4th Annual Public Art Competition for Powell Street Festival

Presented in partnership with Revery Architecture and Abaton Projects, students are invited to design an interactive artwork for the 43rd Anniversary Powell Street Festival, scheduled for August 3 and 4, 2019. The winning submission is awarded mentorship from Revery Architecture and Abaton Projects, and a commission and production budget to build their design.

The submission deadline is March 27 at midnight.


About Powell Street Festival

Powell Street Festival, an annual celebration of Japanese Canadian arts and culture, is the longest running community arts festival in the Lower Mainland and the largest event of its kind in Canada. The festival honours Vancouver’s original Japanese Canadian neighbourhood and provides the Vancouver community-at-large with a fully accessible, diverse, innovative, and challenging Japanese Canadian voice while encouraging a deeper sense of interconnectedness and exchange. To further interconnectedness, our annual programming includes collaborative and/or intercultural explorations within our geographic and cultural umbrella communities (including the Asian Canadian, arts and culture, and Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside communities).

Design Brief

The Competition for Powell Street Festival challenges art students to take into account civic engagement, cultural relevance, environmental sustainability and practical design limitations in the design of an interactive artwork.

The design proposal is to create a visually engaging, experiential installation or experimental spatial setting that creates opportunities for interaction at the festival site.

Interaction should be conceptualized in a multitude of ways: between the park and the neighborhood; between the designers and the various constituencies that could engage in its development, installation, and afterlife; between the history of the Japanese Canadian community in the Powell Street neighborhood and the community that resides in the neighborhood today.

Students are encouraged to work in robust design teams and to consider the site through its respective historical, cultural, and environmental layers.

Site location

The Festival site includes Oppenheimer Park (400 Powell St.) and the surrounding area (Dunlevy, Jackson and Alexander Streets). In addition to the proposed sites on the map below, alternative locations and immersive experiences will also be considered.

Site A is on the north side of the walkway across from the festival information booth.

Site B is located on the main green close to the festival information booth, the main stage, and the sumo ring.

Site C is at the corner of Cordova and Dunlevy and could mark a threshold into the park and the festival.

Site D is on the west end of Alexander Street, near the seating area.


  • design will not be constructed without certification by a structural engineer
  • there is no access to electrical power or water
  • stakes cannot be used to anchor the structure into the ground; cement blocks and tent pegs are permissible
  • site installation on Friday, August 2 (between 9 a.m. and 8 p.m.) and de-installed Sunday, August 4 after 7 PM (i.e. early installation is not possible due to security and permit restrictions)
  • use materials that reflect PSFS’s Zero-Waste commitment and limit the amount of landfill waste after the event, innovative repurposing of materials is encouraged.

Submission Requirements

  • Submit a maximum 10-page (8.5 x 11) PDF. Please exclude any reference to authorship in the PDF itself but include name of team members, faculty and institution within your email submission.
  • Include a Title, Synopsis (50 words max), Concept (250-500 words), Technical Description (250-500 words), and Budget. Illustrations, photomontage, links to multi-media files, images of maquetes are encouraged.
  • The submission is electronic; email a PDF to production@powellstreetfestival.com.


  • January 10, 2019: Competition Launch
  • March 14, 2019: deadline to submitted questions and request links to additional resources (production@powellstreetfestival.com)
  • March 27, 2019: submission deadline @ Midnight
  • April 24, 2019: winner announced
  • May 1 -July 15, 2019: development and production
  • July 15-25: documentation for PSF’s promotion
  • August 2: installation to be assembled on site
  • August 3-4: installation featured at the 43rd Powell Street Festival, Oppenheimer Park
  • Aug 4, 7 pm: deinstallation


The competition jury is comprised of:

  • Kelty McKinnon, PFS Studio
  • tk
  • plus one representative each from Revery Architecture, PSFS (Artistic Director Leanne Dunic) and Abaton Projects.


$1000 to winner(s)

In addition to a cash prize/commission, the winning Design Team will receive mentorship from Revery Architecture and Abaton Projects throughout the final design and production stages.

Production budget

TBD (estimate is $7500)

Site Map

*See site map.