Vancouver: New Beginnings at Pride in Art

Press Release by QAF

The Pride in Art Society is delighted to announce it has been approved for Operating Assistance in the Professional Arts Festivals program at the BC Arts Council. This is a milestone for the Pride in Art Society, and the promotion from project funding to operating funding reflects an important endorsement.

The assessment committee praised the Pride in Art’s Queer Arts Festival for its “incredible work and great aggressive programming… with the bar set very high on artistic achievement… a very healthy, broad demographic. Advisors appreciated the intensive work with youth, showing commitment especially to young artistic people. It is very important to have mentorship in place… Advisors remarked that the organization is strong, organized, really well managed and doing very well… Extremely strong, well qualified people from the board to operations, production and administration are doing all the right things.”

Operating client status recognizes Pride in Art as an “established arts festival organizations that produce a major annual festival, present and feature professional artists, have a clear unifying theme or vision, and have stable artistic and administrative leadership.” This highly coveted achievement offers a measure of stability in provincial government funding, in the midst of much economic uncertainty for arts organizations.

This milestone comes at an exciting time for the festival, with several other key changes taking place in 2014. Theo Jakob joined the Pride in Art team in January 2014 as Managing Director. Theo comes to us after 4 years as Festival Program Coordinator at the Vancouver Queer Film Festival, with particular expertise as a consultant and community programmer whose work often centres around policy, organizational development, sustainability, anti-oppression and accessibility. We are excited to welcome this brilliant young arts administrator to our team.

Kenneth Yuen joined the team in March 2014 as Communications Coordinator. Over the past 5 years, he has worked with various artist-run centres and organizations, including Access Gallery, and On Main Gallery. Kenneth comes from a visual arts background and has worked as a project assistant on many projects with Paul Wong, co-curator of QAF 2013: TransgressionNow.

Finally, 2014 also sees long-time QAF team member Rachel Iwaasa take the helm as Acting Artistic Director during a one-year sabbatical for founding Artistic Director SD Holman.

Pride in Art has also relocated its office from the East Side to the West End. Now housed on the second floor of Gordon Neighbourhood House at Broughton and Comox, we are tickled pink to find a place in Vancouver’s other gaybourhood.

“These are dynamic new beginnings for QAF,” enthused Acting Artistic Director Rachel Iwaasa. “It is so heartening to see the overwhelming surge of public support we experienced last Spring reflected by government funders, and we are grateful to the Province of British Columbia for its support of the arts. We look forward to this new relationship with the BC Arts Council, and will work hard to continue to earn their confidence.”

The Pride in Art Society produces the Queer Arts Festival (QAF), a three-week artist-run professional multi-disciplinary arts festival at the Roundhouse every July-August in Vancouver. QAF celebrates the unique creative expressions of visual and performing artists who identify as queer — people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, transsexual, two-spirit, and intersex. QAF is Canada’s only professional queer festival with a curated visual arts exhibition, a community visual art show, a series of performing arts events, and workshops for adults and youth. QAF produces, presents and exhibits work with a curatorial vision favouring innovative, challenging, thought-provoking art that pushes boundaries and initiates dialogue, and has garnered wide acclaim as “an out-and-out cultural bonanza” (Vancouver Sun), “some of the most adventurous of any local arts festival” (Vancouver Province) and “on the forefront of aesthetic and cultural dialogue today” (Xtra).

QAF 2014, ReGenerations will run from July 23-August 9.