Access Gallery Vancouver Artist Run Centre


Business Number: 891324394RR0001

Creating the Conditions for Emergence

Centuries ago, the word “emergent” was used to describe something rising out of a surrounding medium and coming into view. The emergent was unexpected, unforeseen, and as such, its sudden presence demanded attention. Not surprisingly, the term “emergent” is etymologically linked to “emergency.”

Since our organization’s founding in 1991, Access Gallery has played a vital role in Vancouver’s cultural realm by working to create conditions for emergence. We are a not-for-profit artist-run centre with a mission to connect our community to emergent and experimental art practices that demand and deserve our attention. We are an incubator, a platform. We support artists when they need that support the most – often early in their careers – and in the 25 years of our existence have provided important opportunities to many of Canada’s most recognized contemporary artists. 

Whether exhibitions, performances, bookworks, or conversations, our dynamic artistic programmes bring innovative and risk-taking art practices into visibility and dialogue. We search out opportunities to experiment through partnerships and collaborations – both local and international – that encourage innovation and bring together artists and communities in new ways. 

Exhibitions and Publications

Our exhibitions showcase new work across all media created by the most promising emergent artists from this region and abroad, this year including Michael Drebert (Vancouver), Rebecca Moss (London, UK), and Sikarnt Skoolisariyaporn (Bangkok). Our publications include contributions by award-winning writers and poets like Stephen Collis, Tanya Lukin Linklater, and Marguerite Pigeon.

Twenty-Three Days At Sea

An internationally recognized travelling artist residency, in partnership with Burrard Arts Foundation, the Contemporary Art Gallery and China Residencies. Twenty-Three Days at Sea offers selected emergent visual artists passage aboard container ships travelling across the North Pacific from Vancouver to Shanghai. Our residents are charged both with generating a new body of work in response to the voyage, exhibited at Access in the following months, and with creating a logbook that stands as a record of their crossing. A programme with global reach, Twenty-Three Days at Sea has been featured in The Guardian, the BBC, the Wall Street Journal, CBC, CNN, Canadian Art and e-flux.

The Foreshore

A year-long collaboration, beginning September 2016, between Ac - cess Gallery and the public art collective Other Sights for Artists’ Projects. The term “foreshore” describes the land along the edge of the water that is both submerged and revealed by the tide. The foreshore is a place of unclear jurisdiction, and thus of contestation, friction, and constant movement. It also conjures histories specific to this region: narratives of trade and exchange, habitation and nourishment, resistance and violent erasure. It might similarly evoke our contemporary lived situation as uninvited guests on unceded Indigenous land. Occupying the storefront space immediately adjacent to Access’ gallery on East Georgia Street, this series of open sessions, screenings, work-ins, mini-artist residencies, and open studios aims to generate questions inspired by the conditions of the foreshore.

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