Lulu Speaker Series

Lulu Series hero bannerThe Lulu Series is an annual spring series of talks about Art in the City and its importance to establishing connections between citizens and their communities.

Since 2003, the City of Richmond has presented regional, national and international speakers including acclaimed artists, architects, urban planners and other cultural leaders. Previous lecture topics have included planning and placemaking, public and environmental art, art as community development, art as urban revitalization, architecture, artists’ live/work spaces and sculpture parks.

Free with registration required. Lectures are preceded by a short performance or presentation by a local artist.

About the Lulu Series: Art in the City

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. 
Previous Speakers
  • Michael Audain, BC developer, art collector, foundation founder, public art supporter and benefactor
  • 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 Johanna Hurme (5468796 architecture, Winnipeg) William Browne (Ratio Architects, Indiana), Arthur Andersson (Adersson-Wise Architects, Texas) and Chris Doray (Bing Thom, Vancouver), Mark West (Centre for Architectural Structures and Technology (C.A.S.T.), University of Manitoba) and Bing Thom.
  • Milenko Matanovic, executive director of the Pomegranate Centre, Washington
  • Lister Sinclair and Mavor Moore, Canadian cultural icons
  • 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) and Connie Watts (Port Alberni)
  • 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, yard bombing guru, Vancouver
  • Charles Blanc and Tristan Surtees, Sans facon, Calgary/U.K.
  • Paula Jardine, Community Artist, Victoria
  • Andrew Pask, Vancouver Public Space Network founder, Vancouver
  • Cath Brunner, Director of 4Culture, King County, WA
  • Richard Tetrault, muralist, Vancouver
  • Charles Montgomery, author of Happy City: Transforming our Lives Through Urban Design
  • Norman Armour, artistic and executive director, PuSh International Performing Arts Festival
  • Brian Wakelin, PUBLIC Architecture + Communication
  • Michael Rohd, Center for Performance and Civic Practice
  • Norie Sato, Visual Artist
  • David Vertesi, Founding Executive Director, Vancouver Mural Festival
  • John Patkau, Patkau Architects, Vancouver
  • Eric and Mia, Interdisciplinary Community Artists
  • Michael Henderson, Architect at HCMA Architecture + Design
  • Darren O'Donnell, Mammalian Diving Reflex (Toronto)
  • Germaine Koh, Visual Artist
  • Debra Sparrow, Indigenous knowledge keeper and weaver
  • Justin Langlois, artist, educator and writer
  • Vance Harris, Principal, Architecture, DIALOG
What's in a name? The Lulu Story Richmond is comprised of 17 separate islands located in the mouth of the mighty Fraser River on the traditional lands of the hǝn̓q̓ǝmin̓ǝm̓ speaking peoples, who fished the river ways and gathered plants and berries from its fertile shores. While Richmond’s physical landscape is shaped by its location in the river estuary, the city’s cultural landscape continues to be shaped by its inhabitants.

In the early years of European settlement, 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, whose dancing, singing and acting were revered by newspapers of the day as “chaste and beautiful.” 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.

The story goes that, 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!”

Today, Richmond is celebrated as a cosmopolitan, “edge city” with a vibrant, ethnically diverse population and a rich mix of residential, commercial, agricultural and industrial areas.

The Lulu Series, a collection of dialogues initiated by leading artists, architects and economic developers, hopes to spark conversations about the nature of our changing physical, social and cultural landscape.