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Hidden Art Galleries in Vancouver

The Vancouver Art Gallery has its share of impressive exhibits (think the permanent Emily Carr exhibit and the Monet show which took place in summer 2017). But some very interesting works can also be found in the small galleries and studios hidden on Vancouver’s side streets and in industrial areas. Here, four that are worth a visit.

When local real estate mogul Bob Rennie was just 19, he began collecting fine art. These works, as well as others, which include pieces from established and emerging local and international artists, are now on display at The Rennie Collection in Chinatown. Housed in a brick-lined building next to his office in the Wing Sang building, the gallery is worth a visit both for the sophisticated curation and the roof-top patio.

Also located in Chinatown is Centre A (a.k.a. the Vancouver International Centre for Contemporary Asian Art). While their exhibition space features works from international Asian artists (they’ve collaborated with the National Taiwan Museum and even featured pieces by Yoko Ono!), the reading room has one of the most renowned Asian art book collections in Canada.

If you’re interested in artwork that inspires spirited discussion, then head over to UNIT/PITT on East Pender. The focus here is contemporary art that delves into cultural, political and social issues. It originally opened as the Helen Pitt Gallery over forty years ago but with a constantly changing roster of curators plus screening of digital works, the exhibits are always fresh.

Although not hidden, the Polygon Gallery at Lonsdale Quay is worth a visit. Located in a light-filled contemporary structure designed by Patkau Architects, it is an ode to local and international artists specializing in cutting-edge photography and media-based works. Do make a point of perusing the beautifully curated gift shop and of stepping out onto the waterfront patio which boasts views of Lonsdale Quay Market, of downtown and of Canada Place.