A popular building mural on Granville Street in Vancouver will soon be gone, as the building itself is slated for demolition as part of a new development.
Known as “Pieces,” the artwork was done by Kristofir Dean and painted by local artist, Milan Basic, in 2016. It was supported through the Mural Support Program, with about $5,500 worth of materials being provided for the work by the City of Vancouver.
While some might decry the loss of the public art piece, the city said that in addition to the site being developed, the timeline of the mural display also aligns with the city’s public art program process.
“We tend to think of murals as a temporary project,” said Eric Frederickson, the city’s manger of public art. “They’re going to be one way or another, because they’re not super durable – even if the wall that they’re on stays exposed for a long stretch of time.”
Frederickson told Daily Hive that when it comes to funding these types of projects, “we have in our mind that they’ll last at least two years and that’s usually written into the agreement, but there’s no guarantees past that.”
What this allows for, he continued, is the opportunity to “keep producing more and more of these sorts of projects because we’re not committing to maintaining them forever.”
That being said, Frederickson conceded that “there are certain murals – like this one – that are really well-liked and then they go away.”
If there is any consolation to offer in all this, it’s the fact that the city’s public art program is wide-ranging and encompasses a number of different programs, “so it’s best to think of it as a ‘public exhibition’ more than a ‘permanent museum’ situation,” he explained.
With the wall being demolished and a new development being built on the site, could any sort of public art – mural or otherwise – return to the site?
“That would be up to the property owner,” said Frederickson.”We don’t replace them in the sort of one-to-one way, it’s more just we’re always doing it through our own programs.”
He recognized though that it can still be a sting to a neighbourhood to see something like this be gone.
“We get it when a particular mural becomes embraced then goes away,” he said. “But the idea is the variety and the novelty, and continuing to bring new projects to light, rather than just holding on to everything forever.”
The development proposal itself calls for an eight-storey, mixed-use building with retail units in the ground floor along Granville Street and 41 market residential units within the upper levels. There will be two levels of underground parking with 63 stalls accessed from the laneway.
Those who want to see the mural for themselves before it’s gone, can do so at 2319 Granville Street.