Art! Vancouver Brings Artwork From 120 Artists Under One Roof  | Westender

Art! Vancouver Brings Artwork From 120 Artists Under One Roof | Westender

Published by Westender – Written by Kelsey Klassen – See original story here

An art fair inspired by the world-renowned Art Basel experience is making its debut in Vancouver this week.
Art! Vancouver, a four-day art buying expo featuring artists and galleries from around the world, will take place at the Vancouver Convention Centre from May 21-24.


Event creator Lisa Wolfin, an artist who has a long history of organizing art shows on the North Shore, says she’s a follower of art shows internationally and in Toronto, and saw an opportunity to bring something similar to Vancouver.


“We have a few crawls, but there’s no big art fairs at all here,” says Wolfin. “There’s five indoor art fairs and a few outdoor shows [in Toronto]. Art Toronto, the Toronto Artist Project… there’s a whole bunch out there.”


When it time to find exhibitors for Art! Vancouver, Wolfin got the word out to local artists and galleries with help from arts-related organizations like Opus, DeSerres, UBC Alumni, the Vancouver Art Gallery. And similar to Art Basel (which holds exhibitions in Basel, Hong Kong and Miami Beach), Art! Vancouver is a curated selection of the artists who applied.


“In Miami and Basel they call it the Olympics of art,” says Wolfin, with enthusiasm. “There’s over 70,000 people applying to those two cities, not including all the other shows.”


For Art! Vancouver, original artwork by more than 120 artists, representing countries like Canada, Italy, Ukraine, the Netherlands and the United States, will be on display, with prices ranging from a few hundred to the tens of thousands. Highlights include Vancouver found-materials sculptor Ron Simmer and 15-year-old Skyler Grey – an LA-based street artist who counts celebrities like Kanye West and Alicia Keys as collectors.


“It will be like going to 85 galleries at once,” says Wolfin with laugh. “Without the intimidation you feel when you walk into a gallery.”


Galleries, however, are a crucial part of the international art fair model. Wolfin admits that it has proven hard to attract galleries to register for an art show in its infancy, but registration by individual artists was high and she is aiming to impress with her first show of this scale.


“The local galleries, most of them are like, ‘Well we want to be in it, but it’s the chicken and the egg syndrome,’” she explains. “They said they’d rather just come now and check it out. But there’s galleries flying in from Winnipeg, Banff, we’re getting emails asking for tours and meetings, so they’re coming to check it out, and next year there should be a lot more.”


Also highlighting the inaugural event will be artwork donated by The Jerry Garcia Foundation, a non-profit honouring the late Grateful Dead artist, as well as art by Garcia’s daughter Keelin and his widow Manasha. Wolfin says funds from the sale of the artwork will be donated to the Sarah McLachlan School of Music in Vancouver.


Art! Vancouver launches with an opening party Thursday, May 21. The event includes an art runway, sponsored by SpierHead Winery, where renowned and emerging artists will walk a runway featuring their work.


• Art! Vancouver runs May 21-24. Tickets for opening night are $25; general admission tickets are $15/$20. Head to for more details.

– See more at:

Leave a Reply