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10 Must-See Contemporary Art Galleries In Calgary

Picture of Lauren England
Lauren England
Updated: 23 September 2016
In the absence of a public contemporary art museum, emerging and established galleries, informal exhibition spaces and pop-up galleries are making their mark all over Calgary. Supporting local artists and emerging talents, these art venues, societies and artists’ networks are now in strong competition with Canada’s other two most populated cities, Montreal and Toronto, as destination venues for quality contemporary art.
Contemporary Calgary

Contemporary Calgary is the consolidation of Calgary’s Visual Arts Community. In December 2013, three arts societies – the Museum of Contemporary Art Calgary (MOCA), the Art Gallery of Calgary (AGC) and the Institute for Modern and Contemporary Art (IMCA) – merged their operations to form Contemporary Calgary. The new gallery provides visitors and Calgarians a significant destination venue for contemporary and modern art. Carol Ryder, Co-Chair of Contemporary Calgary, stated that ‘it is our shared vision that Contemporary Calgary can serve as the principal public visual arts destination in Calgary, and one of only a few in western Canada dedicated exclusively to contemporary and modern art. We believe our vision, based on operational excellence and innovative programming, will attract significant community support and engagement’. This merger intends to bring stability and dynamic growth to Calgary’s somewhat fragmented contemporary art scene and is a step towards creating the city’s first public contemporary art museum.

TRUK Contemporary Art

TRUK Contemporary Art, or The Second Story Art Society, was founded in 1983 as a non-profit centre run by artists and is dedicated to the development and public presentation of contemporary art. Their goal is to encourage local dialogue about contemporary art and to engage in international critical discourse through dynamic programming, experimentation and innovation. Since its inception, the society has held over 500 exhibitions, and participated in countless activities and events supporting the appreciation of contemporary arts and the development of culture within the city and nationwide. TRUK also teams up with other art groups and non-profit organisations for collaborative events and activities – the current exhibition programme of 15 annual shows is split over the different venues, eight of which are held at the main space, and others at the +15 Window and on CAMPER, a modified 1975 Dodge Empress motor-home (also known as the Contemporary Art Mobile Public Exhibition Rig).

TRUK Contemporary Art|CAMPER moves around the city. Check the website for details.

Paul Kuhn Gallery

The Paul Kuhn Gallery, founded in 1983, is a three-level warehouse covering over 7,000 square feet that has been converted into two large exhibition spaces along with two smaller areas used for paper works and private viewings. Fusing primarily contemporary Canadian art, the gallery represents emerging artists from Western Canada and mid-career and established artists from across the country. In addition to its impressive roster of Canadian artists including Catherine Burgess, Malcolm Rains, Alex Caldwell and Kuhn himself, the venue has an exciting exhibition programme of solo, group and thematic shows, including a recent solo show by internationally renowned photographer Edward Burtynsky.

Paul Kuhn Gallery, 724 11 Ave SW, Calgary, AB, Canada, +1 403 263 1162

Paul Kuhn Gallery

© Paul Kuhn Gallery

Newzones Gallery

Newzones Gallery has been part of the visual arts scene in Canada for over two decades. Now considered one of Canada’s leading contemporary art galleries and a key player in the international art community, the gallery represents prominent Albertan, Canadian and international artists alongside emerging Calgarians and established talents such as Ross Bleckner, Charles Arnoldi, Sophie DeFrancesca and Cathy Daley. Newzones’ exhibition programme focuses on process-oriented artworks, specifically those that challenge both the traditional use of materials and formal aesthetics. Over the years, Newzones has developed an extensive collection of paintings, sculpture and photo-based artworks, and a strong backing from various artists – all thanks to its exciting programme of curated exhibitions, participation in international art fairs and publishing projects.

Newzones Gallery, 730 11 Ave SW, Calgary, AB, Canada, +1 403 266 1972

Newzones Gallery

© Newzones Gallery

Webster Galleries Inc.

Family-owned and operated, Webster Galleries has been running for over 30 years. During this time, the gallery has maintained a strong commitment to providing a space where people can enjoy fine art, learn, be inspired and even bring art into their own homes. The Webster family believes that fine art can help us reconnect with our imagination and help to experience deep emotions. The 10,000 square foot gallery space is home to an extensive collection of Inuit art, oil and watercolour paintings, pencil works, stone, ceramic and bronze sculptures and hand-pulled prints, from local as well as international artists. Webster Galleries currently represents 80 artists and has two exhibition floors — one a permanent collection and the other, the Show Gallery, a changing exhibition space allowing the gallery to showcase a variety of artists and mediums.

