In January, 1970 the Vancouver Art Gallery began a three-month experimental extension project at the Hastings's Park Racetrack. The Racetrack Gallery became the successful precursor to further Gallery Extension projects Stadium Gallery and Satellite Gallery that brought art activity to a variety of communities in the Lower Mainland.
In 1971, the Vancouver Art Gallery initiated Stadium Gallery, an ambitious project that took over operation of Capilano Stadium. After renovations funded in part by Vancouver City Council, Stadium Gallery opened for a summer of workshops and events under the direction of Karen McDiarmid. McDiarmid recruited Paul Wong to work with her at the Stadium Gallery, and he in turn brought with him Mainstreeters Deborah Fong, Kenneth Fletcher, Annastacia McDonald and Jeanette Reinhardt. With an Opportunity for Youth Grant to support them, the gang ran workshops in a range of subjects, including painting, life drawing, batik and tie-dye, macramé, weaving, collage, etching, photography, candle-making, leatherwork, pottery, silk screening and graphics.
Amid vandalism problems and a tough crowd, which included the Riley Park Gang, McDiarmid and her team involved the local youth in site renovations, and programs. Performances including folk, rock and world music concerts, as well as film screenings, proved popular, and the project drew over 20,000 people in its first summer. Apart from its initial success, Stadium Gallery provided the Mainstreeters with a formative first look at the active role artists could take in shaping community action, and built bridges for young artists.
The Stadium Gallery closed at the end of 1971, but the project continued under McDiarmid in other community centre locations across the city as Satellite Gallery, and the Mainstreeters continued to work with her for a time. McDiarmid became something of a mentor to the group, supporting them with opportunities and welcoming them into her home. As a successful woman working in the arts, with an admirable art collection and connections to established artists, McDiarmid introduced Ann and Paul to the Vancouver Art Gallery, and ushered them into the Matrix conference, where they would be introduced to Michael Goldberg and gain access to a Portapak camera.