Announcing Brit Bachmann as Executive Director of UNIT/PITT

“There are few organizations on the West Coast as radical and calculatedly unpredictable as UNIT/PITT Projects, thanks to Kay’s leadership. I am excited to build on UNIT/PITT’s legacy with programming and community initiatives that interrogate the very structure and purpose of artist-run centres, and serve to support emerging artists and organizers.”
– Brit Bachmann, incoming Director of UNIT/PITT Projects

UNIT/PITT Projects’ Board of Directors is excited to announce Brit Bachmann as the organization’s new Executive Director. Bachmann is a multi-disciplinary artist and writer whose practice includes ceramics, playwriting, radio art and community organizing with a history of reinvigorating arts organizations, instigating critical public dialogue and working with diverse and emerging artists and writers. Bachmann is the outgoing Communications Coordinator for Capture Photography Festival and the Communications and Marketing Assistant at The Cinematheque.

Bachmann is well known for her inimitable work as the Editor-in-Chief at Discorder Magazine (CiTR 101.9FM) from 2015-2018 where she led a critical rebrand of the magazine, shifting its focus from music to community activism, social justice, creative writing and visual art. She prioritized Indigenous, queer, POC and women’s voices and highlighted issues around harm reduction, sexual assault, racism, accountability, labour, and housing.

In keeping with UNIT/PITT Projects’ ethos of “unruly criticality”, Bachmann will also bring her experience as a researcher on gentrification in Vancouver and the Downtown Eastside with W.W.A.S., and as a co-organizer of Bite The Hand That Feeds, a forum on art and developer money held at 221A in 2018.

Bachmann’s induction to UNIT/PITT Projects marks the end of Kay Higgins’ time as Executive Director, a position that she has held since 2010. The board is especially indebted to Higgins’ tireless work in establishing UNIT/PITT Projects as Vancouver’s leading space for radical critical discourse. Her dedicated leadership, community presence, and relentless support for emergent practices through experimental programming and rigorous publishing initiatives stand as a legacy the board wishes to recognize.

Notable projects initiated by Higgins during her tenure include UNIT/PITT Radio, the 2055 Project for UNIT/PITT’s 40 Year Anniversary, the return of Wrong Wave Festival and ISSUE Magazine, the Art  & Community Reading Group series, the Ill Repute and What Future series of commissioned works, the #tearitdown2018 poster project, and more recently the relocation of UNIT/PITT Projects to 8EAST in 2018. Bachmann’s directorship coincides with the first year of UNIT/PITT Projects’ shift to a new non-exhibition model of programming.

“I was extremely fortunate to have the support of UNIT/PITT’s board, membership, and community during my tenure as director, and of all of the artists, curators, and volunteers who agreed on the need for spaces and organizations that do something other than reproduce stale administrative models and timid culture. I’m very pleased that Brit Bachmann is now there for the Pitt’s next round of risks, transformations, challenges, and successes.”
– Kay Higgins, outgoing Director of UNIT/PITT Projects

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Call for applications: Executive Director

UPDATED: APPLICATION DEADLINE IS NOW APRIL 5, 2019

UNIT/PITT Projects is a non-profit artist run centre dedicated to the promotion of experimental contemporary art that addresses social, political, cultural and critical issues.

Founded by art students in 1975 as the Helen Pitt Gallery, the Pitt has provided crucial early-career support for hundreds of Vancouver artists, as well as presenting music, dance, and film. Since our re-launch in 2011 as UNIT/PITT Projects, the Pitt’s programme of exhibitions has been augmented by adventurous programming that did not require the four walls of a conventional gallery, including broadcasting, public processions, publishing, street posters, lectures, screenings, festivals of art bands, and performance. Building on the success of our non-gallery programming, in 2018 UNIT/PITT relocated to 8 East Pender Street and shifted its focus to supporting and presenting innovative projects by new artists, directly reaching a wider public outside of the gallery system.

URL: unitpitt.ca

General Description
The Executive Director (ED) supports the organization’s mandate and public position, and shares responsibility for the overall mission and vision with the Board of Directors. The ED also runs and maintains the shared physical space at 8 East Pender and the gallery’s relationships with donors, foundations, members, artists, patrons, stakeholders, and the general public. The ED will ensure that the core values of UNIT/PITT Projects are honoured and expressed in all of its operations: fair treatment of artists and cultural workers; support for emerging artists and emerging practices; active opposition to all forms and expressions of bigotry, oppression, and inequity; and valuing the fusion between visual art, music, dance, literature, DIY culture, critical theory and social activism.

