Steveston’s Imperial Landing will host a two-year floating artist residency program.
The Blue Cabin, which is currently located in Vancouver’s False Creek, is designed to moor at waterfront locations throughout the region. Its current location is slated for redevelopment, so it will need to move by the end of this year.
Council was supportive of the proposal, and Coun. Harold Steves noted at a recent meeting that the area used to have many floating homes although the last was bulldozed in 1972 when Hong Wo Store was knocked down.
“While they weren’t artist residences, Steveston probably had the largest number of floating homes of any place in the Lower Mainland in the heyday of the fishing industry. The waterfront was lined with houses on barges all up and down the channel,” said Steves.
The floating platform houses a restored heritage cabin and a recently built contemporary support space. It acts as a studio for artist-led community activities. The cabin will be used during the day and evening, with no live-aboard.
The first artists to use the space will be Richmond-based artist Keely O’Brien and Musqueam artist Debra Sparrow. Programming will focus on arts and heritage offerings, including potential partnerships with local events like the Richmond Maritime Festival and Steveston Salmon Festival.
Included in a city staff report were letters of support from Tourism Richmond chief executive officer Nancy Small and Richmond Arts Coalition vice chair Paul Dufour.
The relocation of the cabin will cost the city about $5,000, which will be funded from an existing public art capital project. There is no additional cost to the city; operating costs and maintenance will be the responsibility of the organizations operating the space. Existing budgets would cover any expenses for public programming.
Hannah Scott, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Richmond Sentinel