Inside the Culture Crawl

East Vancouver’s annual Culture Crawl to commence this year following COVID-19 protocols

Teanna Jagdatt // Contributor
Emma Sato // Art Director

As one of East Vancouver’s most prolific arts, design, and craft festivals, the Eastside Culture Crawl has been showcasing local artists for 24 years and counting. As Artistic and Executive Director Esther Rausenberg shares, “The premise of the crawl is about public engagement, and to lose that was just like losing our heart and soul.” 

In the first few weeks of March when COVID-19 started spreading, the possibility of  cancellation shocked the fine arts community. With government grants and possible loss of sponsors, there was a large chance that this event would not take place this year. Rausenberg speaks on all the hard work contributors to the crawl have done to receive funding to keep this event going for both the people attending and for the artists who have been working passionately all year. 

The Vancouver Foundation was a big part of rescuing organizations like the Culture Crawl by providing emergency funding. This led to the creation of a “hybrid model,” which provides both online and in-person offerings. With the Crawl being offered online, virtual viewings ensure public safety as well as making it easier for artists to expand their exposure outside of Vancouver. This offers artists the opportunity to show their work globally, which could grow their social platforms and give them the exposure they need to move forward in their careers. 

“Visual arts is kind of harder to appreciate online,” Rausenberg says, explaining why it’s important to keep the keeping the in-person viewings. Because of this, the Crawl was able to have their regular viewings by adhering to arts and culture protocols provided by the provincial health authority. 

Ultimately, the artist’s work is what keeps the Crawl alive. Although a part of the social aspect is gone, the passion in their work is still expressed thoroughly. Rausenberg states, “People are realizing more and more that they need art in their lives to make them feel good.” In the times we are living in today, there is importance in standing together as a community and using outlets, like art, to keep creativity afloat. Rausenberg describes it as a reminder of how impactful art and design can be on one’s life. “Your home has become this place of refuge…I’m surrounded by beautiful art pieces that remind me of how comfortable I am in my environment.”

The Eastside Culture Crawl will be taking place virtually as a preview week on November 2-9, and in-person at various eastside locations including Columbia St., 1st Ave., Victoria Drive, and the Waterfront from Nov. 12-15 and 19-22. 

For more information on the Eastside Culture Crawl or to reserve a spot online or in-person, you can go online to

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