Finishing touches on a new activated, pedestrian-friendly laneway within the Granville Entertainment District in downtown Vancouver will be completed in August.
Last year, the Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association (DVBIA) began transforming the laneway behind the Orpheum Theatre – dubbed “Ackery’s Alley” – into a space for socializing, public performances, activations, and art installations. The laneway is located east of Granville Street between Robson Street and Smithe Street.
Work completed to date includes “red carpet” paint on the laneway’s road surface and “psychedelic,” black and white, zebra-like paint on the walls of the buildings that line the laneway.
Other elements that have yet to be installed entail artful signage, gold panelling and other reflective metals, projection walls, and a 10-ft-diameter glowing orb.
The overpass that connects the Orpheum Theatre with its Granville Street entrance will also be improved with FIELD, an interactive public art installation by renowned international artist Alex Beim.
Sensors placed in the laneway will detect the presence of a person, changing colours and emitting sounds in reaction to movements made by passersby and visitors.
The enhanced scope of the project with FIELD was successfully crowdfunded last summer, with $64,736 raised – nearly doubling the original goal of $35,000.
Additionally, dumpsters in the laneway will be transformed with murals as part of the design.
“We fully expect that Ackery’s Alley will experience a similar meteoric rise in popularity especially at night due to Alex Beim’s sound and light installation, and that it will become the next hot spot to host pop-up urban events,” Charles Gauthier, President and CEO of the DVBIA, told Daily Hive.
This is the DVBIA’s second of three laneway conversion projects. In 2016, it created Alley-Oop – a laneway south of West Pender Street, between Granville Street and Seymour Street, painted with bright pink and yellow colours.
This laneway project earned the DVBIA an International Downtown Association’s Downtown Achievement Award in fall 2017. It was also prominently featured in K-Pop group Twice’s Vancouver-filmed ‘Likey’ music video, which has attained over 260 million views on YouTube to date.
And the DVBIA has plans to transform the laneway south of Robson Street, between Burrard Street and Thurlow Street, which is where Canada’s second Off-White store recently opened.
“We’re overwhelmed by the support we’ve had in transforming our first Alley, Alley-Oop, and the subsequent public acceptance and worldwide media coverage it has received,” added Gauthier.
For the latest conversion at Ackery’s Alley, the DVBIA received funding from the City of Vancouver’s VIVA Vancouver program and Vancouver Civic Theatres and supplementary funding from Granville Street businesses.