Public Artwork

Unlimited Growth Increases The Divide

Kathryn Walter, Unlimited Growth IncreasesThe Divide, 1990
Kathryn Walter, Unlimited Growth IncreasesThe Divide, 1990
Vancouver Art Gallery; Del-Mar hotel, 555 Hamilton Street, Vancouver, BC, Canada
Artwork creator(s): 
Walter, Kathryn
Text author(s): 
Walter, Kathryn
Installation year: 

The text consists of 7" copper letters installed above the entrance to the gallery.

Text of the artwork: 

Unlimited Growth Increases The Divide

Text theme: 
Political Statement

For about a decade, starting in 1981, British Columbia's power company, BC Hydro, had owned most of the block where they planned to build their new office tower. The Del Mar Hotel, owned by George Riste, occupied the only piece of land missing from their property. The Del Mar is a small, unassuming building providing clean, affordable housing to the poor. Despite all the weight brought to bear by the Hydro Goliath, including what must have been enormous amounts of money, Riste refused to sell. BC Hydro eventually had to redesign its tower and build around the hotel.



"The strategy behind "Unlimited Growth..." is direct. It is directed at those who operate our free-market economy in their own interests, while excluding those interests that would be 'responsive to the needs of the community'. The subtext to "Unlimited Growth..." relates to several aspects of public art, including the need to address the use of site-specific work as a way of intervening in local issues, and in this instance, acting as a marker of resistance by the economically marginalized, as represented by a parallel gallery and a hotel providing affordable housing. Walter raises questions related to the systems underlying the transactions and power-plays that constitute normal business in the world of real estate development. In Walter's art the museum without walls is also a museum OF walls, walls new and old, as well as those walls that perpetuate economic class distinctions. Her text on the façade of the Del-Mar Hotel will stand as a witness to the various power-plays, including the threat to move B.C. Hydro's head office to the suburb of Burnaby, that led to the development surrounding 553-555 Hamilton Street."


Source: City of Vancouver (2008). Public Art Registry.


Public Art in Vancouver. Angels Among Lions

Steil, John, Aileen Stalker (2009).  Public Art in Vancouver. Angels Among Lions. Vancouver : TouchWood Editions, p. 176