Webster Galleries Inc., 812 11 Ave SW, Calgary, AB, Canada, +1 403 263 6500

Webster Galleries Inc

© Webster Galleries Inc

Stephen Lowe Art Gallery

The Stephen Lowe Art Gallery was opened by celebrated artist Stephen Lowe (born Lau Wan Hang) and his wife Eunice in 1970 by invitation of the Empress Hotel in Victoria, Canada. Eunice and the Lowe family opened the second Stephen Lowe Art Gallery in Calgary in 1979, four years after Stephen Lowe’s untimely death. The gallery is now directed by Lowe’s daughter Anna and her husband Allen Lam and has two informal galleries in downtown Calgary. Over the years the pair have developed the galleries and shifted their focus from oriental fine art to contemporary art by over 70 distinguished Canadian and American artists. The works on show at the gallery include original oil, acrylic, watercolour and pastel paintings and drawings, alongside an impressive collection of glass, raku, ceramic, steel, and stone sculpture.

Stephen Lowe Art Gallery Bow Valley Square III, 2nd floor (+15), Suite 251-255 5 Ave SW, Calgary, AB, Canada, +1 403 261 1602
West Market Square (by Sunterra Market), Suite 509-1851 Sirocco Dr SW, Calgary, AB, Canada, +1 403 453 1603

Stephen Lowe Art Gallery

© Stephen Lowe Art Gallery

TrépanierBaer Gallery

The TrépanierBaer Gallery was established in 1992 by Yves Trépanier and Kevin Baer. The gallery is a leading Canadian commercial contemporary art gallery specialising in the exhibition and sale of artworks by Canadian and international artists including well-known mid-career and established artists such as Vikky Alexander, Eric Cameron, Chris Cran and Evan Penny. In addition to this impressive roster, TrépanierBaer actively maintains a successful programme of exhibitions showcasing the works of young, emerging Canadian artists. The gallery has been instrumental in launching the careers of numerous critically acclaimed artists including Martin Bennett, David Hoffos, Chris Millar, Luanne Martineau, Graeme Patterson, DaveandJenn and Ryan Sluggett. The gallery exhibits regularly at international art fairs and has participated in Art Toronto since its inception in 1999.

TrépanierBaer Gallery, Suite 105-999 8 St SW, Calgary, AB, Canada, +1 403 244 2066

 

TrépanierBaer Gallery

© TrépanierBaer Gallery

Herringer Kiss Gallery

Established in 2002 by Deborah Herringer Kiss, the Herringer Kiss Gallery focuses on exhibiting contemporary fine art by emerging, mid-career and established artists from Canada and the United States. Their exhibition programme includes solo, group and thematic shows featuring works across all mediums with a focus on those that support critical dialogue about contemporary art. Through their exhibitions and work with important national and private collectors, the Herringer Kiss Gallery shows dedication to their artists represented like Mario Trejo, Eszter Burghardt, Toni Hafkenscheid and Lauren Walker. The gallery is also an active member of the Calgary community, getting involved in local events that promote local and nation-wide arts initiatives.

Herringer Kiss Gallery, 709 11 Ave SW, Calgary, AB, Canada, +1 403 228 4889

Herringer Kiss Gallery

© Herringer Kiss Gallery

Esker Foundation

The Esker Foundation, founded in 2012 by philanthropists and art patrons Jim and Susan Hill, is the largest privately funded, non-commercial young contemporary art gallery of its kind in Calgary. Esker Foundation’s vision is the ‘advancement of contemporary art through the production and presentation of innovative artistic and curatorial projects‘. Their exhibition programme features three to four exhibitions per year in the main gallery space with another four exhibitions commissioned per year for the street-level Project Space. The Project Space is an exciting alternative exhibition venue dedicated to presenting challenging, responsive projects by emerging and established artists that directly address issues in contemporary art and engage with the Inglewood neighbourhood.

Esker Foundation, 1011 9 Ave SE, Calgary, AB, Canada, +1 403 930 2490

Esker Foundation

© Esker Foundation

Gibson Fine Art

Gibson Fine Art, which got its start in founder Norma Gibson’s basement in 1970, has become a successful company providing corporate art to local businesses. In 2004, the company and the 1,000 pieces of art that went with it were bought by businesswoman and art lover Patti Dibski. Dibski brought passion back into the corporate gallery, which is now dedicated to providing a platform for multi-media emerging and established artists. The gallery is a strong supporter of the local artist community, with over half of its collection coming from Alberta-based artists. The gallery’s exhibitions are inevitably inspired by a passion for contemporary art, which shines through its commitment to promoting talented, but underrepresented artists.

Gibson Fine Art, 628 11 Ave SW #102, Calgary, AB, Canada, +1 403 244 2000

Gibson Fine Art

© Gibson Fine Art