BC’s Boutique Art Galleries

Discover intimate art spaces in British Columbia

Beyond the more known large-scale museums, the province is home to numerous art galleries that offer a more intimate brush with art. These smaller galleries, scattered throughout BC’s charming small towns and bustling cities, provide a platform for emerging and established artists to showcase their work in a more personal and engaging setting.

From the trendy districts of Vancouver to the quieter landscapes of Vancouver Island and the culturally rich Okanagan Valley, BC’s boutique art galleries are as diverse as the province itself. Visitors can explore an eclectic mix of contemporary pieces, indigenous art, and avant-garde installations, all within spaces that encourage a closer connection between the artwork and its audience.

 

Audain Art Museum, Whistler

From the Gathie Falk: Revelations Exhibition Credit: Audain Art Museum

If you visit Whistler, chances are you’ll notice this gem of an architectural piece. While the Audain Art Museum boasts almost 200 pieces of art and despite its size, visitors can still get an intimate look into permanent and revolving collections through their public and private tours.  The museum’s collection takes you to the late 18th century up to the present. Audain Art Museum is also home to the largest permanent display of Emily Carr’s paintings. They also include historical and contemporary Indigenous masks, and samples of Vancouver’s photo conceptualism movement. Those looking for a more in-depth experience of the museum’s carving, painting, and photography collection can do so through their private tour with docents who will guide you through the exhibitions’ historical contexts, art movements, techniques, and messages. 

The museum itself is an award winning work of art by Patkau Architects. Credit: Audain Art Museum

 

Headbones Gallery, Vernon

Credit: Headbones Gallery

Bold, fun, and explorative. You can find contemporary, experimental works in drawing, painting, sculpture and paper at the Headbones Gallery in Vernon. Their current exhibit that runs through June is a series of clay and paper works by a family of BC artists,  Marie Arcand, the late Robert Bigelow and their son Sangito Bigelow.

 

Madrona Gallery, Victoria

Credit: Madrona Art Gallery

Discover new artists at The Madrona Art Gallery in Victoria where they pride themselves in welcoming new artists and established artists alike. The gallery showcases contemporary and fine art works from established and emerging Canadian artists. You will find works from Emily Carr, members of the Group of Seven, J.W. Morrice, E. J Hughes and their contemporaries.

Apart from their current exhibition of Takao Tanabe’s original woodblock and lithograph prints, you can find an off site exhibition of select contemporary and historic fine art at the Oak Bay Beach Hotel. Those interested in their previous exhibitions can find a well-descript  archive on their website.

 

Monica Reyes Gallery, Vancouver

A new body of work from BC artist Steven Brekelmans
Credit: Rachel Topham Photography, Monica Reyes Gallery

Monica Reyes Gallery is a boutique gallery that was founded in Vancouver’s Strathcona neighbourhood in 2013, with a second location in McKenzie Heights. The boutique gallery distinguishes itself by being a strong advocate for backing and developing emerging and mid-career artists while contributing to the diversity of the Pacific Northwest’s art scene. Their current exhibit features BC-born and trained artist Steven Brekelmans, where his new body of work is described as a consideration of the relationship between the valuable and worthless through assemblage and the works of three different artists and the mixture of drawing and sculpture.

 

Roy Henry Vickers Gallery, Tofino

Credit: Roy Henry Vickers Gallery

The Roy Henry Vickers Gallery is an artist-owned gallery and a recognizable landmark in Tofino. The longhouse was built in the traditional Northwest Coast style in 1986 with the help of Vickers’ family and carver Henry Nolla. The gallery houses Vickers’ collection of artworks and prints and visitors are free to enter all year round. Don’t miss the chance to gather in the main hall for some story-telling for those eager to learn more about the artist’s life history and creative journey.