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New West Cultural Crawl: 20 years of art and community

Behind the scenes: Here's what's happening at this year's New West Cultural Crawl

Artists from across the city are opening their doors to community members as part of this year’s New West Cultural Crawl.

In celebration of its 20th anniversary, the 2023 New West Cultural Crawl is promising to be bigger and better than ever. More than 150 artists in 30 venues are taking part in the crawl, which is on Saturday, Oct. 14 and Sunday, Oct. 15.

“This milestone anniversary allows us to reflect on the event’s positive impact in the local art community and its economic development alongside the continued engagement within New Westminster,” said Laura Grady, executive director of Arts New West. “When the event first began in 2003, we had eight venues and a handful of artists participate; this year we are showcasing over 150 artists across 30 venues during the two-day event.”

The 30 participating venues include home studios, garage studios, galleries, civic spaces, storefronts and museums. Some new venues this year include the New West Youth Hub, the return of 100 Braid St Studios (in its new location on Sixth Street) and Moodswing Coffee/Bar.

Folks can pick up the New West Cultural Crawl booklet at The Gallery at Queen’s Park or at any venue on the crawl and see what artists, venues and events are part of the self-guided art tour.

“Visitors then select the venues and artists they would like to check out and use the map to plot their crawl course,” Grady said. “All venues are open Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. We suggest taking advantage of both crawl days. Explore Downtown, Queensborough and the West End on Saturday and save Uptown, Victory Heights and Sapperton for Sunday.”

Launched in 2003, the cultural crawl is all about creating a personal connection with the artists in the community, Grady said.

“Art plays a vital role in the well-being of our city, and the crawl puts visitors face to face with the artists who make New West great,” she said. “Art is so important, and the crawl is an opportunity for the community and beyond to be exposed to all different kinds of art forms and mediums.”

Through the crawl, visitors can engage in meaningful conversations with artists to gain a deeper understanding of their work, Grady said, and some folks may even acquire a piece of art along the way.

“The crawl allows visitors to get a behind-the-scenes look at the creative process and to take the time to celebrate the talent of local artists by viewing their works and learning about their passions,” she said.

Grady said the crawl has become a meaningful event for many New West artists.

“The crawl is more than just an opportunity to sell artwork; the crawl provides an accessible event that connects artists to the community,” she said. “It is important for artists to have the space to share their work and to express their passion, inspiration and story. By opening their studio doors and displaying their work in community spaces, artists are able to build relationships and be encouraged and supported by crawl guests.”

Lots to see and do

In celebration of its 20th anniversary, this year’s crawl features a number of special events for participants to enjoy.

Community members of all ages can participate in hands-on, interactive art workshops, such as joining Dana Keli Ceramics for a free workshop to make their own clay ornament or creating their own garden-inspired artwork with the Garden Gals at Anvil Centre. They can also visit the Free Little Art Gallery artist workshop to learn how to make Métis Dot Art magnets from Kelly Poitras from Nicimos Designs.

Anvil Centre will be packed with activities for the whole family, including: free workshops; artists talks; the New West Craft artisan market; and Hijas del Sol at Anvil Centre, a collective of Latin American women artists.

Folks are invited to tour various venues during the day, but some “after dark” events are planned as part of this year’s event:

  • Friday, Oct. 13 – 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.: Opening reception of the 20th anniversary of the New West Cultural Crawl at the Eighth & Eight Creative Space, 735 Eighth Ave. This free, no-registration-required event also marks the opening of the Leslie Poole exhibition – Landscape Portraits, which runs until Nov. 29.
  • Saturday, Oct. 14 at 7 p.m.: Arrieta Art Studio Poetry with @Apt Pop welcomes emerging and established poets to share their verses with the community.
  • Saturday, Oct. 14 at 7 p.m.: Quality Time at Moodswing is a night focused less on the perfect vinyl mix, but on presenting eclectic sounds pulled from left-field electronic, post-punk, dub, spiritual jazz, field recordings and found sounds in the warm environment of Moodswing Coffee/Bar.
  • Sunday, Oct. 15 at 5 p.m.: Quayside Voices and a collection of emerging musicians are having an intimate concert in The Gallery in Queen’s Park.

 Grady said that New West has always been a city rich with artists. 

“The growth of the crawl is a response to our growing and diverse art and culture tapestry in New West,” she said. “As more artists move to and work in the city, the crawl continues to grow.”

Coming out of COVID, Grady said there is desire by artists to reconnect with other artists and art lovers.

“There has been an exciting buzz leading up to the crawl this year. The excitement is not just about celebrating 20 years, but more about wanting to create meaningful experiences that open the door to new opportunities and connections,” she said. “We are thrilled to have many first-time crawl participants including several young artists. We are eager to go even bigger in the years to come!”

Information about all of the events can be found at