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Interactive public art installation for Orpheum Theatre laneway to go ahead

Kenneth Chan Jul 13, 2017 9:25 am 530

Plans for a new pedestrian-friendly laneway behind the Orpheum Theatre in the Granville Entertainment District, between Robson Street and Smithe Street, will include an interactive public art installation thanks to a successful 30-day crowdfunding campaign that nearly doubled its goal.

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The Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association (DVBIA) and partner HCMA Architecture + Design says they have raised $64,736 for their ‘FIELD’ art installation at the so-called Ackery’s Alley. This raised amount is nearly $30,000 more than its stated $35,000 target.

“Through their pledges, Vancouverites have sent a message that they value public art and spaces that foster social connection and interaction—and they want to see more of it,” said Charles Gauthier, President and CEO of the DVBIA, in a statement.

“We’re absolutely blown away by the incredible response we got from this campaign, and we’re particularly impressed with the significant financial support this project received from many corporate backers as well.”

Funds raised will go towards an art installation designed by local artist Alex Beim that uses sensors to detect the presence of a person. Colours and emitted sounds will change in reaction to the movements made by passersby and visitors.

Artistic rendering of public art installation FIELD. (More Awesome Now)

As for the surplus funds, a spokesperson for the DVBIA told Daily Hive it will go towards programming the laneway with events and activities as well as a maintenance contingency fund for the space.

Other elements of this particular laneway retrofit include decorating the rear building facades with “psychedelic” paint, artful signage, gold paneling and other reflective metals, projection walls, and a 10-foot diameter glowing orb. These aspects are funded separately by a $200,000 pilot project fund for three laneway revitalizations in downtown.

Artistic rendering of Ackery’s Alley, with FIELD installed. (More Awesome Now)

The first laneway conversion occurred last year with Alley-Oop, the pink and yellow-coloured laneway next to West Pender Street between Granville Street and Seymour Street, behind the Odyssey Nightclub.

Ackery’s Alley is the project’s second phase, and with funding now allocated construction is anticipated to begin mid-August for an end-of-summer opening.

Following the renovation of the Ackery’s Alley, project planners will turn their attention to another project at the laneway north of Robson Street between Burrard and Thurlow streets.

Opening day of Alley-Op near West Pender Street in September 2016. (Kenneth Chan/Daily Hive)

Image: Kenneth Chan / Daily Hive

Opening day of Alley-Op near West Pender Street in September 2016. (Kenneth Chan/Daily Hive)

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Kenneth Chan
National Features Editor at Daily Hive, the evolution of Vancity Buzz. He covers local architecture, urban issues, politics, business, retail, economic development, transportation and infrastructure, and the travel industry. Kenneth is also a Co-Founder of New Year's Eve Vancouver. Connect with him at kenneth[at]

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