Public Art on Granville Island
PC: Tourism Vancouver & Nelson Mouellic
Despite the roughly 300 businesses, studios and facilities that call Granville Island home, the small peninsula has an old-world feel. Remnants of its industrial past linger in the cranes and rail tracks that have yet to be removed. Originally one of Vancouver’s main hubs for sawmills, iron works and slaughterhouses, the tourist destination is now a hotbed for artists.
From potters and painters to jewelry makers and blacksmith artisans, the creative community thrives. While the Public Market, water-side restaurants, and extensive arts galleries typically get most of the attention, Granville Island is also home to two major arts installations.
The first was installed in 2014 by the famous street artists OSGEMEOS — two Brazilian twin brothers Gustavo and Otávio Pandolfo, who specialize in transforming buildings into colorful artwork.
The pair turned six industrial concrete silos into a vibrant mural (1415 Johnston St.). Standing 70-feet tall and spanning 23,500-square-feet, the silos have been fondly dubbed Granville Island’s ‘Giants’.
In 2018, Granville Island expanded its public arts display yet again. With the help of local and international artists, large murals were added around The Chain & Forge, located beneath the Granville Street Bridge (1404 Anderson St.).
Participating muralists included Spain’s Ruben Sanchez, First Nation Musqueam artist Debra Sparrow, Lauren Brevner, Kelsey Hall (KC Hall), James Harry, Sandeep Johal, Kari Kristensen, Eric Louie, Victoria Sieczka and Jeremy Wong (JNASTY).
Installations at the outdoor gallery cover the legs of the bridge and the sides of walls. They feature an eclectic mix of themes ranging from First Peoples inspired images and abstract to symbolism and pop art.
Chain & Forge is often the site of public gatherings and local festivals, where you might find everything from live music and pop-up markets to workshops.
Both Chain & Forge and the ‘Giants’ are well within walking distance of the Public Market — allowing you to grab a bite before you go explore the island’s public arts scene.
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