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Realizing the Future Nanaimo Art Gallery

Creating space for arts and culture in Nanaimo

Nanaimo Art Gallery offers something for everyone. 22,000 children, youth, adults, and seniors from diverse backgrounds visit the Gallery every year to experience our exhibitions and participate in our programs.

With only one gallery space and one programming studio, Nanaimo Art Gallery’s current facility is too small. Other public art galleries in communities of a similar size have at least four times more space. Because there is only one exhibition space, there are 12 weeks each year when there is no exhibition to view while the space is changed over.

A bigger facility will have more space for programming, which means more opportunities to engage the community through art. Having more gallery spaces will mean there is always an exhibition to see, and more opportunities to share work from artists from our region and across the country.

Beyond being simply too small, the current facility was never built to be a gallery, which poses additional challenges. Nanaimo Art Gallery is housed in a former 1960s bank building and despite renovations, there are ongoing issues with the current facility that cannot be fixed, including accessibility standards for visitors, volunteers and staff. The current building also does not meet the climate and humidity controls necessary to exhibit many artworks and care for our permanent collection.

Creating a new purpose-built facility could take five years. Therefore, it is important to start the process now, before development costs increase further. The current facility is not suitable and cannot meet the needs of the current Nanaimo population. This gap will grow as our population grows and as Nanaimo becomes a thriving urban centre.

An expanded Nanaimo Art Gallery supports the goals of the City Plan: Nanaimo Reimagined. It will be more accessible and contribute to community well-being, reconciliation, representation, and inclusion. It will encourage people to visit and spend in Downtown, contributing to Nanaimo’s revitalization. An expanded Gallery will contribute to the local economy through employment and tourism. A new facility will have a café run by a local business, a bigger shop selling more local artists’ work, more programs, and multiple exhibition spaces.


Help shape the future Nanaimo Art Gallery

We need your help to build the new Nanaimo Art Gallery!

Nanaimo Art Gallery is consulting the community throughout this process. In collaboration with the consulting firm Noridicity, we have hosted round tables, interviewed stakeholders and hosted open houses to learn what you want in a new facility. Nanaimo Art Gallery is currently working with the City of Nanaimo’s Real Estate team and Snuneymuxw First Nation to review potential locations.

We’d love your support to unlock the potential of a New Nanaimo Art Gallery! Follow along with us through our social media, enews, future surveys, open houses and at community events.

Show your support for a bright future for Nanaimo Art Gallery by joining our community as a member, and donating to the gallery! We look forward to connecting with you.

The future Nanaimo Art Gallery will create space for…

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Nanaimo Art Gallery is situated in the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territory of Snuneymuxw First Nations, and we are grateful to operate on Snuneymuxw territory.



Nanaimo Art Gallery is situated in the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territory of Snuneymuxw First Nations, and we are grateful to operate on Snuneymuxw territory.