The dark and dreary winter days are about to get brighter as VMF Winter Arts returns February 16-26, 2023. Transforming downtown Vancouver into an interactive open-air gallery and celebration of public art and entertainment.
Produced by VMF (the team behind Vancouver Mural Festival), the free, 3rd annual festival brings together local and international public art with live experiences—including music, tours, talk, dance parties, food and drink—to connect, reflect and celebrate our city and its diverse communities.
With the theme of Land and Light, VMF Winter Arts 2023 is bringing together art, technology, and celebration. Light becomes a creative force in the city and an invitation to consider the relationship to the land—as stewards, settlers, immigrants, visitors, and guests. In the hands of artists, light becomes a medium to illuminate, transform, and share their individual and collective visions for a shared future.
Over the festival’s 11 days, free art and entertainment can be discovered along the VMF Winter Arts route from the Vancouver Art Gallery, along Burrard Street including Bentall Centre, to Canada Place. The festival’s central live celebration site will be the Winter Arts Hub. Located at šxw???n?q Xwtl’e7én? Square (formerly known as the Vancouver Art Gallery North Plaza), the Winter Arts Hub offers an inclusive, free, family-friendly outdoor space featuring a licensed bar, rotating food trucks, interactive art, and a covered festival stage featuring daily live performances. Additional art can also be experienced while enjoying the Robson Square Ice Rink next door.
New this year is VMF After Dark, a series of late night pop-up parties in a fully-transformed creative space at Bentall Centre. Dubbed the Bentall Centre Gallery, the site will host art and a licensed all-ages NFT Gallery and Lounge by day, then transform into a 19+ event space on weekend nights. Each of the five ticketed After Dark parties will feature entertainment curated by a different group from the local music scene, providing festival goers with an opportunity to continue dancing after the nearby Winter Arts Hub closes for the night.
The festival’s public art highlights will include laser light animation, augmented reality, sculptures and more by local and international artists. At the core of VMF’s values is a commitment to supporting and showcasing diversity in all its forms. Through art and events, VMF creates inclusive experiences that connect and reflect our city’s many cultures and communities, while inviting all to participate, regardless of background. This commitment is woven across Winter Arts’ visual and performance artist line-up and programming.
This winter, multimedia artist Tafui will curate Present, an exhibition bringing together audio, visual and spoken word artists. Through laser animation and live performances, ‘Present’ will tell stories that highlight the creativity of the African and Caribbean diaspora.
Blanketing The City: Lighting The Way is the continued evolution of the Blanketing The City series with acclaimed xwm??kw?y? ?m (Musqueam) weaver and designer Debra Sparrow. This February, iconic landmarks across the city—including BC Place and Canada Place—will once again be illuminated with large-scale light displays featuring transformed Coast Salish weaving patterns.
Adding to the Winter Arts experience will be a range of special programming including daily Guided Art Tours across downtown, a Curator Talk, plus more to be announced.
“VMF holds a vision of Vancouver as an international destination to celebrate art that lights up our downtown core. Our Winter Arts festival brings top local and international art and artists together with food, music, live performances and a West Coast vibrancy to create a unique experience that welcomes all to celebrate and connect.” – Andrea Curtis, VMF Executive Director
Visit winterartsfest.com details about VMF Winter Arts 2023.