The ED is not afraid to take risks, and has a dedication to radical critical inquiry, queer inclusiveness, gender and class consciousness, Indigenization, and racial equality. The ED should be highly motivated to pursue fundraising and grant applications, and should have extensive familiarity with local art communities. The ED is responsible for developing key connections to determine, develop,and coordinate the annual programming of UNIT/PITT Projects.

The ED is also responsible for managing all day-to-day operations, and establishing the curatorial direction and strategic planning of the organization. The ED reports monthly to the Board of Directors, providing them with budget tracking and updates on personnel, programming, and administration. The ED will be the sole staff member employed at UNIT/PITT Projects at the time of hire.

Primary Responsibilities

  • Strategic planning
  • Curatorial research
  • Working with artists and curators for the development and presentation of new projects within the presentation space at 8 EAST and beyond the physical facility
  • Financial management including budget planning and tracking, and liaising with accountant
  • Fundraising duties, including writing grant applications and reports, and donation appeals
  • Hiring and supervising the work of interns, co-op students and volunteers when applicable
  • Managing contractors, suppliers and service providers
  • Building UNIT/PITT Projects’ community reputation via networking, development and community engagement
  • Attending Board of Director meetings to provide programming and budget updates Stocking and operating the storefront and office as required

Additional Duties
May be delegated to short term staff and volunteers if resources permit.

  • Planning and hosting events
  • Communications: publicity, advertising, basic graphic design, social media, website maintenance and mailing list updates
  • Other duties as required

Qualifications

  • Exceptional communication and coordination skills
  • Proven ability to write and report on grants, manage finances and work within budgets
  • Proven ability to solicit individual donations
  • Proven success with art programming
  • Proven experience in project management and meeting deadlines
  • Detail oriented and organized
  • Public speaking and interpersonal skills
  • Critically relevant curatorial experience with knowledge of diverse communities
  • Excellent understanding of artist-run centres and non-profit policies and requirements
  • Analysis of and experience in working within social justice frameworks
  • Experience in public relations, media relations, communications and community outreach, is an asset
  • A post-secondary education in an arts related field is an asset
  • Ability to work independently
  • Ability to work flexible hours

Position Details
Position: Executive Director
Location: UNIT/PITT Projects at 8 East Pender St.
Term: Full-time, permanent 32 hours/week. Evening and weekend work as needed. Flexible schedule.
Compensation: $40,000 annual salary, 3 weeks paid vacation.
Start Date: May 1st, or as soon as position is filled
Application Deadline: Applications will be accepted until the end of the day on April 5th, 2019.

To Apply
Please forward your application as a PDF to [email protected] including:

  • Cover letter outlining your interest in this position and relevant experience
  • C.V.

Those shortlisted for an interview will be asked to share their vision for the first 6 months of programming, a writing sample, and references.

This position is subject to a six month probationary period.

UNIT/PITT Projects welcomes and encourages applications from members of under-represented groups and communities in the arts. UNIT/PITT Projects is located on unceded Coast Salish territory, including the lands belonging to the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) and səl̓ilwətaɁɬ/Sel̓íl̓witulh (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations.

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What Next?

It’s the last day of the year, and charities are sending you last-minute appeals for donations. If you would like to donate, we definitely encourage that! (And if you can’t spare a big amount, please consider a small monthly donation, which is easy to set up — we love those!) But the purpose of this post is actually a little bit different.

#tearitdown2018 “didactic panel by Unit/Pitt

In 2018, the Pitt began another transformation, from a gallery-as-platform to a platform that no longer needs a gallery.

We did this because the world around us demands more interventions by artists, and contemporary culture that can be found outside of the familiar tropes of exhibitions. Contemporary art is possibly not for everyone — it’s difficult, founded on philosophy and history that is unfamiliar to many people, and on the experimental edges it may not even be recognizable as art sometimes.

But contemporary art, and new culture in general, is needed, and artists need room to develop ideas and ways of working in order to make art. If we want to provide this room, we need to stop treating artists as independent contractors who deliver a fully-realized exhibition or project and then disappear back into the studio. And if we think that contemporary art is needed, we have to provide meaningful access to it. The passive model of putting work on the walls, opening the gallery doors, and waiting for people to arrive is inadequate for giving people meaningful access to contemporary culture.

