Leah Jackson closes Angst Gallery after 12 years in downtown Vancouver

After 12 years of art shows, poetry readings, live music, and community events, Leah Jackson has made the decision to close Angst Gallery. The gallery has been home to the popular Ghost Town Poetry Open Mic since 2015. It has also provided a space for weddings, bike activism, private parties, writing workshops, and postcard-writing campaigns to support progressive causes. Jackson has served as a mentor to countless local artists and provided many of them an opportunity to display their work in public for the first time at Angst Gallery. The gallery has exhibited the artwork of hundreds of artists and became an essential gathering-place for the  community in the Vancouver Arts District.

In a manifesto released in 2018, Leah Jackson laid out her vision for the space: “Since its opening in 2008, Angst Gallery has hosted solo and group shows featuring more than 300 local and national artists and cultural events including art shows, musical performances, book launch parties, art talks, classes, workshops, and the monthly Ghost Town Poetry Open Mic. Every January we exhibit a Celebration of the Male Form. We also put out open calls for special shows such as the Door Show, The Chair Show, Petals, Myth-o-Logical, and Family Corvidae. We have partnered with local arts organizations including Dengerink Art Supply, Printed Matter Vancouver, Inner Light, Southwest Washington Watercolor Society, Mosaic Arts Alliance, and Art at the Cave. Angst Gallery has also participated in downtown mainstays such as Art in the Heart, Cruise the ‘Couve, and Sip and Stroll. More than just a place to show art, Angst Gallery is also a safe space for community discussion, where all people are respected for who they are. We donate the use of the space to organizations that work for human rights and progressive social change.” Other shows of note include Women Warriors, Questionable World Leaders, and a Black History Month showcase co-curated with local artist Claudia Carter.

Jackson made the decision to close Angst Gallery before the coronavirus pandemic. She is ready to move on to a new phase of her life and focus on her second business, Niche Wine Bar, which celebrates its 10th anniversary in October.

Niche has remained open during the stay-at-home order and continues to prepare meals for takeout. On June 9, as Clark County began the slow process of reopening, Niche began taking reservations for dine-in service. Niche Wine Bar has always displayed local art. Jackson dubbed the restroom The Loo-vre, which will continue to function as a gallery with a rotating roster of local artists throughout the year. Recent shows featured the work of Toni Luimbrazo Luna and Christopher Luna, co-hosts of Ghost Town Poetry Open Mic and co-founders of Printed Matter Vancouver. In August and September, The Loo-vre will feature the work of Serena Van Vranken. Jackson reminds artists that everyone who comes to Niche enters The Loo-vre eventually.

Leah Jackson would like to express her deepest appreciation to the community for all the support she received from them over the past 12 years.

Cover Photo by Erin Dengerink.

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