The Eastside Cultural Crawl: It’s like Christmas for art!

As the holiday season is upon us, the Eastside Cultural Crawl — one of Vancouver’s most beloved festivals — draws closer.

With its embodiment of the festive spirit, the Cultural Crawl is a four-day celebration of the arts, inviting visitors and art lovers to engage with the city’s vibrant visual arts community.

More than 475 participating artists will display their works across 78 buildings in the area bound by Columbia Street, 1st Avenue, Victoria Drive and the waterfront in Vancouver. Visitors will be treated to an assortment of works in various forms and mediums, from emerging artists and those internationally established. Curious crawlers will have the opportunity to explore and immerse into artists’ studios, homes and garages throughout Vancouver’s Eastside community. “It shares an insider's look at what’s going on in East Van,” said Rachael Ashe, a participating multidisciplinary artist with a focus in paper-cut art.

What emerged as an idea in 1997 by a small group of artists to open their studios to the public to foster dialogue between visitor and creator, quickly garnered into one of Vancouver’s most anticipated celebrations. With each passing year, more studios joined the community which now receives up to 25,000 visitors.

“The Eastside Cultural Crawl is a celebration of artists and art by being allowed into the studios, sharing the behind-the-scene processes of their work and seeing how they produce their art,” said Ashe.

Celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, the annual festival continues to facilitate deep connections between community and creativity.  It features works from painters, jewellers, sculptors, furniture makers, weavers, potters, printmakers, photographers, glassblowers and many other forms of artistic expression.

“It’s like trick-or-treating for art,” said Ashe.

The crawl creates an inspiring community for artists, helping them “feel supported and give support in return,” said Ashe. “Moving to East Van coincided at the same time of joining the crawl. Being a part of it has helped me see the city differently.”

There will also be many workshops and open-studios, providing curious crawlers a window to learning about the art-making process. Ashe will be amongst the many guest artists sharing their work. Her paper-cut creations, drawings and embroidered paper pieces will be on display at Propeller studio.

“The Eastside Cultural Crawl means sharing inspiration, educating people about art and the value of handmade things,” she said.

Admission is free. The crawl runs from November 17 to 20. Click here for a map of the studios.