UNIT/PITT Society for Art and Critical Awareness is a charitable non-profit artist-run organization located on the traditional and unceded territories of the Musqueam, Tsleil-Waututh and Squamish First Nations, in Vancouver BC. With the arrival of COVID-19 in 2020, UNIT/PITT left its space and pivoted to presenting mail art and virtual programs — including I Spy… A Disposable Camera Project, Helen’s Quarantine Cookbook, La Commune 2021 Free School & Artist Residency, and ReIssue.pub — with the intention of reopening a public gallery in the future.

Mandate
Mission
Vision
History
Staff & Board of Directors
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UNIT/PITT is honoured to receive annual assistance from the British Columbia Arts Council and City of Vancouver. Thank you Vancouver Foundation’s Systems Change Grant for supporting ReIssue.pub. Thank you Audain Foundation for supporting La Commune 2021 Artist Residency by awarding UNIT/PITT the 2020 Audain Prize. Thank you VIVO Media Arts Centre for allowing us to use the co-working office while we’re still operating remotely.

UNIT/PITT is particularly grateful to the individual donors, volunteers, artists, and cultural workers that give purpose to our programs.


Mailing address:
UNIT/PITT
PO Box 98993 Olympic PO
Vancouver, British Columbia
V5Y0J9


Mandate

UNIT/PITT is a charitable non-profit artist-run organization that supports art and critical awareness by offering the tools, space, resources, and mentorship for emerging artists and members of their neighbouring communities to engage in experimental creative work that advances a more expansive, inclusive reality for art and cultural production.

Mission

UNIT/PITT’s mission is to empower collective, cumulative action through art, resistance, advocacy, and critical awareness-raising by supporting emerging artists and their diverse communities of practice. We do this work on the ancestral, traditional, unceded, and occupied territories of the Coast Salish Peoples, and in particular, the Musqueam, Tsleil-Waututh and Squamish First Nations, in a spirit of solidarity and resistance alongside the Chinatown and Downtown Eastside Vancouver communities.

Vision

UNIT/PITT’s vision is to support the evolution of a self-reflective community of artists and activists working in a spirit of experimentation, inclusion, and critical awareness that moves us closer to a decolonized reality in which diverse lived experiences are centred and valued.

History

Over its 45+ year history, UNIT/PITT has maintained a commitment to supporting emerging artists, artist-curators and writers through a synthesis of subcultural production, visual art, D.I.Y publishing, underground music, and arts advocacy. UNIT/PITT was founded as the Helen Pitt Gallery in 1975 by students of the Vancouver School of Art (now Emily Carr University of Art + Design). Helen Pitt Gallery merged with Unit 306 Society for the Democratization of the Arts in the early 1980s, briefly adopting the name “Unit Pitt” for the first time.

In the ’80s, the gallery played a vital role in the rise of Vancouver punk around Jim Cummings and I, Braineater, which intersected with local and national political and queer art movements. UNIT/PITT was an incubator for artist projects and advocacy, publishing Issue Magazine (1983-85/2014-16), hosting Wrong Wave Festival (1984-present), helping launch the Vancouver Artists’ League and Strategies for Survival conference (1986), and contributing to the formation of the Pacific Association of Artist-Run Centres.

In the ’90s, the gallery continued to host exhibitions, performances and residencies centring queer and political themes, and incorporating more Indigenous artists and curators.

In the aughts and early 2010s, UNIT/PITT endured through several cycles of funding crises, eventually reemerging as a vocal advocate and support for emerging and student artists in the lead-up to and following the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics, which precipitated the rapid gentrification of low-income neighbourhoods where artists lived and worked, and where UNIT/PITT is based.

UNIT/PITT has shown and supported the work of dozens of local and internationally renowned names, including Jim Breukelman, Carol Sawyer, Dana Claxton, Âhasiw K. Maskêgon-Iskwêw, Stan Lake, Peter Culley, Glenn Alteen, Jayce Salloum, Joe Sarahan, Deanna Bowen, Julia Feyrer, Ron Tran, Vanessa Kwan, Raymond Boisjoly, Rebecca Brewer, Julian Hou, Cindy Mochizuki, Nicolas Sassoon, Colleen Heslin, Zoe Kreye, Patrick Cruz, Soledad Muñoz, NuZi Collective, and so many others.


UNIT/PITT is a proud member of the Pacific Association of Artist Run Centres, PAARC.