A REVITALIZED VISION
The Vancouver Art Gallery has experienced unprecedented growth in the last decade in its artistic and educational programs, as well as in its organizational capacity. And while we have accomplished much in our current space, the time has come to construct a purpose-built gallery for presenting outstanding art and educational programs for our expanding audiences.
The new Vancouver Art Gallery will drive creative innovation. More than just an art museum in a traditional sense, it will have multiple functions that collectively enhance visitors’ quality of life. Through our vision and programming, the new museum will be a gallery, library, school, playground, laboratory, theatre and community centre.
Recast to be more pragmatic, nimble, cost-effective and collaborative, the new Gallery will also be a significant leader in the areas of cultural inclusion and sustainability. A museum that reflects an Indigenous world view in its material and conceptual dimensions is long overdue, as is a major cultural organization that can model the feasibility of a green building aligned with the goals of CleanBC.
The three pathways of Indigenous Reconciliation and Redress, Environmental Leadership, and Social Development and Well-Being serve as a framework for a brighter future—one where visitors will enjoy a wide array of enhanced and inclusive exhibitions and programs as the new Gallery adopts new technologies and redesigns itself for new realities.
The new Vancouver Art Gallery will fundamentally change our ability to touch the lives of individuals through the insightful power of art.
PATHWAYS: A MUSEUM FOR THE 21ST CENTURY
THREE PATHWAYS OF THE NEW GALLERY
The new facility will be a platform that optimizes our ability to achieve our mission. It will be a transformed art museum for the 21st century by embodying three core pathways:
INDIGENOUS RECONCILIATION AND REDRESS
The new Vancouver Art Gallery will be the first and only art museum in the world built to reflect a Coast Salish world view. As the leading art museum of British Columbia, and one of the four largest art museums in Canada, our programs and planning will feature voices from numerous Indigenous communities locally, regionally, nationally and globally.
The new Gallery will be the first art museum in North America built to Passive House building standards and will be the most environmentally sustainable art museum in Canada. Its everyday operations will be a dynamic demonstration of practices that are innovative, sustainable and carbon neutral.
Recognizing that visitors embody diverse backgrounds, cultures, languages and ways of being, the new museum is not just a building or a collection of objects, but rather a space for citizens to meet, learn, exchange ideas, create connections and strengthen community. By utilizing media and digital technology, the Gallery will extend its presence through a virtual “second building” that will broadcast and share programs with students and visitors throughout British Columbia, across Canada and around the world.
The City of Vancouver has contributed the site now known as Larwill Park, on the traditional homeland of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) and səl̓ilwətaɁɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) people, for the creation of the new Vancouver Art Gallery. According to xʷməθkʷəy̓əm history, Larwill Park has always been the site of paths and trails—people have crossed this land for millennia to meet, convene and get from one place to another.
The new Vancouver Art Gallery’s mission states that “through art we create new paths to connect, inspire and empower growing audiences towards a broader understanding of the past, involvement in the present and shaping of the future.” The new Vancouver Art Gallery will embody this spirit of passage, creating pathways to move our communities physically, intellectually, spiritually and emotionally.
THE BUILDING AND ITS REACH
The new museum will create an optimal platform that is a means to an end: to provide more diverse and compelling exhibitions, public programs and learning areas including a theatre and common areas, a restaurant, a café and retail spaces that will feature local artists.
The new Vancouver Art Gallery will be designed by renowned Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron, who also designed Tate Modern, the most highly attended art museum in the world, along with local architect Perkins + Will. The plan incorporates the spirit of pathways, creating a porous environment that will invite hundreds of thousands of visitors each year to find their own paths to creativity in a generous, safe and inviting environment.
OTHER HIGHLIGHTS INCLUDE:
- Visible and safe storage that stores over 12,000 works of art in the permanent collection including countless renowned Canadian artists such as Emily Carr
- Physical home for the Institute of Asian Art, including South Asian and Central Asian works
- Four dedicated classrooms for specialized school programs and art teachings with the capacity to serve over 90,000 students each year
- Working with the Rick Hansen Foundation to ensure the design is accessible to all communities; continued partnership with VocalEye as the first museum in BC to offer blind and partially-sighted visitors a rich experience and other accessibility initiatives and partnerships
- Access to space for vulnerable populations including the Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre