Events & Activities

Lulu Speaker Series

Lulu Series: Art in the City

Join us for this annual spring series of talks about Art in the City and its importance to establishing connections between citizens and their communities.

Location  Richmond City Hall Council Chambers
6911 No. 3 Road
Time  7:00 pm
Admission  Free, Seating is limited

The 2015 Series

Date Speaker

March 19, 2015

Connie Watts
Redefining Northwest Coast Art in Public Spaces

April 23, 2015

Norman Armour
Mapping a City

May 14, 2015

Johanna Hurme
Architecture Against Ambivalence

PDF Document  Click here for more information about the 2015 Lulu Series

Each event is preceded by a short performance or presentation by a local artist.

About the Lulu Series: Art in the City
Since 2003, The Lulu Series has presented regional, national and international speakers including acclaimed artists, architects, urban planners and other cultural leaders. From urban planning and place-making to art as community development and urban revitalization, the relationship between art and our urban environment is a rich and lively topic for guest speakers and audiences alike.

The objectives of The Lulu Series are:

  • to educate participants on the importance of art as a means for citizens to establish connections with their communities;
  • establish evidence that as people connect with their communities and the spaces and businesses in them, there will be an enhancement in commerce;
  • create benefits for business leaders and design professionals to proactively incorporate artistic expressions into their places of business and building designs and for politicians to promote and support this; and
  • lay challenges and establish goals for the growth of art in Richmond and other Lower Mainland communities.

Speakers have included:

  • Michael Audain, BC developer, art collector, foundation founder, public art supporter and benefactor
  • Glen Murray, former Mayor of Winnipeg, MB
  • Fred Kent, President, Project for Public Spaces, New York
  • William Cleveland, founder and director, Centre for the Study of Art and Community, Washington
  • Erling O. Mork, former CAO, City of Tacoma and urban revitalization expert, Washington
  • Architects William Browne (Ratio Architects, Indiana), Arthur Andersson (Adersson-Wise Architects, Texas) and Chris Doray (Bing Thom, Vancouver) and Bing Thom.
  • Milenko Matanovic, executive director of the Pomegranate Centre, Washington
  • Canadian cultural icons Lister Sinclair and Mavor Moore
  • Artists Patrick Dougherty (North Carolina), Konstantin Dimopoulos (Melbourne), Buster Simpson (Seattle), Stephanie Robb and Bill Pechet (Vancouver), Dennis Oppenheim (New York), Hema Upadhyay (Mumbai), Instant Coffee Collective (Vancouver), Charles Blanc and Tristan Surtees, aka Sans facon (Calgary / UK), Paula Jardine (Victoria) and Richard Tetrault (Vancouver)
  • Joanna Sykes, project manager, Chihuly Bridge of Glass, Washington
  • Tim Jones, CEO, Artscape, Toronto
  • Chris Rogers, project manager, Olympic Sculpture Park and Director of Capital Projects and Government Affairs, Seattle Art Museum
  • Barbara Lueke, 4Culture and Sound Transit, Seattle
  • Max Wyman, chair, Metro Vancouver Regional Cultural Task Force
  • Jan Gehl, urban planning expert, Gehl Architects, Copenhagen
  • Cameron Cartiere, Dean of Graduate Studies, Emily Carr University of Art+Design
  • Leanne Prain, yarn bombing guru, Vancouver
  • Andrew Pask, Vancouver Public Space Network founder, Vancouver
  • Cath Brunner, Public Art Director, 4Culture (Seattle)
  • Charles Montgomery, journalist and author of Happy City

The History of Lulu
The story of Lulu Sweet is not new to Richmond residents.

In the early years of settlement, the Royal Engineers surveying British Columbia's wilderness erected a theatre in the New Westminster district. The playhouse hosted a variety of visiting entertainers, none of whom was more beloved than Miss Lulu Sweet of San Francisco, California.

Though little is known of Miss Sweet herself, her dancing, singing and acting were revered by newspapers of the day as "chaste and beautiful." During her brief stay, she became a beloved favourite of audiences. One of her most ardent admirers was head engineer Colonel Richard Moody, who accompanied the young actress on her departure voyage from New Westminster to Victoria. As the two stood on deck, gazing at passing landmarks, Miss Sweet inquired as to the name of one large island. After replying absent-mindedly that the island, as yet, had no name, Moody—seized by a flash of inspiration—suddenly exclaimed, "By Jove! I'll name it after you!"

Hopefully, Moody's inspiration made some impression on the migrant Miss Sweet. It certainly made an impression on the island, which has been known as Lulu Island since 1863.

Like the engineer and the actress standing alongside each other, Richmond's commercial and artistic halves have long been viewed as separate entities. Today, the city has a rich opportunity to merge its separate sides, blending art and commerce together and serving as a model for the reinvention of the modern urban environment. The Lulu Series, a collection of dialogues initiated by leading artists, architects and economic developers, hopes to spark this synthesis.