OpenRoad Driver Volume 13 Issue 1 - Page 46

46 » OpenRoad Driver EXTRAS Audacious Art VANCOUVER BIENNALE CREATES ARTISTIC LEGACY Words by Roslyne Buchanan Photos by Matt Kwok Photography » Car enthusiasts appreciate what makes something great is often not immediately tangible. Rather, it’s the cumulative effect of its parts. Take an Audi, for example. That is such a sexy and luxurious package. Without its innovative engineering it wouldn’t offer that remarkable ride. Vancouver Biennale Founder and President Barrie Mowatt recognizes something similar about the intangibles in a city. “Back in the late eighties as Vancouver came onto the world stage with Expo 86, it became clear that we couldn’t position ourselves as a world-class city with virtually no great art in public spaces,” he explains. “Vancouver had the perfect waterfront location, lush setting and magnificent mountains backdrop. What it didn’t offer was that cosmopolitan feeling you get in cities like Paris or New York.” To Mowatt, who had opened the Buschlen Mowatt Fine Art Gallery in 1979, it was a natural step to launch the vision of the Vancouver Biennale Open Air Museum. He is the founder of the Celebration of Hope Foundation, cofounder of Taste the Nation, and the Buschlen Mowatt Scholarship Program at Arts Umbrella. Biennale’s genesis was a collaboration in 1998 with the Vancouver Parks Board to bring leaders in international sculpture for a four-month exhibition along English Bay. From that original success, a non-profit charitable organization evolved to exhibit great art in public space, creating a catalyst for learning and community engagement. Biennale has a mission to make public art accessible and motivating to help create vibrant and inspired communities.