Art is everywhere you look in Vancouver, from intriguing open air installations to hidden little galleries filled with contemporary art. The art scene in Vancouver is a rich blend of different cultures, histories, and philosophies, just like the collection of people who make up this city’s diverse population. You can find art on every corner in Vancouver, with breathtaking murals painted on old brick walls and daring architectural designs being erected in the newest buildings. Indulge your appreciation for the art in Vancouver even further and check out the city’s best galleries filled with works from the most talented local and international artists.
Vancouver Art Gallery
The Vancouver Art Gallery is Vancouver’s most respected and outstanding visual art institution. They feature innovative exhibitions, offer programs for the public, and embrace both local art as well as works from around the world. A large focus is given to First Nations artists as well as those from the Asia Pacific region. As the largest art museum in Western Canada, this gallery is dedicated to providing its patrons with a meaningful connection to the world of art, from the widely popular contemporary artists to the most renowned masters of the past. Current exhibitions include Robert Rauschenberg until January 2020, Cindy Sherman until March 2020, and Emily Carr until May 2020.
Contemporary Art Gallery
Offering free admission to everyone, the Contemporary Art Gallery is an internationally acclaimed public gallery located on Nelson Street in Downtown Vancouver. They produce exhibitions, projects, community engagement programs, and events in order to provide the public with an accessible connection to contemporary visual art. They offer talks, multilingual guided tours, youth programs, and workshops, which are usually all free of charge to the public. Current exhibitions include art by Sreshta Rit Premnath and Olivia Whetung until January 2020.
Located in Vancouver’s Chinatown, Access Gallery is an artist-run centre that strives to promote creative, provocative thinking within the art community. By putting together local and international collaborations, bringing visibility to upcoming artists, and connecting artists to their audiences and community, the Access Gallery helps to support new creators when they need it the most. Their next upcoming exhibition, from December 2019 until February 2020, is Eat Your Tail, a curated collection of works by Maya Gauvin, Hayley Dawn Muir, Evan Sproat, and Chrome Destroyer.
The Rennie Museum, also located in the Chinatown district, offers free guided tours of their art exhibitions from around the world. They also provide a free education program for schools involving tours and workshops for students of all ages. The program teaches students the vocabulary of the arts, allows them to work on hands-on projects, and shows them the significant connections between Art and their other school subjects such as Science, Literature, and Social Studies. The next exhibition in this gallery opens February 2020 and will feature works by Barkley L. Hendricks and Lorna Simpson.
Bill Reid Gallery of Northwest Coast Art
Bill Reid was a master goldsmith, carver, sculptor, and community activist who came from both European and Haida descent. The Bill Reid Gallery of Northwest Coast Art honors him, his legacy, and his Northwest Coast culture. Like Bill Reid endeavored to do in life, the gallery puts its efforts into connecting Indigenous people with other communities and cultures around the world. The gallery’s current exhibition is called Royal Portrait and it features a collection of carvings, jewelry, and portraits by Morgan Asoyuf.
Catriona Jeffries is an internationally-oriented Vancouver art gallery operating out of the Downtown Eastside. The gallery was founded in 1994 and has recently moved from East Hastings Street to a new location on East Cordova Street just a few minutes away. The gallery represents a number of Canadian and international artists with current exhibitions featuring artist Christina Mackie until November 2019 and Abbas Akhavan, a Toronto-based visual artist, from November 2019 until January 2020.
West Vancouver Art Museum
Located across the Burrard Inlet in West Van, the West Vancouver Art Museum showcases the work of the most important artists, creators, and innovators. They encourage the understanding of art and culture using their collections of various works, exhibitions, and educational programs. Their current exhibition, Recollect(s) by Landon Mackenzie, will run from October until December 2019.
The Equinox Gallery can be found in a sprawling, industrial looking red brick building in Vancouver’s Strathcona neighborhood. When you step inside, you’re surrounded by crisp, clean white walls but a touch of the industrial vibe is still present with exposed pipes and beams looming overhead. The gallery focuses on contemporary art, showcasing both new up-and-comers as well as the more established and experienced artists. Recent exhibitions have included works from Gathie Falk, Devon Knowles, and BC Binning.
Cenrte A - Vancouver International Centre for Contemporary Asian Art
Centre A, the Vancouver International Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, can be found in the Chinatown district. The centre has worked with artists such as Yoko Ono, Ho Tam, and Vanessa Kwan, and collaborates with other art institutions such as the Vancouver Art Gallery and the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts. The centre houses a main exhibition space as well as a reading room with a vast collection of Asian art books. Their most recent exhibition, Everything is a façade, featured works by artists Tom Hsu and Lin Xin.
Chali-Rosso Art Gallery
Opened in 2005, the Chali-Rosso Art Gallery resides on South Granville’s Gallery Row. The gallery focuses on the most well known modern masters like Picasso, Dalí, and Chagall, also featuring the works of Rembrandt, Renoir, and Warhol. Most of the works in the Chali-Rosso Collection belong to the gallery but they also accept works of art on consignment.
Art is Everywhere in Vancouver
The art galleries in Vancouver are incredible but you don’t even need to enter a building to see thought provoking displays created by the most imaginative minds. Anyone coming to Granville Island can’t miss the massive “Giants”, painted by Gustavo and Otávio Pandolfo on the 6 concrete silos that line the False Creek Waterfront. Driving past the geodesic dome of Science World you’ll see a strange stack of cars, the “Trans Am Totem” by Marcus Bowcott. To really lift your spirits, check out the joyous bronze figures of Yue Minjun’s “A-maze-ing Laughter” in English Bay. These are only a small handful of the many open air art installations you’ll come across while exploring the city. There are odd and interesting pieces in every neighborhood of Vancouver, beautifying the city and also encouraging creative and critical thought amongst the public.