Storefronts Exhibition Program

In 2019, the City of Victoria identified several vacant commercial spaces unoccupied in the downtown core. 

Following the success of the first and second round of storefront exibitions downtown, the program's third round showcases the work of 11 emerging and established local designers and illustrators. Similar to 2020's installations, this year's windows have been temporarily animated with vinyl wraps that explore themes of identity, the future, diversity and resident wildlife. Check out past installations.

Artists will be paired with spaces as they come available throughout the year. Check out the four current installations and read artist statements below!

Current Installations:

Tumus and Sthuqi, endless
Artist:  Andrea Fritz, Location:  1416 Douglas St. 

Both Tumus (Sea otter) and Sthuqi (Salmon) were thought to be an endless resource and were over hunted and fished by the colonizers of BC. Now they are protected and regulated to preserve these precious resources for all of our futures. The resourceful Tumus is needed to keep her kelp forests in balance. Salmon are a main food source for many large mammals including the Indigenous population of BC. Remember that good things are not endless and need to be cherished.

Dream 
Artist: Jackie Tahara , Location: 1420 Douglas St.  

I began my “Dream” pattern design with lots and lots of sketches of fantastical trees, botanical motifs and small creatures. I scanned all these drawings, then edited, arranged and coloured them in Adobe Illustrator to create aseamless vector repeat pattern. I chose to submit this particular design for a downtown urban environment because I thought, wouldn’t it be fun to come across this fantastical, brightly-coloured, immersive landscape while strolling the streets? It is meant as escape, to super-charge the imagination, to bring smiles and fascination, which I think is welcome right now during these trying times. I believe it will make people stop and take a second, closer look. Adults will love to “wander” through the trees, and children will love spotting that cheeky snake!

Pine Needle Fern Pattern #1 
Artist: Anthony Carr, Location: 709 Douglas St.

For me, one of the many benefits to living in Victoria is the incredible nature that surrounds us, accessible with relative ease. With just a bicycle and a sense of adventure you can explore amazing coastline, forests, lakes and mountains. Pine Needle Fern Pattern #1 brings elements of the living world to the heart of the urban jungle. The fern images have been created using photograms; one of the most basic cameraless techniques in which items are placed on undeveloped photographic silver gelatin paper. In this case, those items were carefully placed pine needles. Every line seen in the final image was ‘drawn’ in this way, revealed by exposing the paper to light and then preserving the shadows.

Objectify 
Artist: Libby Oliver, Location: 744 Douglas St.

Objectify is a photo portrait series, which documents every object in a person's bedroom. Objects play a significant role in constructing and tangibly communicating our identity to others. The things we hold near to us are imbued with one's memories and aspirations, as well as cultural narratives that we consciously, or unconsciously align ourselves to. Objects have a transience in our lives as we grow older and shift and change in our perceptions of self. Displaying the private bedroom objects of a person in a storefront window plays with notions of private and public space and disrupts our usual way of viewing objects in shop fronts, as it is attached to an individual's identity.

Other selected artists include: Roy Bradfield, Claire Gaulin-Brown, Simeon Goa, Karina Kalvaitis, Elizabeth Prenger, Dallas Segno, and Laveen Skyers.

Equitable Approach

The City of Victoria’s Cultural Policy guides decision-making on how we do our work. The City is committed to equity, diversity and inclusion. In keeping with our Cultural Policy Statement, the City is working to ensure that everyone has equal access to participate fully in the creative life of the city which is essential to a healthy and democratic society.

Please read the City’s cultural policy statement, guiding principles and values that guide our work.

This competition was open to designers and illustrators who are residents of the Capital Regional District (including the Gulf Islands).

We encouraged a diversity of applicants, including but not limited to race, ethnicity, national origin, gender, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, age, disability, socio-economic status, class, and religion.

Artists identifying as Indigenous, Black, People of Colour and creative-makers from other equity-seeking groups were encouraged to apply.

Program Background

Working with the business community, the City has identified a number of vacant storefront windows available to provide new opportunities to showcase the artistic talent in the local arts community. For our first animation of the spaces we asked local artists to create site specific artworks – this included textile art, time-based works and mixed media installations. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, artists were unable to safely access the spaces for subsequent rounds of installations. As a result, the second round invited artists and illustrators to animate the vacant storefronts with vinyl wraps for the windows. This approach has been continued for our third round of installations with vector artwork in the windows of a vacant storefronts.
 
This competition was open to artists working in visual arts, who are residents of the Capital Regional District (including the Gulf Islands). Selected applicants will develop site-specific concepts for spaces pre-selected by the City of Victoria.  
 
The City cannot guarantee any specific property, or time frame for placement due to the ever-changing real estate landscape in downtown Victoria. City staff will match proposals with available spaces at the City’s sole discretion and in consultation with the artist and property manager/owner. Content must be suitable for the general public.
 

Questions? Email culture@victoria.ca.