Surrounded by amazing landscapes and informed by a deep First Nations heritage, the art scene in Vancouver has evolved to grapple with themes like nature versus city and the totems of a modern city linked to the land. In this 2-hour Vancouver art walk with a local art historian or curator, we provide a comprehensive introduction to art in Vancouver, including First Nations art and contemporary art galleries.
Vancouver Art Walk
With a permanent collection comprising of 10,000 artworks of local and international artists, the Vancouver Art Gallery is one of Canada's premier art centers. Our walk will focus exclusively on Canadian artists, mostly from the province of British Columbia. Before the arrival of canvas and oil paints, First Nations people were already very highly skilled in art, evident in their well-known totem poles and other carving and painting works. We will also be able to see more recent representations in the works of Haida artist Robert Davidson, as well as in the work of more contemporary artists.
Emily Carr and Lawren Harris
In the first half of the 20th century many Canadian artists of European descent also gained inspiration from nature, like in the case of one of B.C.'s most beloved artists: Emily Carr. We'll explore her work, her relationship with nature and west coast First Nations art in addition to her position on the periphery of the colonial structure. This will lead us to her connections to one of the members of the famed Group of Seven, Lawren Harris, who spent considerable time in the province.
Art in Vancouver
Not all 20th century artists embraced the B.C. forests. Our visit will bring us to Vancouver’s Photoconceptualists as a deliberate counterpoint to their predecessor's work. We'll look at some works of such internationally acclaimed artists as Jeff Wall, Ian Wallace, and Roy Arden. After our time in the Art Gallery, we will explore some examples of public art. With 1% of all public building budgets going towards public art—a policy we explore further on our Vancouver Architecture Tour
—the city center has an abundance of striking murals, sculptures, and other pieces, especially amplified in the lead up to the 2010 Olympics.
After this Vancouver art walk, we'll have developed a comprehensive grasp on Canadian West Coast art, its roots in First Nations culture, and its connection to the natural surroundings, as well as how these artists figure on the global level.
Where do we meet?
Generally speaking, the walk begins at the Vancouver Art Gallery. Your confirmation email will have the exact meeting point details along with a map, and 24 hour phone number for any last minute issues.
Will you pre-purchase tickets?
Due to venue restrictions, we are unable to purchase tickets ahead of time. Your docent will help you purchase the tickets at the Vancouver Art Gallery. Ticket prices currently are $24 CAD.
Is this walk mobility friendly?
Overall, Vancouver Art Gallery is mobility friendly. Street-level access is available and open during all public hours. Wheelchairs are available to visitors on a first-come first-served basis or may be reserved in advance of your visit.