Several new arts and cultural initiatives are taking shape in Vanier, thanks to fresh and renewed collaborations between the Vanier BIA and several partners such as Apt613 and the city.
One of the new projects involves identifying the artists who currently call Vanier home. While it’s already widely known that there is a high concentration of creative professionals living in the area, this initiative will create a more comprehensive picture of the individuals who are making such valuable contributions to Vanier’s vibrancy.
It will also help economic and cultural development officials understand this community’s unique needs, such as additional spaces for artists – particularly Indigineous people – to create and display their work, as well as exchange ideas, learn from each other and talk.
Elsewhere, the upcoming $50-million reconstruction of Montreal Road is creating an opportunity for a wider revitalization of the community. City rules require that one per cent of the value of large infrastructure projects be set aside for public art projects. That means some $500,000 will be devoted to commissioning creative installations that the BIA has long advocated for.
Francois Lachapelle, a cultural developer at the City of Ottawa, argues that such initiatives offer a clear payoff.
“The best investment the city can make is in the happiness of the people,” he says.
More broadly, arts and culture needs to be top-of-mind among our political and business leaders as Vanier grows and evolves to help preserve the unique heart and soul of the community.
“Art can be the common thread through all the initiatives of Vision Vanier,” says Coun. Mathieu Fleury, referring to a cluster of initiatives aimed at improving the community’s vibrancy and livability. “Art can play into the development of everything from a street to a park to a building.”
Meanwhile, the BIA continues to explore ways of amplifying the impact of smaller, local projects.
For example, the What’s Good in the Hood microgrant program strengthens the connection between artists and businesses by supporting performers, merchants and cultural programmers interested in staging events that will attract people to Vanier businesses.
All this work collectively feeds into the bottom line for businesses. Money spent on arts and culture events can lead to greater profits for business owners while fostering a stronger sense of community for residents and a distinct identity for Vanier.