From July 2018-September 2020, UNIT/PITT co-managed 8EAST (8 East Pender Street, Vancouver) with the New Orchestra Workshop Society (NOW). U/P and NOW took over the space from Selectors’ Records (2015-2018) with the intention of continuing Selectors’ ethos of interdisciplinary collaboration between visual artists, musicians, writers and community members. U/P left the lease in September 2020, and NOW has continued to manage 8EAST independently.
In addition to hosting its own programs at 8EAST from 2018-2020, U/P sponsored events for independent artists, and smaller non-profit arts and social service organizations from the immediate neighbourhood. Our longest running partnerships were with Lil Comedy and Afro Van Connect’s The Black Market.
Lil Comedy is a monthly show for local emerging and visiting comedians, founded and hosted by An Te Chu, Alistair Ogden and Andrea Jin, and later An Te and Alistair exclusively. Every event features original artwork by Alyssa Hirose (Hialyssa Comics). Lil Comedy ran from September 2019-February 2020 at 8EAST. The March 2020 show was indefinitely postponed due to the pandemic, but Lil Comedy will resume at a new venue in the future.
The Black Market
The Black Market was created by Afro Van Connect, an organization that empowers the voices of African descent youth through conversation, collaboration, creation and performance. Founded by Dae Shields and Kor Kase, The Black Market at 8EAST was a showcase of art, goods, food and music by people of African descent. The market launched weekly in November 2019, monthly for December and January, and then weekly in February 2020 for Black History Month. The March market was postponed due to the pandemic, and has resumed sporadically at different venues.
From July 23-25, 2020, Afro Van Connect hosted the Black Spaces Symposium. The group has continued to grow and expand to create sustainable food programs and additional storytelling platforms for youth. To see and support their work, visit their website.