Artists in Residence

Are you a practicing Indigenous artist; self-identified First Nations, Metis, or Inuit?

Are you actively engaged in your personal and professional development?

Are you willing to volunteer 8 hours per month?

Skwachays Lodge at 31 West Pender would like to hear from you!

Bachelor suites are rented at $416/month for a maximum 3 year consecutive term based on successful program participation, volunteering, and achievement of personal and professional goals. Cable, internet, and utilities are included, laundry is in-building, and all artists have 24/7 access to the shared Artist Workshop Studio. Accommodations are singles-only.  One small pet considered, sorry, no dogs. Volunteering minimum 8 hours/month in exchange for subsidy is mandatory for all artists in residence.
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In order to be considered for this unique subsidized housing program, all applicants must provide the following items along with Rental Application:

  • Professional Bio & Artistic Statement
  • Artistic Resume / CV. Max 2 pages.
  • Detailed 3 Year Personal & Professional Development Plan
  • Letter of Recommendation From Peer/Mentor in Your Artistic Milieu
  • Expression of Interest – Describe why you would like to live at Skwachays
  • Proof of Income – previous year’s Tax Assessment or recent 3 months bank statements
  • Artistic Portfolio *** Do not submit originals. Links to online portfolio preferred.
    • Visual artists: submit 6 images of recent work.
    • Video/Film/Theatre Artists: submit up to 10 minutes of recent work.
    • Literary Artists: submit 5 pages of recent work.
    • Performing Artists (Music, Comedy, Spoken Word, Dance): submit up to 10 minutes video

Easy 3 Step Process! Start Today!

Step 1 – Gather all your support material today!

Step 2 – Email with your support material. You will be sent the Rental Application.

Step 3 – Upon receipt of completed Rental Application and support material, selected applicants will be interviewed.

Application support material must show evidence of the individual artist’s dedication to craft through professional bio, artistic experience CV, portfolio examples and clearly stated expression of interest, along with letter of recommendation from peer or advisor, proof of income and a detailed three year personal and professional development plan that includes timelines and benchmarks to mark progress and successful achievement of goals.

Applicants will be chosen for interview through a competitive selection process based on

Artistic Excellence, Artistic Merit, Personal and Professional Development Plans, and Housing Need.

Applicants selected for interview will be contacted. Please, no phone calls or walk-ins. Contact us today!

Skwachàys Lodge Aboriginal Hotel and Gallery (pronounced “skwatch-eyes”) is a unique enterprise created by social housing organization,  Vancouver Native Housing Society. The building at 31 West Pender Street in Vancouver’s Chinatown/Gastown area has three entities within the facility. They are: Skwachàys Lodge; the Urban Aboriginal Fair Trade Gallery and Skwachàys Residence. The  residence contains 24 studio apartments rented to practicing Aboriginal artists who pay a minimal rent to allow them, on a three year tenancy, to develop their personal and professional skills so  that they may become ready as artists to move into market housing and develop successful careers.

Unlike the other VNHS residential buildings, there is no ongoing government subsidy associated with this building. Through the profits of the two social enterprises, Skwachays Lodge (Hotel) and the Urban Aboriginal Fair Trade Gallery, VNHS is able to provide the rental subsidy for the artist in residence. The motivation behind this practice is to provide resources for the artists to develop personally and professionally while taking advantage of the extremely low rents on a three-year fixed term tenancy.  The three-year tenancy will be made up of two 6-month probationary leases, and two one year leases up to maximum of three consecutive years. This provides the artists with the opportunity to take advantage of the low cost housing in such a way that  they are able to advance and focus on their professional artistic pursuits and career objectives.

We are grateful for the support of recent partnerships from the following organizations:

vancity-logoVancity provides funding support for the Aboriginal B.E.S.T program we offered to Artists in Residence this past October 2016 as well as providing Financial Literacy workshops, “Each One Teach One” and “Each One Grow One” respectively.


Small Business BC provided a generous scholarship to all Artists in Residence to attend their educational seminars.


Spark Joy Studios newly developed partnership with the Artists in Residence program provides artists with individualized  tutorials in developing their website and hosting.

East Van Graphics newly developed partnership with the Artists in Residence program provides discounted costs for business card printing.