Local artists open studios to guests for annual Eastside Culture Crawl

With more than 425 artists opening up their doors as part of this year's edition of the annual Eastside Culture Crawl, for most festival goers, narrowing down who to carve time out for makes for an overwhelming task.

For North Vancouverites, however, the decision should come easy, as the festival provides a fine opportunity to champion local, homegrown talent. Contemporary landscape artist Tiffany Blaise and painter Thompson Brennan will be leaving their North Van homes for their Vancouver Eastside studios, inviting guests to contemplate, comment on and critique their works.

"I find that one of the things I always look forward to is the amount of feedback that I get from this event," said Blaise, whose whimsical landscape canvases will be on show at her studio on 116 East Pender St. in Vancouver.

"It's really cool to get people coming in and engaging with your work, they have some really interesting observations and cool things to say."

While the sales and new clients derived from the exposure can't hurt, Blaise said the true allure of the event resides in the connection that occurs with fellow creatives, meeting with fans, and getting to know local, emerging artists that she otherwise wouldn't have met.

A mixture of both emerging and established artists from more than 68 buildings and studios will beckon art lovers to the Eastside Arts District region, an area bounded by Columbia Street, 1st Avenue, Victoria Drive, and the Waterfront, from Thursday to Sunday.

Some are new to the scene, while others, like Brennan – a San Francisco-born artist who has lived in North Vancouver for 20 years – have had their works admired the world over.

Having been at his studio, located at 1000 Parker St., for 18 years, Brennan is no stranger to the crawl, yet the novelty of having guests enter his space and respond to his creations isn't one that ever wears off. In fact it is welcomed now more than ever, given the need for a thriving social atmosphere in the current post-COVID climate.

"In the last couple of years it's been a challenge to have interactions with the public, which is a shame because that is why we do what we do," he said.

"It would be a very sad thing, if a painting or a piece of sculpture or an artwork was not being shared with other people. So this is a big deal."

Alongside Brennan and Blaise will be an array of sculptors, furniture makers, painters, weavers, potters, jewellers, printmakers, photographers, and glassblowers, all opening up their personal work spaces so art lovers can understand and appreciate what goes on behind the scenes.

The full list of participating artists, their studio addresses and their works can be found on the Eastside Culture Crawl website.

Mina Kerr-Lazenby is the North Shore News' Indigenous and civic affairs reporter. This reporting beat is made possible by the Local Journalism Initiative.

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Mina Kerr-Lazenby, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, North Shore News