The Vancouver Art Gallery says it is establishing a special advisory group to hear what artists have to say as plans for a new replacement gallery in downtown Vancouver move forward.
The VAG wants to relocate from its Robson Street home to a city-owned block at West Georgia Street and Cambie Street. The gallery is seeking for the city to set aside the site for development of a purpose-built gallery. A report about the future of the site, a former bus depot, is expected to come before city council in February.
VAG officials today (December 13) announced the plan to create an artist advisory group to offer feedback and recommendations as the plan for the new gallery is developed. A statement to media from the gallery did not include any details about who would be involved in the group. The gallery could not be reached immediately for comment.
“It is critical to us that the voices of those who work in the visual arts are heard through this process,” VAG director Kathleen Bartels said in the statement. “Over the summer, the gallery reached out to an even wider array of arts stakeholders and institutions to continue the discussion about what the needs of the community are, and this new advisory group will ensure the needs of those who will most benefit from a new gallery will be well represented.”
The VAG’s proposal for a new gallery has already generated widespread support from the local arts community. Hundreds of people involved with the visual arts have added their names to an online letter in support of the plan.
Gallery officials argue the current gallery in the courthouse building on Robson Street is too small and the new space is needed to properly house and display the collection.
The announcement about the new advisory group comes shortly after Vancouver condo marketer Bob Rennie pitched his own idea for the future of the gallery. Rennie has proposed creating a decentralized system with several separate gallery spaces. He said his plan would cost around half as much as a new $300-million gallery.
VAG officials are also expected to release information about their business plan for the new gallery in the coming weeks.