Art & Artists in Exhibition: Vancouver 1890 - 1950
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"Things As They Are"

By Charles H. Scott
From The Paint Box, VSDAA Annual Vol. 2 - June 1927


      Fifty years ago, no railroads ran into Vancouver. The embryo city was represented by wooden shacks huddled around Hastings and Carrall Street encompassed by woods and water. English Bay was reached by a trail, traffic policemen were unnecessary, no street cars clanged their way through the streets, and Shaughnessy Heights did not exist.

      Nor did town-planning occupy the attention of the City Council.

      And somewhere within this elemental town, lurked a little germ of dissatisfaction with things as they are.

      Gradually the good citizens realized that wooden shacks were inadequate, trails became streets and avenues, street cars appeared as a means of transporting a growing community, residential suburbs sprouted north, south, east, and west. Churches, schools and banks made imposing landmarks in streets that had now become busy enough to necessitate traffic control.

      Departmental stores expanded so that the merchandise of the world might be at our very door.

      And a town-planning commission sits in solemn conclave.

      There was evidence aplenty that the material side of life was being served.

      Yet the little germ of dissatisfaction with things as they are continued to live.

      With increasing wealth and increasing leisure had come a demand for those qualities that give satisfaction to the spirit.

      Housing, Furniture, Dress, became more than merely utilitarian. The demand was for more beauty, and Music, Drama, Painting, and Architecture came in answer.

      And the city contiued to grow until one day not two years ago a little school with the big name of The Vancouver School of Decorative and Applied Arts blossomed in one of its by-streets.

      An attendance in the first year of 70 days (sic) students and 300 evening students taxed the capacity of staff and building.

      In this second year of the school's life the day students number 100 and the evening students 400, the largest number of art students per population of any city in Canada.

      And the little germ of dissatisfaction with things as they are continues to exist.

      It is apparent that if this school is to live up to its principles and to give its students a proper Art education, something more than the present temporary accommodation will require to be found.

      The Vancouver Board of School Trustees, under whose wing the School has been housed and encouraged, is aware of the difficulties under which the School now works, and it is hoped that in the very near future the citizens of Vancouver will have an opportunity of voting the necessary money for the building of an Art School.

      The necessity of an Art School building in Vancouver is evident from the large number of Day and Evening students attending, many of whom are already in business where Drawing and Design, Modelling and Architecture play a big part.

      The demand for the Artist and Designer will increase as Vancouver becomes more of a manufacturing city and as its wealth increases. A School of Art is therefor part of the legitimate growth of this city, a worthwhile outcome of dissatisfaction with things as they are and a source of hope for the things to be.

      Let Vancouver flourish by the building of an Art School.




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