Vancouver arts collectives are helping artists thrive

Artists in the city of Vancouver collaborate to provide much needed support

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By Lauren Accili

This article has been updated to include interviews with Morgan Brayton and Megan Majewski of the Arts Factory Society

Finding work within creative industries is tough, so aspiring artists are banding together to help each other move up in their careers.

Travis Turner, a 2008 film arts graduate of Langara and now an actor and songwriter, co-created an online artist collective on March 1 of this year with musician Mathew Vetten called the Local Creative Collective.

Its purpose is to help connect artists and generate more potential employment. Turner said that it’s important to support artists and help their careers through the collective.

“In this day and age, where it’s very much a gig economy and living in somewhere like Vancouver, you know, the idea is to just help artists get gigs,” Turner said.

The organization says on their Instagram account that they are a “collective of artists helping artists” with new venues and features often posted on the website for creatives who are looking for work opportunities and people to collaborate with.

Reaping the benefits of working collaboratively

The importance of working collaboratively is seen in other groups such as the Arts Factory Society in Vancouver. They support local artists by providing affordable rental spaces.

Morgan Brayton, a former administrator with the Arts Factory Society, said artists need an accessible place to work.

“We provide space and support for artists to have shows,” Brayton said. “Some of them, it’s their first exhibit ever because it’s simply not affordable to do it otherwise, so we support the artists in that way.”

Brayton said that the Arts Factory Society also collaborates with other collectives in the city to put on events in support of artists.

Megan Majewski, a painter and member of the Arts Factory Society, said that they have helped her progress in her work, especially since the increase in Vancouver’s cost of living.

“We’re able to have a pop-up event like that and not be stressed about having to put in all this financial money,” Majewski said. “It’s tough when you’re a full-time artist and you’re working for yourself … I mean you have to be very self-motivated.”

Fresh talent ready to join the Vancouver artist community

With graduation approaching, students in various art departments at Langara will soon be looking for work in their fields.

Jade Ng, a second-year arts student at Langara, majoring in drawing, painting and ceramics, said that she’s looking to find part-time work at art studios after graduating.

“My dream is to open my own art studio,” Ng said.

Ng said she was worried about the availability of a ceramics job in Vancouver, so she branched out to painting and drawing.

Jonas Quastel, Langara film arts department coordinator, said it’s hard for students in the film arts to find high-paying work right out of post-secondary.

“Walking out of the school and automatically becoming an actor that lives off acting is pretty much impossible,” Quastel said. “It takes about 10 years to establish yourself in this industry and many other industries.”

Turner said he hopes to see artists working together with their peers and other people to help themselves progress as creatives.

“Keep motivated, it’s an everyday thing,” Turner said.

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