Thursday, July 29, 2010
Raw Canvas, Yaletown, Vancouver
Raw Canvas, with its mismatched wooden chairs, easels and paint, seems out of place. But Steve Merkley likes to challenge stereotypes. His first Yaletown business was a yoga studio.
And don’t be lulled into thinking that a grilled cheese sandwich is pretty pedestrian. With two kinds of artisan cheeses and sun-dried tomato marmalade, it’s anything but. And a glass of Lotusland’s organic Ortega wine was irresistible. (It was good!)
The Art of Healing
“Art is fundamental to our well being,” says Steve, “but the education system has sucked the imagination and creativity out of us. My vision for this place is built on tapping into people’s innate creativity. If you can forget about your finances, your relationship, your career for an hour or two and feel like a kid and be natural, that’s healing.”
Raw Canvas also sponsors an open mike session every Monday, a poetry reading every second Wednesday, and a band once a week. The back wall is the canvas for a performance piece, which changes every month.
Ideology and Connection
However, they’ll also share and collaborate with each other. So one month Raw Canvas in Germany will be responsible for the website and blog, while another month it will be the branch in Seattle or Montreal. They’ll share live streamings of their performance art. “I would love to have a community of 10 to 20 businesses – lines of energy, pockets of creativity, all sharing with each other,” says Steve.
Visit Raw Canvas at 1046 Hamilton Street in Yaletown if you like good food, if you want a comfortable place to sit and have a drink, if you want to paint, or if you are intrigued by their ideology. It’s a place that works on many different levels – and a welcome change from the bland conformity of multinational restaurant chains.
My thanks to Steve Merkley for taking the time to share his thoughts and dreams. And my thanks for the lunch, which was delicious.