So we’re moving beyond that. We have given a hint of what the future looks like this year, with projects like Non-Regular, the latest iteration of Wrong Wave, and #tearitdown2018, and the opening of the 8EAST social space. We’re moving out of the gallery, and reaching a larger public in new ways; we’re promoting critical awareness of social problems in a way that we hope has tangible outcomes; and we’re still UNIT/PITT, irreverent and full of surprises.

Please follow us in 2019 and see what else we have in store. One more thing: I have been director of the Pitt since 2010, and have taken it through a revival and two transformations so far, but my time is drawing to a close. We’ll be announcing a new director in early spring if everything goes well.

Thanks for your support. We hope we see you, and you see us, in 2019!

Kay Higgins, Executive Director

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New publications, fall 2018

Here’s a photo of our two most recent publications, in their habitat. WRONG WAVE 666 was produced in coordination with Wrong Wave No.6, held October 10-13, 2018. It was edited by the festival’s curator, KC Wei, and is a collage of materials, playlists, notes, writings and drawings contributed by the festival’s participants.

Terra Poirier’s Non-Regular: Precarious academic labour at Emily Carr University is an artist’s book bringing together contributions by 28 instructors and artists speaking candidly about the conditions of their labour.Precarious labour in the art university contributes to, and perpetuates, precarity in art, and enforces a destructive class system within the art world. Non-Regular has been receiving a lot of attention in the media lately, and we were happy to ship bulk orders of this book to unions and faculty associations across BC in time for Fair Employment Week and the commencement of collective bargaining.

 

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Introducing 8EAST

We’re happy to announce another phase of the Pitt’s 43-year existence. Starting today, we are working in partnership with New Orchestra Workshop Society to create and support a new social space for the production of culture, and for public access to new art, at 8 East Pender Street, until recently the location of Selectors’ Records.

UNIT/PITT has some history with this space. From 2011 to 2013, we were located in a tiny storefront just across the street; but over the past three years, many of the talks and performances we have presented were at Selectors’ Records, a shop which is greatly missed by many in the visual art and electronic music communities. In fact Selectors’ was more than a shop: it was a social space where artists came to discuss art, where visiting musicians could meet a public, and where new political, social, and aesthetic ideas could take hold. This is what an artist-run centre should aspire to be, and this recent history is very much what inspires us to take this step now.

We will be announcing our summer program of readings, community forums, and artist talks at 8EAST in the days to come. 8EAST will also be UNIT/PITT’s base for coordinating artists’ projects and public actions around the city.

Tonight (Tuesday, July 3rd at 8pm) there will be a reception to open the space featuring some  selections from UNIT/PITT’s image archives and performances of improvised music by some amazing musicians brought to us by NOW. We would be pleased to see you then, and in the days and months to come.

 

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An Announcement of Changes Coming at UNIT/PITT

UNIT/PITT Projects, one of Vancouver’s most enduring artist-run galleries, is announcing a major change in direction.

Founded by art students in 1975 as the Helen Pitt Gallery, the Pitt has provided crucial early-career support for hundreds of Vancouver artists, as well as presenting music, dance, and film. Since our re-launch in 2011 as UNIT/PITT Projects, the Pitt’s programme of exhibitions was augmented by adventurous programming that did not require the four walls of a conventional gallery, including broadcasting, public processions, publishing, street posters, lectures, screenings, festivals of art bands, and performance. Building on the success of our non-gallery programming, this spring UNIT/PITT will shift its focus to supporting and presenting innovative projects by new artists, directly reaching a wider public outside of the gallery system.

Kay Higgins, Executive Director: “We have presented a lot of excellent and memorable exhibitions over the past seven years, but many of our very best projects have been ones that didn’t actually need the inside of a gallery. We will continue our strong support of emerging and early-career artists by working closely with those artists to commission and present inventive, relevant, and rule-breaking projects that reach and engage with larger audiences than before.”

The UNIT/PITT Society for Art and Critical Awareness will be making further announcements about the specific artists we will be working with in the weeks and months to come. We thank everyone who has supported us in our most recent exhibition venue at 236 East Pender Street, including our joint venture partners in building operations, 221A Artist Run Centre.

