DYNAMO is a 6,000 square foot shared studio space on Hastings Street. As an organization, DYNAMO formed in 1996 when a group of students at Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design (now Emily Carr University of Art and Design) began to consider the prospect of losing their communal studio space after graduation. After an open meeting to recruit a small group of interested people, four students began working together to find a suitable location for a shared studio.
A space was found on the second floor of 142 West Hastings, in close proximity to the Or Gallery and Artspeak, as well as a now defunct independent gallery called the Church of Pointless Hysteria. The DYNAMO studio was much larger and more expensive than the small group, which had grown to eight people by this time, could accommodate. A call was put out to find more interested renters, and the artists formed a not-for-profit called “Dynamo Arts Association.” The space was renovated from what is presumed to be a business or computer school into a large, open-concept studio with gallery space. Four principal members signed a lease for the space and shared administrative responsibilities, including programming the gallery and filling the studios with the necessary number of artist occupants required (about 18) to pay the rent.
The studio-mates met city zoning requirements for hosting work spaces, a communal wood shop, and an electric kiln. They also created a 1,200 square foot gallery, which began to hold exhibitions in 1998. The gallery was at first run by Damon Crain, followed by Andrew Armour, and focused on emerging artists, sculpture, and performance.
The DYNAMO gallery operated until 2001, but the studio-mates never found a willing long-term curator who could manage the space and take responsibility for securing funding for artists’ fees without any remuneration. After the the original studio-mates left the association, the gallery was dissolved into additional studios for rent. The space continues today as a large communal studio.
Founding Studio Members (1996)
First Board of Directors
142 West Hastings, 2nd Floor
Original DYNAMO Gallery Mandate
To provide a forum for emerging artists working the areas of sculpture, installation, and performance art.
Necessity is the mother of DYNAMO. Our culture is in its infancy, so DYNAMO is here to build the foundations for the future. DYNAMO is a vibrant new cultural hybrid, a product of the social, political and economic realities of this post-modern, post-boomer world. DYNAMO is here to forge an identity, one who essence is dynamic and diverse, resilient and flexible. DYNAMO is a podium, a gymnasium, a stadium for a new millennium, a new future, a new reality. DYNAMO is all about art, about professionalism, about community, about vision and about giving all of these a venue and a strong voice. DYNAMO is the purveyor of a product – a product of, and for, our society. DYNAMO is art.
DYNAMO has a small archive of images and paperwork related to the gallery space. It is not accessible to the public, but may be consulted through the current studio members, time permitting.