Calgary has recently seen an increased investment from the community into the arts scene in our city. As a result, there are now a bunch of unique spots, mini galleries, and art exhibitions scattered around the Caglary that showcase both local and national talent.
Grab a coffee and spend your day off perusing one of these well-designed spaces, which feature pottery makers, painters, artists, digital art creators, and more.
You’ll be pleasantly surprised at what you can learn, who you can meet, and all that you can see in just one afternoon – plus it’s truly a surreal experience witnessing an art piece in person while exploring the story behind it, rather than simply seeing a photo on social media.
We have rounded up a list of galleries around the city that hold some amazing local talent that is eager to be seen by the world!
What: If you’re looking for a unique metro art experience check out these new kids on the block. Branded as a gallery, shop, and studio space, you can find limited edition merchandise designed by the current exhibiting artists, along with some of their favourite brands, publications, and art that is made both in and out of their studio.
What: Nestled on the fourth floor of the Atlantic Avenue Art Block that welcomes you into historic Inglewood, the Esker is a privately funded contemporary art gallery. Here you can find exhibitions that feature painting in a contemporary art space, videos, installation, sculptural works, abstract art, and more, with an emphasis on local, regional, and international culture. It’s their goal at the foundation to create a conversation around art and its various forms and, to us at least, they are more than succeeding!
What: The Glenbow has been one of the prominent staples in Calgary’s art world for over 50 years! This space has curated a remarkable legacy within the industry, and features an array of collections that reflect the people, events, voices, and perspectives that have shaped our community. The Glenbow is aimed at telling the unique story of Calgary and Alberta, while adding in pop culture, historical influences, and remarkable visions in their ever changing exhibitions.
What: Located on the main floor of the Taylor Family Digital Library at he University of Calgary, this Gallery features three primary exhibitions that highlight the best of contemporary art in Western Canada. Browse through various modern art pieces, along with artifacts, rugs, and many other collections that are on display throughout the space.
What: Music is a beautiful form of art that has had an immense impact on the overall Calgary community, and Studio Bell is open to celebrate this legacy – it’s essentially a stationary music festival that will ignite your senses. Explore the legendary Rolling Stones Mobile Studio, a collection of musical instruments that spans over 450 years of music technology, learn about Canada’s music identity, see what the power of music has on your body, mind, and soul, and see the working spaces where artists make the magic happen. This is an interactive musical experience like no other!
What: Established in 1975, this artist-run centre now operates in two separate venues and aims to encourage public engagement with contemporary art, while also being a space that supports emerging artists at all levels of their careers. Come prepared to be amazed at the spectacular local talent that is housed within the space!
What: Come see contemporary art from across Canada and the United States that find their home on the walls of the Herringer Kiss Gallery. Each piece is bound to spark an interesting conversation, thought, or memory that will leave you thinking about your experience for days to come!
What: A +15 window, a camper, and a parade, say what? These are three of the main venues where you can find uniquely curated exhibitions, performances, installations, and interactive work all year long! TRUCK, is a non-profit artist-run contemporary art organization that has been working to enhance Calgary’s art scene since 1983. You can certainly guarantee that each time you see one of their exhibits it will be an experience like no other.
What: If you’re looking to gain inspiration for your own work, checking out the latest exhibition up at the Jarvis Hall Gallery is one way to do it. The talent that adorns the walls of this gallery in beautiful ornate frames is guaranteed to get the creative juices flowing. Plus, you will be supporting emerging and mid-career contemporary artists from around the city – it’s a win win!
What: Named one of Canada’s leading commercial art galleries, this space has helped to launch the careers of many well-known Canadian artists, such as Martin Bennet, David Hoffos, Luanne Matineau, and so many more! This gallery has taken its Calgary roots and travelled internationally for years, presenting works at art fairs throughout Germany, Australia, Spain, the USA, and, of course, various locations around Canada. Come on down and get inspired to create a space of your own that is equally as beautiful as your own life.
What: This modern art gallery began as a collaboration between various visual art partners, who merged together to create a space that would get Calgary into the international dialogue. From intriguing exhibitions to distinguished speaker series, this space will have you swooning no matter what the medium.
What: Calgary has some very unique public art that symbolically represents that storyline of our great city. Explore all of the outdoor art pieces that decorate our downtown core while also keeping an eye out for the many street galleries that seem to be popping up everywhere these days. What’s a good #OOTD post without an Instagramable wall to pair with it?
What: Exploring the unique pieces in this gallery not only supports the many contemporary Canadian artists that it contains, but also the family-run business in the heart of downtown Calgary. It’s their goal to expand your view of art and for you to appreciate the various styles and media that make up the rotating exhibitions held in this space. Here you’ll find everything from painters to printmakers to ceramicists to sculptures. Prepare to be inspired!
What: Where fashion and art truly collide! If you’re in the mood for some retail therapy and a true art experience, you have definitely come to the right place at John Fluevog’s. This space boasts custom fine furniture, an art gallery sought to amaze, and a VogVending Machine full of crafty items made by real Fluevogers. Come try on a pair of shoes and sink into the John Fluevog experience.
What: Opened in 1923, this gallery has played a huge role in shaping Calgary’s arts and cultural industries throughout its more formative years. Today you can find some of Canada’s best representational and impressionist artists filling the space. Whether you’re looking to purchase a piece of art for your home or just looking to fill your brain with creativity, this is one spot you can’t miss out on.
What: Located in the historical King Edward School, this space is simply brimming with creative talent. From 1914 when the first cadet training was held at this school right up until 2001, this space changed a lot, but ultimately it was used to educate and inspire many up-and-coming generations. Now it’s home to the cSPACE arts incubator that offers a shared space for Calgary creatives, a vibrant community, and stunning exhibitions that combine the best artists, designers, and makers that this city has to offer. As you wander the halls you’ll find yourself completely inspired by the history along with the genius that has filled up each room.
Kristy is a creative Communications and PR strategist, freelance writer, coffee enthusiast and wine connoisseur who has a strong passion for travelling, art, style and fashion. Check out her blog (FloralandBows.com) for a taste of YYC through the lens of a refined, sassy, PR girl working on being a successful #girlboss.