Thursday, 24 January 2013

Artists Gather

"Artists and art students give something to a community that no one else can."

Ten years ago Mary-Francis was a reporter for the Westender

She wrote about how the Finning lands were just sold to build a development. The new area would be reserved for schools and art colleges. 

She knew right then and there that land values would ‘rock it’ (her words) and that this would be the most vibrant neighrbourhood in Vancouver.

So she bought in.

Now the predictions are coming true.

Mary-Francis lives on 1st and Main Street: The most happening part of town. She's been there ten years. Now the artistic developments she anticipated are front page news. Emily Carr is moving in, and you can't walk a block without running into a beard or ironic tattoo. Artists gather below Broadway, and above Terminal, on Main.

This area is called SoMa (South Main) and it's home to many media, creative and artistic people like Mary-Francis.

I caught up with Mary to ask her a few questions about SoMa. She writes for the Vancouver Sun now. I wanted to know what a creative professional like herself thought about life in SoMa.

Tell me about the best shopping on Main.

"Well, I start at 19th and Main walk up the hill. From there you will find nine or so really cool gift and fashion stores: Front and Company, Welcome Back, Welks. It's all within walking distance."

You seem to want to tell me about an awesome Yoga College.

"Prana Yoga is across the street from Great Northern Way. There are only 3 people in my class, it's really great."

You said you are really into the Art Galleries on Main. What are some of your favourites?

"Catriona Jeffries and Equinox"

So what are your favourite places to eat?

"Cranky’s CafĂ©. The Narrow Lounge. The Whip, I always go to the Whip." 

What's the best part about the area?

"It’s so close to everything. I'm in walking distance to everything I need. Nothing is more than a ten minute drive. I can be downtown in ten minutes. False creek seawall /Olymic village, it's great for children and within walking distance. I can be in Chinatown in 5 minutes. Buy-Low is a five minute walk.

Really, you don’t need anything else. Nothing that I would ever need is outside this area. It's so freakin’ walkable and convenient (her words)."

So what do you think about Evan?

There is a lot of digital media here and amazing artists. They are restless and creating. The best part about Evan is that it is basically across the street from Emily Carr.

Why do you love SoMa?

SoMa has a future of being the hipster/artist place to be. Artists and art students give something to a community that no one else can. SoMa is the most hip, young, vibrant, artist community in Vancouver.

Mary-Francis Hill is a columnist for the Vancouver Sun and a resident of SoMa.

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