UNIT/PITT Projects (formerly the Helen Pitt Gallery) is a non-profit artist-run centre dedicated to the promotion of experimental contemporary art that addresses social, political, cultural, and critical issues. The Pitt has been a starting point for the careers of hundreds of artists since we first opened our doors in 1975. We continue to present and foster emerging artists and emerging practices through our public programs and through internship, residency, and training programs.

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Latest development

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Karaoke Video Maker Free Store echoes: Population 101 by Glad Rags

(via Exclaim Magazine online)

Here’s something that showed up on our alerts: a video produced as part of Casey Wei’s Karaoke Video Maker Free Store residency last year is getting attention online. Here’s the finished video for “Population 101” by Glad Rags, directed by KC Wei, shot at her Karaoke Video Maker Free Store at UNIT/PITT , and recorded with Jesse Gander at Raincity Recorders in 2017.

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Final countdown for support

There are only hours left to make a donation and get a charitable receipt for the 2017 tax year!

Here are some of the things we did in 2017, with the help and support of our community. We hope you’ll consider helping us out now for a successful 2018!

  • We opened 2017 with Juan Cisneros’s epic wall drawings, done with crayons hand-made from wax and chili peppers, with an opening featuring a surprise performance by Los Dorados.
  • In April we hosted Casey Wei’s intensive video residency and Karaoke Video Maker Free Store, which brought songwriters, bands, visual artists and everyone else into the gallery. Stay tuned for a future screening of some of the results.
  • Jamey Braden’s SHE _____ THE _____ was more than an exhibition, with works appearing all around Vancouver as street posters during the late spring and early summer. There’s also an amazing book.
  • During the summer, we hosted the School of Collaboration and Invention. A group of youth (16-20) spent six weeks talking and working, resulting in a one-day exhibition and performance event titled IMMIGRATION/AF.
  • Gio Swaby’s We All Know Each Other opened in fall 2017. This series of stitched portraits became a focal point for discussions about racism and solidarity.
  • Matthew Shields’s ever-shifting sculpture Papa Was A Garbage Man will be on until January 13 once we are back from our holiday closure.
  • Through all of this, we hosted the Spectre of Fascism Free School (series I and II), a series of free talks by scholars and activists on the subject of the looming worldwide threat to freedom posed by the development of new authoritarian governments and repressive movements. We’re especially proud that our exhibitions and artists’ projects served as a backdrop for these discussions (and of the topical playlists developed by the Pitt’s Associate Director Jamie Ward). Thanks to the Institute for the Humanities at Simon Fraser University for bringing this series to us!

We did all of this and more with a budget that is tiny compared to many visual art institutions. In 2018 we’ll be moving more of our programming out of the gallery and into the streets, and moving our discussions beyond interesting ideas and into plans for action, and your support will help us bring new art and new ideas to even more people, and will make a difference to the early-career artists whose work is important for the future.

Your donation of $20 or $50 or $100 now makes a huge difference to us, to our artists, and to our audiences. And if you’re mostly broke (lots of the best people are!), please consider setting up a small monthly donation instead (you can cancel it at any time if it gets to be too much).

Thanks for your support!

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42 years

Donate Now Through CanadaHelps.org!

We need your help to keep presenting new art and new ideas, both inside and outside the gallery. Please donate, or even better set up a monthly donation that you can afford.

For the past two years or so, our front door has featured the logo you see here: the U/P lettermark with the slogan “UNRULY CRITICALITY SINCE 1975”.

What the sign means is that the Pitt has always been looking for intelligent, critical ways to interpret and interact with the world around us, and we have done that in a way that is unpredictable, hard to control, sometimes messy and sometimes disagreeable. We’re not going to stop being that way, and we can do a lot more with the support of our community of artists, cultural workers, and people who care.

Please donate now. We know there are a lot of requests this time of year — many of them from organizations and cause that we support! — but your $20 or $50 or $100 will make a huge difference to us, and to the artists we work with, and to a growing audience that deserves access to new art and new ways of looking at the city around them. If you can’t afford that all at one, your $5 or $10 or $20 a month is even better, and it’s really easy to set up an automatic repeating donation (that you can cancel whenever you need to).

We have 42 years of this glorious, erratic, rebellious institution behind us. Please join us by showing your support now, and in the decades ahead.

Donate Now Through CanadaHelps.org!

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