ROVE is a free, one-night event that designates a path for people to explore on foot, bike or by car what the Mount Pleasant art scene has to offer. This Friday, May 22nd, ROVE will include several coordinated openings at galleries, studios and creative spaces including grunt gallery, MAKE Gallery, LPY & GB Studios, Gene Studios, Kafka’s, Burrard Arts Foundation and FIELD Contemporary. The ROVE map (below) gives attendees a chance to explore a diverse range of work and meet the artists in person. To sweeten the deal, Brassneck and 33 Acres is offering drink specials for participants. The evening continues with an after party at the Projection Room (2321 Main Street above the Fox Cabaret) – drink specials here as well. Grab a group of friends and don’t forget to hashtag #ROVEyvr so we can collectively enjoy scrolling through the pictures in the morning.
Maps are available at any of the associated locations which allow guests to walk, cycle, or drive between destinations at their leisure. I caught up with artist and founder Jamie Smith (one of the coolest cats I know) to chat about ROVE and what makes Mount Pleasant so special.
Hey Jamie. Tell us a little about yourself. When did you start ROVE?
I am artist and I work out of my little studio in Mount Pleasant where I drink a lot of Earl Grey tea. My own paintings are inspired from my travels and I am interested in how we remember our past experiences. After a recent return to Vancouver from living abroad, I organized the first ROVE last year in May and this will be the fourth ROVE in Mount Pleasant.
Why did you start it?
I started ROVE to create a simple and engaging manner in which to spend an evening in East Vancouver with a focus on discovering unexplored local culture. I thought it best to build a fixed event with coordinated gallery and studio openings to draw out greater numbers of people who might not be as active in the art community. I included a group of galleries and created the ROVE map so people would use the whole evening to engage in the local art and craft beer scene. It is quite simple to hit all the galleries on the map in a couple hours and it seems to have quickly grown to become a tourist attraction in Vancouver for Vancouverites.
What excites you about Mount Pleasant’s art scene?
Mount Pleasant has a distinct neighbourhood feel and there are a number of galleries all in a walkable area. The art scene here is somewhat of a centralized pocket and with a little organization this can be used to bring more people out to enjoy the community. The galleries in this area showcase talented artists of diverse mediums, many of whom live in the area.
What do you think Vancouver’s artistic community could benefit from?
Vancouver’s art community could benefit from increased dialogue among artists. More mentorship between more experienced artists would help strengthen the community and keep artists committed to their craft while they seek financial sustainability in their careers. Also, the more events and art shows that bring different people into art spaces the better. The more people we can encourage to view art and buy art, the more value others will see in the arts. We need to foster young art collectors and educate people on the value of art and culture in Vancouver.
Mount Pleasant favourites: for a drink, a coffee, a meal, a party, an opening?
I feel very fortunate that many of my favourite places to have drinks and see art have all agreed to support ROVE.
For drinks, Brassneck is a great place for a beer and 33 Acres Brewing just got cider (which is my favourite in the city.) To see art, the galleries in the area like Burrard Arts Foundations, Field Contemporary and Grunt are all have monthly art openings and great exhibitons that are worth making the effort to get to and engage with; this consistent quality is so important in building an artistic culture. For my morning, afternoon and more afternoon teas, I love going to Gene and fortunately for my it is right under my painting studio. For a good party, all I have to do is head across the street to The Fox Cabaret and the newly opened Projection Room. A great place for interesting events and great drinks and dancing with friends.