Calgary’s contemporary art galleries, informal exhibition spaces and pop-up galleries are flourishing. In a city where there is no public contemporary art museum, these venues are championing the cause. By supporting local and emerging talent, Calgary’s artistic community has established itself as a bonafide destination for purveyors of contemporary art. Here are some of the galleries that you absolutely must check out!
TRUCK Contemporary Art in Calgary (also known as The Second Story Art Society), in their own words, is a non-profit artist-run centre dedicated to the development and public presentation of contemporary art. After being founded in 1983, they have held over 500 exhibitions along with countless activities that promote the development and cultivation contemporary art. TRUCK hosts 15 exhibitions annually between two 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) that moves around the city. Apart from the exhibitions, TRUCK works with numerous nonprofit organisations and members of the arts community to present events that further add to the local and global discourse on contemporary arts.
In the midst of Calgary’s Chinatown is The New Gallery, an artist-run non-profit centre for contemporary work. It was founded in 1975 as the Clouds & Water Gallery and Visual Production Society. Today, the gallery continues its operations at two venues – the Main Space, a storefront in Calgary’s Chinatown neighbourhood, and a +15 Window, a display located at the Arts Commons building on a pedestrian walkway with plenty of foot traffic. In the gallery’s own words “both spaces are committed to the research, creation, and exhibition of social and political creative practices from artists at various stages of their careers, and giving the public an opportunity to engage with contemporary art.” Their programming includes an array of activities, including curated exhibitions, residencies, lectures, and community ventures catered to igniting an experience of contemporary art and culture for the locals and their visitors.
This family-run downtown gallery is one of Calgary’s most dynamic art spaces and home to some exceptionally good contemporary Canadian artists. Founded in 1986, Wallace Galleries Ltd strives to build a visitor’s confidence when it comes to art and arm them with a knowledge and understanding. They love to introduce and connect visitors with renowned and emerging Canadian artists in a way that is laidback and enjoyable. There’s an interesting mix of talent and works to be found in this gallery, they represent a variety of painters, printmakers, ceramicists and sculptors whose work presents exceptional quality and value.