The Arts Hour Idea

Creating Excitement for the Arts in Vancouver

Presentation to the
Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association
April 22, 2004

Our Interests

The Arts and Culture Committee of the Downtown Vancouver Association is interested in supporting and pursuing ideas and enterprises that contribute to our common interests in creating a stronger and more vibrant arts and culture community. Our common interests are to

• Present Vancouver internationally as a centre for arts and culture
• Showcase the arts and culture of our community and the artists who create and produce their works
• Encourage more people to actively engage in and experience a wider range of arts and cultural activities
• Establish the downtown core as the region’s cultural centre by creating more events and activities that will animate the downtown and make it a more interesting and attractive place to go and be
• Build more bridges and collaborative activities between the arts community and other businesses

The Idea

Creating the Arts Experience Hour on weekdays at the end of the normal business day is an idea that could contribute positively to our common interests.

The ArtsHour could

• Offer artists and arts presenters additional and new venues and opportunities during the 5:00 to 7:00 pm window.
• Provide arts experiences in more informal, convenient, unusual and low risk circumstances
• Encourage people to explore new arts experiences in different environments when it is easy to do, when they are in the mood for relaxing alone or with friends, and when they are more open to spontaneous, unplanned activity.
• Encourage people to stay downtown where they work to extend their daily activities into the evening by offering activities that bridge the time between the end of the workday and evening events and activities
• Encourage people to experience new dining, shopping and nightlife activities offered by downtown businesses before or after their evening out at arts and cultural events
• Provide people who have venues and other experiences to offer with opportunities to collaborate with members of the arts community to create and package ArtsHour events and experiences
• Offer galleries, book stores, music stores and other arts related businesses, restaurants and bars, and other retailers and businesses an opportunity to increase awareness and attract new patrons to their enterprises while demonstrating their active interest in the quality of life in our community.
• Increase collaboration between the arts community and members of the business community in our common interests.

How could it operate?

• Interested artists and arts presenters and interested businesses with venues could identify themselves and their willingness to participate around their shared interests.
• Each genre of arts experience could have its own producer to facilitate arrangements between arts presenters and interested businesses. They could collaborate to create and package events and tailor arrangements to work fairly, successfully and in the interests of both parties.
• Business presenters could provide a venue and host single events, or a series of events.
• People’s interest and curiosity could be stimulated by combining arts activities in unusual venues: musical performance in an art gallery; theatrical event in a retail store; dance exhibition in a hotel lobby; performance art in a mall.
• Genres could change the way we normally think about and package arts experiences to create a different way of seeing, approaching and experiencing the arts. For example, experiences could be packaged as:

  • The arts of ethnic cultures, sexual cultures, youth cultures, aboriginal cultures or other cultures or cultural influences;
  • The world of new music;
  • Innovative performance art;
  • Arts experiences that explore and provide insights around social issues;
  • Events that offer participatory and active exploration experiences;
  • Experiences that provide opportunities for people to explore their own creativity.

• Businesses in the downtown core could be encouraged to promote the ArtsHour to their employees and customers.
• ArtsHour marketing and communications could be provided by a professional firm engaged by the ArtsHour producers. Costs could be covered by one or more corporate partners that have an interest in demonstrating their support for the arts. Most of the communication activity could be conducted through participating businesses to their employees and customers and electronically over the Internet through existing sources.
• Community interest organizations, like the Alliance for Arts and Culture, the DVA, the DVBIA, the YBIA, other business improvement associations, the Board of Trade, Tourism Vancouver, the Vancouver Professional Theatre Alliance, the Coastal Jazz and Blues Society, The Scotia Dance Centre and others could collaborate around the idea, each providing a representative to participate in an Advisory Group.
• One of these participating organizations could provide the administrative and support services required and act as the custodian of the ArtsHour on behalf of the common interests of the participants. An Executive Director could be engaged to direct the project and act as the custodian of the individual and common interests of everyone engaged in or served by the ArtsHour.

Stimulating and Sustaining Interest

Interest in the Arts Experience Hour could be stimulated and sustained by:

• Creating and changing themes for the ArtsHour by the week or month, throughout the year.
• Collaborating with and around annual festivals to stimulate more interest and participation in both events
• Collaborating around special events or the launch of new events such as the Vancouver Arts Awards and the Waterfront Festival
• Promoting the ArtsHour among social and community groups who get together regularly as an experience to share together
• Engaging the CBC, Bravo or other broadcasters to create a weekly feature on ArtsHour events
• Encouraging people to create ArtsHour clubs similar to book clubs to enjoy a social and conversational experience around the exploration of arts experiences
• Creating an “ArtsHour Passport” similar to the one created for the Attractions Group to stimulate exploration of ArtsHour events and venues
• Assisting business presenters in promoting ArtsHour events to their employees and customers
• Assisting venue providers in publicizing ArtsHour to their patrons
• Creating a weekly/monthly ArtsHour Experience Award
• Providing a weekly email broadcast to people who are interested in being part of the ArtsHour Communication Network

The Alliance for Arts and Culture, the DVA Website, the Spirit of Vancouver website, the BIA websites and the websites of other participating organizations could promote and provide a link to the ArtsHour website.

Start-up and Ongoing Financing

• Start-up and perhaps ongoing financial support could be provided by one or more developers and property managers interested in demonstrating their interest in contributing to the quality of life in our community, and/or
• One or more corporate businesses who are interested in supporting the arts community or who are active participants or major beneficiaries of increased interest and participation in the arts.


• A single daily entry fee, say five dollars, could be charged for entry to all ArtsHour events. These fees could be used to pay the performers.
• Business presenters or hosts of venues could also guarantee or supplement the revenue generated by entry fees if arts presenters or performers have additional expenses or fee expectations.

Organizing the ArtsHour

• Thursday could be the Event Day. And Thursdays could welcome and provide arts presenters with an opportunity to preview and sample weekend events.
• Thursday could become the “anything could happen and usually does” ArtsHour night and participants could be encouraged to take it “over the top”.
• Artists, arts presenters and businesses could choose to organize events on other days of the week during the ArtsHour time period.
• Art Gallery openings could be promoted as ArtsHour events and could also become venues for performers to generate more traffic for the opening.
• The organization and communication system used to create, package and promote ArtsHour events could also be used to package and promote events that are already taking place. Existing events could also promote ArtsHour events and activities.
• The corner of Granville and Georgia could become the Centre of the ArtsHour. This is where people could go at any time to learn about what is happening and where they get their tickets. It could also be an outpost for Tickets Tonite. Something is always happening on this corner.

Who Could be Interested?

• Businesses that could benefit by providing and promoting events at their venue to their current patrons and as a way of attracting new patrons.
• Business presenters who could benefit by providing financial support and demonstrating their active interest in the arts and the community by presenting events and building interest and audience for the arts.
• Artists and arts presenters who could benefit from opportunities to expose new audiences to the experiences they offer.
• The people who live in our community who can demonstrate that we understand, appreciate and enjoy a variety of arts experiences, that we have a lot to offer and that we know how to enjoy ourselves
• The people who see Vancouver as a Centre for Arts and Culture and who could encourage others to visit and experience this Creative City

The ArtsHour is the result of a number of people collaborating around the idea and our common interest in establishing Vancouver as a Centre for Arts and Culture and a Creative City. Your observations, ideas and interests are welcomed and appreciated.

Roger Chilton, Chair
Arts and Culture Committee
Downtown Vancouver Association