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9 of the Best Art Galleries and Museums in Vancouver

Updated: Dec 29, 2022

As coastal seaport, Vancouver ranks as one of the most livable cities in North American. Its location near the ocean affords locals an amazing scenery that offers many opportunities for outdoor exploration. Beyond the natural beauty, Vancouver also shines brightly when it comes to its artistic community. There are various venues that celebrate artistic expression and promote it for the enjoyment of the public.

Whether you’ve moved here recently or you just simply wish to stay updated on the latest developments in the art world, we’ve put together a list of some of the best art galleries and museums in Vancouver in 2022 below:

1. Vancouver Art Gallery

As one of the most respected visual art institutions in North America, the Vancouver Art Gallery was founded in 1931. It is a non-profit organization centered on promoting ground-breaking exhibitions. It is also involved in the creation of public programs and supporting scholarship highlighting the historical and current art of British Columbia and international centers – featuring accomplishments of artists from the Asia Pacific region and the First Nation. The Vancouver Art Gallery’s programs help visual culture, architecture and design intersect, with creativity at the centre of an open and engaged world.

2. Centre A

Located in the heart of Vancouver’s Chinatown, Centre A: Vancouver International Centre for Contemporary Asian Art is a first-rate gallery and a registered charity. It is also the sole art gallery in Canada catering to the contemporary Asian artists since 1999. Their goal is to give various communities an outlet for artistic expression through thought-provoking exhibitions and public programs focusing on ethnic communities in Canada. Besides the exhibition space, the gallery also has a reading room featuring impressive collections of Asian art books, including the Finlayson Collection of Rare Asian Art Books.

3. Museum of Anthropology at UBC

Having started as a department within the Faculty of Arts at the University of British Columbia in 1949, the Museum of Anthropology (MOA) at UBC is one of Canada’s largest teaching museums. The institution showcases Indigenous art and helps to promote it in a culturally sensitive way.

Close to 50,000 works of art from all over the world have found a home here. The MOA’s exhibitions aim to strengthen the connection between art, society and community within a context that supports the expression of cultural traditions. Overall, MOA hosts about three or four exhibitions yearly, plus other events. The Native Youth Program – the longest-running training program for Indigenous high school students in British Columbia – is held every summer.

4. Douglas Reynolds Gallery

The Douglas Reynolds Gallery prides itself in showcasing historic and contemporary Northwest Coast Indigenous art. You can see pieces made of forton, bronze, glass, aluminum and other contemporary materials at the gallery – with masks, totem poles, jewelry and early historic objects among the artworks residing here.

Well-known artists such Bill Reid, Jim Hart, Beau Dick, Jay Simeon and many others’ works have been seen at the Douglas Reynolds Gallery. As it happens, pieces signed by some of these artists are now part of private and museum collections throughout the world. You can find the Douglas Reynolds Gallery in Vancouver’s South Granville gallery district.

5. Rennie Museum

The Rennie Museum takes its name from Bob Rennie, Vancouver’s famous real estate marketer who is also an avid art collector. As it happens, he boasts one of the largest art collections in the country. The Guggenheim, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Smithsonian and other famous art institutions around the world have had his collection on loan.

You can find the museum in Chinatown, but there are no permanent collections there. Current exhibitions are curated based on theme and many of them tackle stringent issues such as social justice, identity, cultural appropriation and more. Entrance is by booking only, with spots filling up weeks in advance.

6. Museum of Vancouver

Canada’s premier civic history museum, the Museum of Vancouver aims to connect the people of Vancouver and to present the city’s heritage to the world. They do this by providing a space where stories, shared experiences and objects reflecting Vancouver’s diverse communities and histories can converge.

MOV’s collection includes ethnographic, historical, archaeological, Asian studies and natural history objects. Beginning in 2009, the museum’s focus has been on promoting the city of Vancouver to the world. MOV now offers a digitized version of the collections reflecting the city’s history which can be publicly accessed.

7. Ian Tan Gallery

One of North America’s finest art venues, the Ian Tan Gallery has been promoting emerging and established Canadian artists from the west coast. You can find it in the South Granville district of Vancouver, with art mediums featuring oil paintings, drawings, sculptures and glassworks amid the beautiful high ceilings and white walls that help you better focus on the exhibits.

As the owner, Ian Tate strives to put together items that light up the room. Therefore, the gallery’s services include helping clients at a holistic level – from appraisal to framing, shipping, installation creation and rentals. Previous monthly exhibitions have featured works by Eri Ishii and William Randall. Every new exhibition opens with free reception open to the public.

8. Seymour Art Gallery

Nestled in the heart of Deep Cove, North Vancouver, the Seymour Art Gallery is a non-profit public gallery founded in 1985. The gallery sees more 25,000 visitors cross its threshold, whether it’s for exhibitions or special events.

Besides promoting their collections through exhibitions, the Seymour Art Gallery also organizes various artistic events featuring music, art demonstrations, interactive art workshops and child-friendly events. Moreover, the gallery also organizes programs for schools and activities geared at the general public as part of their mission to support the arts.

9. Vancouver Maritime Museum

The Vancouver Maritime Museum is a museum dedicated to presenting the maritime history of Vancouver, British Columbia and the Canadian Arctic and is located in Vanier Park, west of False Creek on the Vancouver waterfront. It is a family-friendly institution where you can learn about the sea and the history of various ships.

You can enjoy rotating art exhibits that showcase shipwrecks, lighthouses, warships, ship models, the Arctic and more. Moreover, the Underwater World is a perfect place for children to create and play.

Which of these museums have you already visited? Let us know in the comments section below.

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