Partnership Profile: VMF
Connecting and Brightening Vancouver with Art
Contributing to vibrant communities
As part of QuadReal’s commitment to Being a Responsible Company, we are involved members of the communities where we live, work and invest. Our colleagues across the globe aim to do their part through action, including charitable giving and local engagement. One way our teams give back is by supporting arts and cultural initiatives which connect people, and our ongoing partnership with Vancouver Mural Festival (VMF) spotlights these shared goals. To date, QuadReal’s partnership with VMF encompasses the sponsorship of Blanketing the City IV: Cathedral Square and the VMF Winter Arts.
Blanketing the city IV: Cathedral Square
QuadReal’s relationship with VMF began in 2021 with Blanketing the City, a public art series and Reconciliation process designed by xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) weaver and graphic designer Debra Sparrow (ΘƏLIΧʷƏLʷƏT) in collaboration with VMF. The project arose from the VMF’s conversations with Debra who challenged the team to find more foundational ways to observe cultural protocol and acknowledge the visual culture of the people who have thrived on these lands for thousands of years—and who continue to create and evolve their culture on these territories.
Blanketing the City IV: Cathedral Square, the project in the series supported by QuadReal, sparked the transformation of Cathedral Square Park in downtown Vancouver by blanketing seven park structures with traditional Coast Salish weaving patterns. For this mural, Debra invited master weavers Chief Janice George (Sḵwxwú7mesh) and Angela George (səlilwətaɬ) to collaborate on designs that explore Indigenous visibility in public spaces. It was completed for National Indigenous Peoples Day on June 21, 2021. Today, the park—which is steps away from The Post—displays meaningful public art that enhances the surrounding community in downtown Vancouver.
Photo Credit: VMF Winter Arts
VMF Winter Arts 2022
We are thrilled that the partnership extended to include the opportunity to support VMF Winter Arts 2022, an open-air outdoor gallery experience which featured live entertainment, light displays and augmented reality (AR), an interactive technology that superimposes digital data and elements onto the physical world. Using smartphones, visitors of the AR art installations could interact with the pieces using a specially designed Instagram filter. VMF Winter Arts was first created in 2021 amidst the COVID-19 pandemic to inspire joy and community connection within the downtown Vancouver area. In the event’s second year, our Vancouver-based office leadership team collaborated with VMF to host one of the AR art installations at Park Place, a QuadReal-managed property located downtown.
The outdoor plaza at Park Place was activated by an AR art piece by artist Eliot White-Hill, Kwulasultun. Eliot is a published author and artist from the Snuneymuxw First Nation and works “to tell the stories that have been passed down by our people from generation to generation [and] to walk in both worlds and tell stories that speak to a new generation of Indigenous peoples.” For his contribution to VMF Winter Arts, he created Coast Salish designs for his project, titled Uy Shqweluwun (To Be of Good Mind). The art installation at Park Place reflected a philosophical principle that is core to the teachings of the Coast Salish peoples: to be of good mind. The design represents how knowledge was passed down, as elders would take the children to the beach and sit around in a circle to share ancestral stories.
The impact of art and collaboration in numbers
Blanketing the City IV: Cathedral Square was completed in just four weeks and was the first project of its kind between weavers from the three local nations. The murals were completed with the help and collaboration of over 45 volunteers and eight lead painters, with over ten different colours incorporated into the six columns in the park. The AR art installation at Park Place created by artist Eliot White-Hill, Kwulasultun for VMF Winter Arts 2022 resulted in approximately 4,500 opens of the filter on Instagram, 1,500 people who captured an image of the AR art, and 7,500 impressions from people who interacted with the art on their mobile devices.
At QuadReal, we are proud to work with VMF as they believe in the power of art to connect communities, celebrate diverse cultures and address socio-cultural issues facing our city and artistic communities. We look forward to supporting future events or initiatives as it sparks joy for many and brings life to the communities where we work, live and play. If you are in Vancouver, drop by for a visit to Cathedral Square Park to view the permanent Blanketing the City murals. To learn more about VMF, please visit: www.vanmuralfest.ca.