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. Full financial reporting is available to the public on an annual basis through CRA.
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 of Vancouver’s cultural institutions and events. 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 Vancouver’s citizens in the art of developing community.
Heritage Vancouver began as the Civic Arts 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 written by Elizabeth O’Kiely covers CACV’s early history and accomplishments in more detail. There are multiple copies available through the Vancouver Public Library.
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.
Our Work Now
We advance our vision in Vancouver through community arts programs that address social exclusion and accessibility to creative opportunities, Indigenous and non-Indigenous relationships, sustainability in the arts sector, and our collective resilience in the face of growing social and environmental challenges.
In fulfilling its mission the Council acts from the following values:
Empowering Community: We provide programs that encourage participation and collaboration with communities. We take the time to facilitate meaningful relationships, challenging participants to bring forward their creativity, to contribute, and to have confidence in sharing their experience. We acknowledge and support diverse communities, and the places where our work is done. We seek to connect diverse communities with one another in order to strengthen all the communities where we work.
Accessibility and Inclusion: We actively seek out and provide solutions for all individuals and groups to participate in our work. We lower barriers to participation, and support the advancement of under-represented artists. Through accessible community arts, we strive to increase equity for communities facing challenges, and wherever possible, to channel resources (both financial and otherwise) directly to communities and artists themselves.
Accountability: In all of our work, we will be transparent and responsive to community. The objective and goals of the organization, details of our strategic planning and programming, and how our activities are funded will be available for public review. Any issues which arise as a result of our activities or plans will be brought forward to the Board and action taken for full accountability,
Indigeneity: We will always be mindful of whose traditional and ancestral land we are working on. We will openly acknowledge and respect the land, and the history, of the places where our work is done. We support programs and efforts that actively foster reconciliation between Indigenous peoples and all Canadians.
Social Transformation: Our work will contribute to real and lasting changes for the better in our city. We will build tangible connections with artists and communities, and work in a way that supports the health and wellbeing of artists, organizations, and organizers. We will also share and communicate the social value of community arts as a practice for making positive improvements in the community. The work we do will reveal and explore challenges facing our communities, and offer creative practices that open up new possibilities.
Creativity: Our work will support the role of the artist in bringing out the creativity that is within everyone. We will create experiences that spark imagination, possibility, joyfulness, and hope.