SFU Woodward’s Cultural Programs’ (SFUW) is a beacon for the performing arts community in the Lower Mainland. Our vision is to enable creativity and leading-edge practices in the contemporary arts through collaborative community relationships. With support from Simon Fraser University and the generosity of our donors, SFUW supports professional cultural initiatives through dynamic partnerships, engaging the Lower Mainland’s diverse arts community and our immediate inner-city neighbours.
A rare performing arts venue in Vancouver, SFUW offers over 250 arts presentations and engages over 30,000 patrons every year.
SFU Woodward's: A Unique Legacy
Between 1993 - 2022
The Woodward's Department Store was famous for its beloved Christmas window displays, basement food floor, and the iconic "W" sign on the roof—adding a distinctive landmark to Vancouver’s skyline. Upon going bankrupt in 1993, the building sat vacant for 10 years until, in response to a housing occupation in 2022, Vancouver City Counselor Jim Green initiated the redevelopment process.
BC Government funding in 2007
In 2007 the B.C. government provided $50.3-million in funding to enable Simon Fraser University’s School for the Contemporary Arts to move into a new home on the former department store site. In addition to government funding, some of BCs leading arts supporters provided over $2 million in philanthropic support to complete the new physical building and fund the vital programs aimed at community engagement in the Downtown Eastside. SFUW’s impact on the arts community would not have been possible without the visionary support of donors like you.
During 2010 Olympics
SFU Woodward's Cultural and Community Programs (SFUW), created to develop and support public and community arts programming, opened Goldcorp Centre for the Arts in 2010 during the Vancouver 2010 Cultural Olympiad. SFUW and the Audain Gallery were lead producers of the two acclaimed Olympic signature events; Robert Lepage’s Blue Dragon and First Nation / Second Nature installation.
Since opening, SFUW has presented a wide variety of professional arts programs within the venue that exemplify the nature of SFU’s community engagement. SFUW was borne out of SFU‘s unique commitment to the Westbank Woodward’s redevelopment and its overall community engagement to professional arts, public discourse, advancing accessibility and embracing the core principle of the right to culture for all.
Today, SFUW continues to hold space as a contemporary arts presenter, commissioner, incubator and collaborator, striving to capture and reflect Vancouver’s diverse contemporary aesthetics that challenges the boundaries of creative expression.