Memories of the 19th. Eastside Culture Crawl

Our studio building is down the back alley of 716 East Hastings St. It used to be a sausage making factory and after they sold it, it fell into disrepair, no one wanted it as the street was sad with drugs and broken dreams. When we first entered the building, part of the roof had caved in and we could see the steam of the mold rising by the light of a torch. All surfaces were slick sloppy and disgusting.....Yeuck, I thought, 'it's fantastic,' he said and went to work transforming the long, high  open space into a shared furniture, sculpture studio that is now the creative working hub for 6 artists. Years have passed and the street is busy changing, a library is being built on the four lots beside us, cafes are opening, and independent small  businesses are popping up on the street front.

 During the four days of the culture crawl each November, the air hose blasts through the studio, cleaning every surface and the space is transformed into a gallery. Walls go up in the machine room to accommodate moi and some of my paintings and the lads pretend that they always keep their woodwork space civilized and spotless. This year, we received hundreds ( I'd say thousands!!) of visitors, it was our best year yet, they drifted through our space excited to see everything from the art and furniture, to the eclectic inspirational objects that cover ever inch  on the walls. Thank you to the wonderful senior Russian lady who visited us three times with groups of equally wonderful friends, whom I understood through gestures, smiles and exclamations that they loved what they saw. Thank you to all the young new Canadians from all corners of the world that want to make our city home, it was great to see the optimism you brought with you.

The biggest thank you goes to the original founders, our old friends from the Panifico Building who threw open their doors 19 years ago, to the tireless work of our Executive Director, Esther Rausenberg (an original founder) Mira Malatestinic and other board members, Laura Moore from the Georgia Straight, sponsors Liz and Frank Malinka and every one else. I was thrilled to receive this review of my work from Factory Worker Media, thank you!