History of Lake Country Art Gallery
The Lake Country Art Gallery is situated on the unceded territory of the Syilx (Okanagan) Peoples, Lake Country is a district municipality with a population of approximately 15,000 in the Okanagan Valley region of British Columbia, Canada. Lake Country is located halfway between Kelowna to the south and Vernon to the north.
The development of the Arts and Culture sector in Lake Country began with establishing a Public Art Committee, which then championed a public art gallery. An existing building, formerly used as a meat market, was renovated and became the Lake Country Art Gallery's current home. Officially opening in January 2010, the gallery's role is to provide high-quality art exhibitions and art experiences.
Within the Gallery building, one exhibition space presents a minimum of eight exhibitions per year. Composed of five CARFAC exhibitions, along with member/community shows and short term Pop-Up exhibitions, the gallery provides a schedule that is diverse and inclusive. This first building is also home for an office and a small but well-stocked library of art books, journals, and magazines available for research.
The operation of the Lake Country Art Gallery grew to include a second adjacent building known as the Arthouse. Here a workshop space is used for classes and community programs. alongside four individual studios rented to practising artists, and surrounded by a large garden area which supports regular outdoor arts events and activities.
These two buildings sit side by side on a busy commercial street near the high school, new middle school construction, library, and municipal office.
At the core of our operation is the gallery exhibition schedule. Supported by our Curatorial Mandate, we aim to present artwork that demonstrates a high level of excellence; that engages, challenges, and enriches our community by bringing new artists and artwork into the community from both local and distant regions. Artists and exhibitions are selected by a curator to showcase work from a wide range of artists at different stages of their careers. The remaining annual exhibitions allow the broader community to participate in open or members’ juried shows with thematic calls for art. Additional exhibition opportunities exist beyond the gallery with an outdoor mural, youth banners, and a collaborative town wall art project.
The Art House meanwhile, is the hub of our growing community engagement programs, which are an integral to the exhibition schedule at the Lake Country Art Gallery. We create and facilitate educational, innovative, and accessible events to inspire and support a broad range of interests, age groups, and skill levels. Some examples of our public programming include artists talks, educational workshops for all ages and abilities, weekly classes for special needs clients, gallery tours, art day field trips for local schools, summer camps, annual community night picnic, artisan markets, and more. The Lake Country Art Gallery's vital outreach component also offers gallery bus tours, monthly presentations in a senior care facility; art activities at community events such as Canada Day; the annual children's festival; the health & wellness/ head of the lakes event.
This year our 10th anniversary we celebrate all the accomplishments made during the first decade. An initial reliance on volunteers progressed to the current status of having four employees, which, along with increased space, has led to a professional operation. We have amazing support from the public, with high annual visitor and on-line engagement numbers. We keep our sights on future goals and through annual strategic planning are working to increase our capacity in areas of finance, space, staff, and development so we can continue to realize our mandate of providing current, meaningful exhibitions and art experiences for the public.
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