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Discover the Blue Cabin where heritage meets contemporary art

The Blue Cabin is plugged into the Richmond Doors Open event for the first time, which will take place between June 4 and 5.

Blue Cabin, a mobile artist studio, will join Richmond’s Doors Open taking place June 4 and 5 from noon to 3 p.m.

Since the Blue Cabin floated to its new home in the Steveston Village earlier this year, people walking up and down the boardwalk have been curious about this mysterious artist’s studio that sits quietly at Imperial Landing.

Although mostly designated for artists to work in, the Blue Cabin welcomes local community members to participate in open houses, talks and workshops to learn about the region’s foreshore history and the communities connected to it.

“We want to be able to connect with audiences in Richmond and let them come in and see the space and hear the story,” said the Blue Cabin's Managing Director Anthony Meza-Wilson.

“The story is quite rich, there's a lot of facets to it,” Wilson said, looking at the patina-colour painting on the interior walls, which is authentic to the time period that the cabin was designed.

The current artist in residence Debra Sparrow, a Musqueam weaver, will be demonstrating her weaving projects during Doors Open, hoping to show audiences the beauty and integrity of her people’s history through her art.

“It is not art as you know it, but a way of life as we know it,” Debra said.

This coming Sunday, she will be holding an art event with artist Donna Grant to teach audiences how to make traditional Musqueam fishing nets from cedar sinew and tell the history of net building and fishing in the area.

“It’s a great experience to be here, because it's where my people were, and still are. But they're not visible,” she said.

Since its first artist-in-residence program Weaving on the Foreshore, which featured first nations textile artists, the Blue Cabin has been working on facilitating conversations and cross-cultural exchanges on the environment, foreshore histories, indigenous arts, and present-day issues.

During the COVID lockdown, the Blue Cabin moved its events online to continue connecting with audiences.

As COVID restrictions ease, Doors Open offers opportunities for in-person tours and activities, allowing the connection to be more “personal.”

As a floating structure, the Blue Cabin provides artists and the public with a new way to look at the city – from the water.

“Sometimes I've stayed in the evening when the sun's going down, and just to be here and watch the water and the sun together,” said Debra. “I don’t know if I want to leave.”

As a mobile artist's studio, the Blue Cabin moves around the Lower Mainland region, allowing artists to learn about different areas along the waterfront and use that to inform their practice. It will stay in the Steveston Village until 2024. 

People who can't visit the blue cabin in-person can attend the virtual event from June 2 to 5.