VIVO Seeks Temporary Home + Visionary Partner

VIVO Media Arts Centre received notice last year that it would need to vacate its Main Street location by May 2014. It has spent the year working towards purchasing its own space in Mount Pleasant where it has operated for the past 21 years.

“VIVO has assembled its building team and is exploring creative collaborations. We are extremely excited about the media arts space we are working towards. We’ll need to move to a temporary space while we complete our real estate search, purchase and renovate.” says General Manager Emma Hendrix. “We’re looking for a short term lease for about 4000 – 6000 sq. ft. with a flexible end date.”

Even better, of course, would be finding a benefactor who recognizes the value in supporting Vancouver’s venerable media arts centre.

“VIVO is a non-profit with charitable status. We’re hoping there is a landlord out there – or even a seller – who understands that an investment in VIVO and the artists it serves makes Vancouver a more livable and vibrant city,” says Hendrix.

This makes the third time VIVO has been squeezed out by redevelopment pressures. A Vancouver fixture since 1973 (when it was known as Video Inn) it was originally located in a rooming house on Powell Street near Main. It relocated to Yaletown in the 1980’s where it inhabited two different spaces. Longtime friend of the organization, Rick Erickson, helped out by purchasing 1965 Main Street when VIVO was forced out of Yaletown by rent increases. Now with their building sold and their entire Main Street block readying for redevelopment – a process being repeated throughout the city – Hendrix knows there is only one option.

“We have been fortunate to have a stable home for 20 years, but we know that the only way to guarantee that kind of stability in Vancouver moving forward is to purchase our own building.”

VIVO is approaching its impending move as an opportunity to restructure and grow its supporters.

“We’re grateful to have assisted some of the most exciting and influential artists over the years, including this year’s Governor General Award winner, Jayce Salloum.” (VIVO’s Sharon Bradley nominated Salloum for the honour). “The number of internationally recognized artists who have produced at, developed their skills through, or been distributed and exhibited by VIVO, is significant.”

Examples of local artists include VIVO co-founder Paul Wong (Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts, Bell Canada Award for Video Art), Dana Claxton (VIVA Award from the Doris and Jack Shadboldt Foundation), Margaret Dragu (Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts 2012), and VIVO staff alumni, Sara Diamond, (President, OCAD University and 2012 Order of Ontario inductee).

As a pioneering video art centre, VIVO is justifiably proud of its history. It is equally optimistic about its future as a leader in media art moving forward.

“We are thrilled to be entering this new phase in our 41st year. We are a centre that has endured. We have received overwhelming support from the Mount Pleasant community for our contributions to its artists and residents over the past two decades. Our hope is that there is someone out there who shares our vision of a robust, diverse and vibrant media arts sector in this city and who is excited about partnering with VIVO to make that a reality.”