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Non-Profit Highlight | Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver

This week’s Non-Profit Highlight features Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver (CAG). At HeartPress, we love sharing the community-focused work of non-profit organizations in BC.

We asked CAG’s Development Officer, Brett Clark, about CAG’s commitment to the enrichment Vancouver’s culture and about the Gallery’s upcoming projects.

Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver  — Art for Everyone

CAG is an independent, non-profit public art gallery dedicated to the research, exhibition, education and documentation of contemporary visual art as it is practiced locally through to internationally. CAG is available to all ages and continues efforts to include all ethnicities, backgrounds and new communities to Vancouver.

Photo courtesy of Four Eyes Portraits

We are excited to share our conversation with Brett Clark of CAG!

How did you get involved with CAG?

I consider myself very fortunate as a new resident to Canada to be involved (and warmly welcomed) by the arts community in Vancouver. Contributing as CAG’s Development Officer, I work alongside a dedicated team that proudly exhibits contemporary art from local and international artists that speak to values and explore issues that resonate with local communities. Moreover, we separate ourselves from fellow cultural institutions by offering our exhibition seasons and suite of accompanying programming free of charge, so that everyone can engage with contemporary art in Vancouver, nationally and abroad.

I also consider myself as a beneficiary of the work that we do. Having relocated across the globe from Melbourne, Australia, I have been able to learn and explore through art the rich and sometimes complex histories of Vancouver and the values fondly proclaimed as ‘Canadian’. Through my work I can invite local corporations, foundations and individuals to partake in exciting opportunities as together we present the very best in contemporary art to our eager and growing audience.

Describe your team and all of those involved with CAG. 

CAG has an energetic team of six full-time and three part-time staff, underpinned by a dedicated group of over fifteen volunteers who warmly greet our visitors and provide support for over 120 public and educational events produced annually. We have an esteemed Board made from professionals from varying backgrounds who share in our joy when presenting contemporary art. But most importantly are our supporters—individuals, artists and organizations who recognize the impact art can have and allowed us to grow into an international influencer, all from the humble beginnings of an artist-run centre formed in 1971. 

Photo courtesy of Four Eyes Portraits

What is a current project that your team is working on?

CAG is excited to work on two new projects in 2019 that aim to serve underrepresented and overlooked communities—with numerous levels of support available to help bring them to reality. Our first is an accessibility campaign aimed to invite members of our community with vision, hearing or accessibility barriers that prevent them from engaging in contemporary art. CAG is planning educational pilot tours and inviting participants to help us create programs tailored specifically for their community’s needs. The second is an art project that will bring to light untold and sometimes forgotten histories of Vancouver, told solely through the eyes of our seniors and elders. We’re excited to partner with local artists and a senior citizens centre in the hope to create both an exhibition and accompanying publication by end of 2019.

What challenges have you and your team overcome?

CAG is a place that has the ability to turn an uninterested person into an interested one—a challenge that is both ongoing but in which we see our greatest success. This is vital because an interested person, curious in the world and the things that surround them, become by extension a better citizen and perhaps ultimately a better person. To stimulate someone with an engaging exhibition, talk or event, to open their eyes, touch their heart—these are qualities essential to human growth. Whether we make them laugh, cry, be outraged, challenged, provoke questions or experience joy, the important thing is that they be moved—intellectually and emotionally—and that this is what we understand as education and learning, and that is what lies at the core of everything we do.

Photo courtesy of Four Eyes Portraits

How can others contribute CAG’s work?  

As we are a non-profit public gallery who provides all of our programming for free, I encourage everyone to visit as participation can sometimes be the first step in understanding the work that we do. Attend a curated tour, engage in the numerous public-art installations, learn from our national and internationally touring exhibitions, or join in celebration of an exhibition opening—nothing is stopping you. Understanding the value and benefits of art will encourage you to help in other ways, be it through volunteering or making a financial contribution to help bring new art into the world for others to learn about Vancouver, Canada and themselves. I get such personal satisfaction contributing back to my community and an even bigger thrill inviting others to help.

Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver is one of the many non-profits in our MarketPlace #BrokersOfGood.

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