10 Ways Nanaimo Art Gallery Supports Local Artists

NAG SandraSemchuk Opening highres-2-38

 At Nanaimo Art Gallery, this place—the land, our stories, our histories, cultures and communities —is at the very heart of our work, and we consider the needs of the diverse audiences we serve, our relationships with artists, and our role as a public art museum every step of the way.

In short, here are the top ten ways Nanaimo Art Gallery supports local artists...

  1. Artists from our region regularly participate in exhibitions alongside diverse artists from across Canada, the United States and abroad – our program sets local practices and perspectives in global dialogue. In 2019 and 2020, exhibitions feature works by cultural leaders and artists with deep connections to our place including Tseskinakhen Joel Good and Tseskinakhen William Good, Sheri Bakes, Tiwuxiwulh Tyrone Elliott, Sarah Robichaud, Steven Thomas Davies, Charlotte Zhang, Geraldine Manson, Nancy Turner and Sonnet L'abbe.

  2. Our programs inspire and empower the next generation of artists and ignite a life-long love of art. In a typical year, the Gallery serves over 14,000 children and youth across three school districts through TD Artists in the Schools program. We host weekly workshops for kids ages 5 to 12 at Art Lab, and we offer contemporary art programs for teens. For learners at all levels, programs foster critical thinking, develop technical skills, and build confidence in participants' unique creative capacity and their own ability to express themselves through art.

  3. The Gallery participates in local community events every year, including the Downtown Nanaimo Artwalk, the Children's Bookfest, National Indigenous Peoples Day, Miners' Heritage Picnic, the Nanaimo Pride Festival, and the Commercial Street Night Market. We support many local initiatives to celebrate and promote artists and the role of art in our lives.

  4. Artists are paid for exhibitions, talks and workshops, and often for costs associated with the production, shipping and installation of their artwork. The Gallery follows CARFAC fee guidelines - CARFAC is important for artists—learn about it at www.carfac.ca.

  5. Over 25 local artists are hired annually as instructors for TD Artists in the Schools and Art Lab programs. We also hire local graphic designers, photographers and other creative professionals who contribute to programs in different ways.

  6. The Gallery Store features work for sale by over 60 Vancouver Island artists and makers. Proceeds from The Gallery Store support the livelihood of these artists and fund Gallery programs and exhibitions.

  7. Art Lab offers amazing workshops for artists at all levels to develop their skills, and opportunities like our popular lunch-time exhibition tours engage the public in discussions about contemporary art theory and practice. The Gallery routinely organizes free artist talks and workshops, creating opportunities for local artists to meet and learn first-hand from diverse professional artists from all over.

  8. Our Curator, Jesse Birch, regularly visits artist's studios in Nanaimo and across Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands to look, learn, share ideas and give feedback. If you are interested in a studio visit, contact the Gallery.

  9. Our team is mentoring, hiring and training emerging arts professionals—we're fortunate to work with recent art school grads and students, who serve in a number of different paid roles, year-round at the Gallery. Every year, we recognize an art student from Vancouver Island University with the Nanaimo Art Gallery Award for Artistic Achievement, which includes a cash prize.

  10. The Gallery shares unique stories from Nanaimo with the world; our exhibitions and programs draw visitors from all over, and through publications, professional networks, presentations, our online presence and press coverage we're raising the profile of our community and creating a buzz about art and ideas in Nanaimo.                                                             

Our exhibition and educational programs invite you to think, engage, imagine, ask questions, see things from different angles, and be inspired. Our team of staff and volunteers are friendly, enthusiastic, and are happy to welcome you to the Gallery and share info and insights on our programs. Admission is by donation, so we invite you to connect with the Gallery regularly, and bring your friends along!

Looking forward to seeing you soon,

Carolyn Holmes
Executive Director

Image: Artist Sandra Semchuk connecting with visitors during exhibition opening A Generational Retrospective | Sandra Semchuk
February 7 - April 5, 2020

Photo by Sean Fenzl


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150 Commercial Street
Nanaimo, British Columbia

+1 (250) 754-1750
Tue - Sat: 10 - 5 PM
Sun: 12 - 5 PM



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