Vernon art gallery mounts exhibition in shipping containers

VERNON – The Vernon Public Art Gallery will launch an international exhibition Thursday where the display area could be considered art itself.

Lacking enough space at their existing facility, staff have gotten creative and some of the art for the Okanagan Print Triennial (OPT) will be displayed in shipping containers. The gallery has been planning this OPT exhibit for years, and had hoped it would be their first show in a new gallery space.

“That didn’t happen but the show was still coming,” says Dauna Kennedy-Grant, the gallery’s executive director.

“When we opened it up to the international stage of artists to participate, the response we got was just overwhelming.”

“We were faced with the option of either significantly downsizing the show to fit the current location or coming up with something creative.”

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Their solution came in the form of shipping containers placed on land on 31 Avenue where the gallery hopes their new space would be.

“We are really hoping that not only does this allow us to showcase our international show but it also gives the community a feel of what it is going to be like to have the art gallery here,” says Kennedy-Grant.

However, whether that will happen seems uncertain. The Regional District of North Okanagan says work on the Greater Vernon Cultural Plan is ongoing and any new projects will come out of that.

“If we take our time and make sure that we consult with the community at a deeper level and try to identify all of those needs, [then] the developments that we build down the road will really truly be of…as great a benefit to the community as they can be,” says Tannis Nelson, community development coordinator for the regional district.

But whether it is in a new art gallery or massive storage containers, the show must go on.

The exhibition opens Thursday and runs through May 21 at the Vernon Public Art Gallery’s regular space, as well as the auxiliary site.

The art gallery says they wouldn’t have been able to put together the auxiliary space without the help of businesses. The boxes themselves and various construction services were all donated.

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The regional district says it also provided a $21,700 grant for the OPT.

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