An art gallery that served as a lynchpin for Vancouver’s downtown revitalization will close at the end of May.
North Bank Artists is a co-op gallery on the city’s Main Street. Since its founding in 2003, other galleries and cultural institutions have joined North Bank’s surrounding blocks. The gallery’s board helped start the city art walk and create the Vancouver Arts District.
Board member Maureen Montague, who has shown her own work there, says the market just caught up with them.
“We were the beneficiaries of very, very affordable rent for 12 years,” Montague says. “We had an excellent landlord that understood the value of what we were doing. But as downtown Vancouver is doing better economically, it’s becoming more desirable. The building was sold to a different company — which is fine, it happens — but the rent went up considerably. It just didn’t pencil out anymore.”
The board spent two years of intensive fundraising and grant writing to explore other spaces but concluded that the current location was too expensive and that other possible locations did not have the mix of restaurants and other creative businesses that made the Main Street location work.
The final show, featuring many artists who’ve shown at North Bank over the years, will open May 5.