Wil Aballe Art Projects

Where there’s a Wil, there’s a way.

STORY: Alison Sinkewicz

Photo by Dennis Ha of Vanessa Brown artwork.


Let’s not start this by talking about unattainable rents in Vancouver. Instead, how about we talk about what is possible in this city? Besides, at a Wil Aballe Art Projects (WAAP) exhibit opening on a warm summer evening, sipping wine in its Strathcona courtyard, conversing with well-dressed art types, it doesn’t really feel like you are in this city.

Located on an historic East Hastings block, WAAP is a true white cube—white walls, white ceiling, white floors. It’s a somewhat ironically standard gallery setup, given that owner Wil Aballe started out hosting exhibitions in his 400-square-foot apartment. It’s not an unprecedented play, the home-to-storefront gallery, but as costs get higher and higher and the local collector pool gets smaller and smaller, Aballe’s persistence and dedication to young, conceptual artists is admirable, and certainly hard to replicate.

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