Want to know keep up-to-date on what's happening in Victoria? Subscribe to our daily newsletter:
Fibre artist is neighbourhood association's first artist in residence
A tiny, sea foam green building in North Park’s Vancouver street plaza will become an artist studio for the next four months as the North Park Neighbourhood Association begins its artist residency program this week.
The 12’ by 8’ freestanding shed-like structure, near the intersection of Vancouver Street and Caledonia Street, will continue to serve as a bulletin board and a neighbourhood food pantry, but will now become an artist studio as well. The temporary space has been used as a lending hub and a free craft store in turns since 2021. Now, artists will be using the space to engage with the community until the end of March 2023.
“We’re really excited to try something new,” said the neighbourhood association’s executive director, Sarah Murray. “Art is good for the soul. And it’s good for connection and community development.”
Felt and fibre artist Noah Crowder, better known under his artist name of Monster Boy, will be North Park’s first artist in residence from Dec. 1 until Jan. 8 working on December, a life-sized centaur-like sculpture that will depict the strength of transgender people.
“It’s a great opportunity for somebody who’s an emerging artist like myself to get awareness that I exist—and I’m making art,” said Crowder. The artist is looking forward to meeting like-minded people during the days that he will be working at the studio, during which anyone can drop by and see what he’s working on.
“I like that it’s close to Knotty by Nature, which is a yarn shop where I get all my wool stuff,” he said. “So [if] people are feeling really inspired, it’s not that far of a walk to go pick up a kit and give it a go themselves.”
Crowder is planning to work out of the studio from 12-5pm every week from Wednesdays to Sunday, weather permitting. The building, while insulated, has no heating. Rugs, curtains, and electric blankets are in the plans to make the space more welcoming during the winter months.
“Nobody has to feel shy about coming by and talking to me,” Crowder said. “That’s what I’m here to do.”
There will be a felting class at some point during his residency, where—true to his Monster Boy name—participants will be making little felt monsters.
The North Park Neighbourhood Association will be introducing more artists in the coming months. “We’ve received more applications than we’ll be able to accommodate, which is both a really fun problem to have and a really difficult one at the same time,” Murray said.
“Monster Boy is such a fun one to start with. I love [his] art: it's engaging, it's friendly, it has a great message behind it,” she added.
The new focus on fostering the creative arts will likely be the building’s last hurrah at its current location. The structure’s permit runs out when the resident artist program ends, so the North Park Neighbourhood Association is hoping to find a new place that can host the building this coming summer.
“Without a physical community centre in North Park, there’s a lot of things that we’re not able to do yet,” Murray said. “This is just one early step in our attempts to promote more opportunities for existing and emerging artists.”