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Edmonton Art Gallery

Edmonton Art Gallery.One of Edmonton's oldest art facilities will be celebrating its 80 birthday in 2004. Founded by volunteers that felt passionately about visual culture, the Edmonton Museum of the Arts, now known as the Edmonton Art Gallery (EAG) was established in 1924.

Without a space to call home, the emerging entity held a premier exhibition in the Hotel MacDonald. To do this it borrowed pieces from the National Gallery and private collections.

"Prairie with People" by Maxwell Bates.Following its first event, the EAG came to inhabit a permanent space in the Edmonton Public Library, until the room was too small to house the Gallery's ever-growing needs. Merely five years after introducing itself to the public, the Gallery had seen 25,000 people pass through its doors. By this time it had also achieved the acquisition of a rudimentary collection.

When the A. E. Candell Family and the City of Edmonton provided land and funding towards the construction of a stand-alone facility, the EAG gracefully accepted the resources and got to work. The building that currently stands as the EAG in downtown Edmonton is the materialized expression of the above contributions.

Facilitator guiding participants through the gallery.The 500 plus works that the Gallery currently holds is a vast improvement when compared to the few pieces held while forming the EAG's earliest collection. A view of the current collection reveals works created with a kaleidoscope of media and disciplines. National and international artists are represented in this permanent collection.

As for curated exhibitions, the EAG works at achieving a balance between showing historical, modern and contemporary work. In the spirit of its mission—dedication to an innovative and engaging practice in visual arts—the gallery organizes and participates in various activities that strive to place people at their centre.

"Buffer Zone" by Peter Hide.Publishing artist catalogues, hosting artist talks, lunchtime and weekend courses, symposia and workshops are all part of regular EAG happenings. Some seasonal activities include summer break camps, and After Dark, a series of events combining visual works with live music and treats.

Celebrating decades of existence, the EAG is still able to look ahead and find new ways of motivating audiences to connect with visual culture. Collaborations with fledgling organizations such as the Media Art and Design Exposed (MADE) in Edmonton Society help to bring new lifeblood to the EAG.

Featured Audio

Featured Audio

Tommy Banks speaks with Terry Fenton about the latter leaving his director position at the Edmonton Art Gallery. Listen Now

"The Book" by Mary Scott.Throughout 2003, Godzilla vs. Skateboarders provided an example of hybrids coming out of the EAG. The multi-media exhibit is based on the merge of street subculture and architectural design and brings together cultural aspects sometimes disregarded in large art galleries.

The 2005 Alberta Biennial of Contemporary Art, which the EAG will be co-organizing, speaks to the exciting events that seem to lie ahead for what was once a small and completely volunteer-run art museum.

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