Photo: Henri Robideau, 2019
The Blue Cabin floated into Vancouver’s False Creek in summer 2019. In the fall of 2019, the Blue Cabin Floating Artist Residency launched Skeins: Weaving on the Foreshore, the inaugural program of artist residencies, open houses, talks and workshops. Situated in the unceded lands and waters of the xwməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish) and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations, the Blue Cabin Floating Artist Residency offers a vantage point from which to consider the city differently. International in scope but deeply rooted in the histories and narratives of this place, the Blue Cabin offers a unique opportunity to learn, explore and engage with the foreshore.
The Blue Cabin Floating Artist Residency brings forward a desire and need for alternate modes of living and working, and expands our understanding of what constitutes public space.
Despite Vancouver’s international reputation for producing exceptional artists, inflated real estate prices make it challenging for arts organizations to offer visiting artists spaces for research, experimentation, innovation, and exchange. Artist residencies exist worldwide, and the experiences of those who have been lucky enough to take part are often described as life-changing and transformational. Recognizing this need for such a generative space, the Blue Cabin Floating Artist Residency presents an opportunity that is unique to this region while global in its reach.
The Blue Cabin sat between the low and high tide lines at Cates Park in North Vancouver since 1932 and has resisted ownership for nearly 100 years. It was home to maritime labourers and families – and since the late ‘60s was a place of creative respite and subsistence for Vancouver artists Al Neil and Carole Itter. Representing the last vestiges of a cultural tradition of artists and others living in squatter shacks along the foreshores of this region’s waterways, Al Neil and Carole Itter’s Blue Cabin was one of many structures that dotted the shores of Burrard Inlet. In 2014, the land adjacent to the cabin, McKenzie Barge and Marine Ways Co. Ltd., was sold to Polygon Homes for redevelopment, initiating the remediation of the foreshore and the small cove the Blue Cabin was nestled within. To avoid demolition, the cabin was moved five kilometres west to a secure storage lot, then later to Maplewood Farm in North Vancouver where it underwent a full remediation, completed in February 2018.
Skeins: Weaving on the Foreshore is a celebration of Coast Salish weaving practices that have developed in these territories since time immemorial. As such, it is anchored by the participation of weavers from the three local nations: Debra Sparrow from Musqueam, Janice George and Buddy Joseph of Squamish, and Angela George from Squamish/ Tsleil-Waututh. Skeins also includes a residency with Australian Indigenous artist and activist Vicki Couzens (Gunditjmara) produced in partnership with the Australia Council for the Arts. Rooted in the local, and spanning the international, these artists bring a long history of cultural, ceremonial and community involvement, organizing and reclaiming, aesthetics and activism.
Since 2015, grunt gallery, Other Sights for Artists’ Projects, and Creative Cultural Collaborations have been committed to ensuring the cabin’s legacy continues, and that its use as a floating artist residency will benefit both artists and broader public alike.
Learn more at thebluecabin.ca
For general inquiries please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Skeins: Weaving on the Foreshore has been assisted by Vancouver Foundation, the City of Vancouver Public Art Boost program and the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body.
The Blue Cabin Floating Artist Residency is grateful for the visionary support of Vancouver Foundation, the City of Vancouver, Heritage Canada’s Cultural Spaces Program, British Columbia Arts Council, BC Museums Association Canada 150 Program, BC Collaborative Spaces Program, District of North Vancouver, Wayne Saunders, Fred McMaster and Larry Carrier of Vancouver Pile Driving Ltd., Carole Itter, Marko Simcic of Simcic + Ulrich Architects, Australia Council for the Arts, Canadian Metropolitan Properties Corporation, Maplewood Farm, Polygon Homes, Canexus Corporation, Jane Irwin and Ross Hill, PM-Volunteers, Harold Kalman, Andrew Todd Conservators Ltd, Ian McMurdo, Wayne Poole, Lisa Muri, Clint Low of Bush Bohlman & Partners, Carlo Elholm of Advisian Engineers, Jeremy and Sus Borsos, Germaine Koh Studio Ltd., The Audain Foundation, Lehigh Hanson, Harris Steel, Inform Interiors, Native Shoes, Brent Comber Originals, K. Joseph Spears and Monica Ahlroos of Horseshoe Bay Marine Group, European Touch Hardwoods, Rick Erickson and Donna Partridge, Heritage BC, San Cedar, Robinson Lighting and Bath, Fasteel, Standard Building Supplies, ShapeMeasure, Fine Art Framing, Vancouver Renewable Energy Cooperative, Ames Tile & Stone, Australian High Commission, The Hamber Foundation, Port of Vancouver North Shore Waterfront Liaison Committee and our other generous supporters and donors.
The volunteer team that continues to work to develop the Blue Cabin Floating Artist Residency consists of Glenn Alteen, Program Director of grunt gallery, Barbara Cole, Director of Other Sights for Artists’ Projects, and Esther Rausenberg, Co-artistic Director of Creative Cultural Collaborations.
Join our Blue Cabin Newsletter list here.
Please consider donating to the Blue Cabin project. Your support is important in achieving our mission.