The Community Arts Council of Vancouver (CACV) was the first arts council in North America. Since its beginning in 1946, the Community Arts Council of Vancouver has been a contributor to shaping the cultural life of Vancouver. CACV has been a powerful force in creating and advocating for many of the institutions, traditions, and policies in Vancouver that we benefit from today. CACV is an independent non-profit organization, unaffiliated with any government department, which relies on public and private funding. It became a registered charity in 1967 and full financial reporting is available to the public on an annual basis.
CACV was instrumental in the creation of the Queen Elizabeth Theatre, the Vancouver Museum and Planetarium, the UBC School of Music, the first Vancouver Film Festival, and many other cultural institutions and events we take for granted. For many decades, CACV has been contributing to the cultural and community development of Vancouver by creating art projects that engage the community and facilitating, supporting, and advocating for initiatives, facilities, and programs that increase community participation in the arts. Our interests are to increase understanding of how the arts create community, grow our appreciation of our cultural differences, and engage the community in the art of developing community.
Heritage Vancouver began as a committee of CACV and separated in 1991 to become the first independent heritage group in Vancouver. It operates today as an independent, non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation of Vancouver’s built, cultural, and natural heritage.
The Community Arts Council of Vancouver played a vital role in the early preservation of and in the initiation of the heritage preservation movement. CACV also advocated for street banners, outdoor furniture, and the cherry trees that line Vancouver’s streets.
The Arts and Our Town: The Community Arts Council of Vancouver 1946–96 was written by Elizabeth O’Kiely, covering CACV’s early history and accomplishments in more detail. There are multiple copies available through the Vancouver Public Library.
Downtown Eastside of Vancouver
A major focus of CACV is to support community cultural development in the Downtown Eastside through collaborating with local artists, arts groups and community organizations.
Our Vision & Mission
CACV’s vision is of a socially-engaged, inclusive, and vibrant city alive with community arts.
CACV’s mission is to further the development of community arts throughout Vancouver.
To fulfill its mission of Creating Community Through the Arts the Council incorporates the following values:
Accountability To be transparent and responsive.
Contribution: To create opportunities for everyone to contribute and to learn.
Community: To encourage active participation and collaboration in community life.
Diversity: To be open and inclusive.
Creativity: To support the role of the artist in bringing out the creativity and the artist in everyone.
Meaning: To bring to light the beauty of people and their communities, the issues of social justice that challenge people and communities, and the opportunities for healing within our communities.