First, the good news: a clear vision for the Hollywood is now on the table. One that would see this heritage landmark and much-loved neighbourhood cinema not just preserved, but transformed into something even better than before – a vital and dynamic hub for cinema, music, film festivals, lectures and forums, and much more.
Now the not-so-good news: despite some welcome actions so far, plus assurances that they are working toward a balanced solution that addresses issues raised by the Coalition while respecting the interests of the Hollywood’s current owner (and parties who may be interested in purchase of it), the City appears to be avoiding the one solution that’s most likely to make this vision a reality. That solution? For the City to acquire the Hollywood as a heritage-designated, public arts and culture space.
For them to do so is no stretch of the imagination – it is a well-established model that is already the underpinning of Vancouver’s vibrant cultural realm. Did you know that in addition to Vancouver’s premier civic theatres, including the Orpheum, QE Theatre and Vancouver Playhouse, the City owns another 27 facilities that are operated by nonprofit arts and cultural societies? From the Vancouver East Cultural Centre (“The Cultch”) and the Firehall Theatre, to the Vancouver Art Gallery and the new York Theatre, Vancouver’s rich artistic and cultural life is in large part played out in City-owned spaces, that more often than not have significant heritage value as well.
The Coalition is confident that a City-owned outcome is achievable for the Hollywood, and is the only outcome that will enable the theatre to realize its fullest potential as an arts and culture hub on the city’s westside. There is simply no evidence to suggest that any other model is capable of delivering similar public-use capacity, economic viability or long-term stability in the context of Vancouver’s surging property market.
Despite much positive work, the City’s current leadership has also faced a good deal of criticism from neighbourhood groups, claiming that the City’s vision for Vancouver’s future is out of touch with local perspectives. We believe that the Coalition’s vision for the Hollywood’s future represents a great opportunity for the City to embrace a broadly popular movement that would speak volumes to voters about Council’s commitment to the heritage, local aspirations and cultural vitality of Vancouver’s neighbourhoods.
Please read “Reinventing the Hollywood“, our just-completed, 10-page summary outlining our vision for the Hollywood’s future as a City-owned nonprofit arts and culture hub. Write City Council to show your support for this plan. And share this with anyone you know who cares about keeping Vancouver a vibrant, visionary and culturally dynamic place.