mover of this rant, of course, is because of the plan to spend half a billion dollars — half a BILLION dollars — on a new building for the VAG. If the City, the Province and the Feds can pilfer $500 million from our pockets to build a new gallery, why can’t they do the same to build affordable public housing? But the immediate catalyst is this press release announcing the five architect firms short-listed for the job of designing and building the thing.
Someone wants their name in lights by choosing an international star architect, and Vision wants to decorate our City with a sparkling gem by which we might remember them — and who gives a damn about the poor with nowhere to live?
The City and the Province should refuse to supply any money unless the architect is a local firm and, at the very least, the Feds should withhold their cash from any but a Canadian firm. Anything else would be a disgraceful and unworthy statement about what they (all three levels of government) think of our own talent!