Red Gate Community Update, February 2018

It's official: the Red Gate has been given notice to "surrender" the lease on our "Classic" location at 855 E.Hastings by May 31st, 2018. Since our original lease expired two years ago we've been paying month to month and waiting for the other gentri-shoe to drop so this doesn't exactly come as a surprise. Our landlord, Lowtide Properties Inc. aka Chip Wilson of Lulu Lemon infamy, has applied to the City of Vancouver to change the use of the building from "rehearsal and production space" to three retail units, yuppie lifestyle boutiques for the condo-dwellers soon to be inhabiting the "Strathcona Village" development just to the east of us.

We've been in this situation before, most recently in 2011 when we were pushed out of our previous location by the Woodwards development, coincidentally spearheaded by Westbank Corp, also responsible for the condo towers that are casting their shadow on our soon to be former home. The same Westbank that advertises themselves as "a culture company" whose mission is to "fight for beauty" as they depopulate entire neighborhoods of working artists and cultural spaces. Similarly, Lowtide Inc has been a major supporter of the mural festival, which is a pretty obvious effort to "artwash" the renoviction and displacement of affordable spaces for non-profits and cultural groups, even providing the mural fest organizers with free space while forcing less market-oriented groups out with massive rent increases.

In all other respects, our organization is in better shape than it's ever been, now entering our 6th year of operation in our current location, and for the last year operating two independent cultural spaces at full capacity, providing space for hundreds of artists and musicians to create and perform their work, exposing them to thousands of fans and supporters, and putting hundreds of thousands of dollars directly into the lowest layer of the local cultural economy. All this as a 100% community based organization, created by and for working artists and musicians, with no grants or outside funding of any kind. The Red Gate exists because of all the people who want and need it to exist.

So we're continuing our years long hunt for another location in East Van. Despite the availability of many suitable buildings, we've been frustrated by the rapidly expanding real estate bubble, which has seen commercial property values and lease rates double and triple over last few years. This has caused a space crisis that is not restricted to arts groups but affects all non-profits, startups, local independent businesses, basically anything that isn't a major corporation. The city is being emptied of its character and personality, of everything particular and peculiar to this unique place, in favor of a bland and generic corporate monoculture. This is causing a creative exodus which continues to accelerate as brilliant and talented people, many of whom have lived and worked here their entire lives, are giving up on ever finding a place to do either, in their own home town.

Artists and musicians need places to rehearse, practice, create and experiment, to meet and discuss ideas and share experiences. These crucial spaces are disappearing far more rapidly than they are being replaced, and drastic and immediate action is required if we are to have any hope of reversing this process. We hope to use this opportunity to draw city-wide attention to the crisis in cultural space, to have a city-wide conversation about how to deal with it, to raise awareness as well as funds toward opening a new space, and to have us much fun as possible with all of our favorite people while we're at it. We'll be making further announcements about our plans in the coming days and weeks, stay tuned.

Become a Member!

The Red Gate is now offering membership! Members will get special mailouts, as well as discounts at all of our shows, plus you can help us keep this place going, for only $20 a year!