The future of Victoria’s biggest art gallery is about to be in the hands of a new artist – the public.

“Art is really a big part of the well-being of the community,” said Curator of Engagement Nicole Stanbridge of the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria.

Art gallery staff are converting one of the galleries into an interactive project space as part a new exhibition called ‘Brainstorm.’

The exhibition includes stations to make your own murals, as well as self-portraits, and an art cafe lounge complete with tea service.

Stanbridge said they’ve created the exhibit to help foster a community-wide discussion on how the gallery can move into the future.

“We’re hoping to bring the community in to brainstorm with us about the future of the gallery and the things that can happen in the gallery space in anticipation of our gallery renewal project,” said Stanbridge.

The exhibit is the first step of the art gallery’s expansion and renewal project which is expected to cost roughly $30-million and take two years to complete.

In June, the art gallery was given $6-million in funding from the provincial government.

There were discussions of moving the art gallery to a location downtown, but a decision was made to move forward with building on the current site on Moss Street.

The gallery first opened in 1951 and is now home to the largest public collection in the province with more than 20,000 works of art.

“A new building will really give us an opportunity to re-imagine the programs and exhibitions we deliver here,” Stanbridge explained.

It seems the public is ready to have their say.

“I’d like to see something that brings emotion to light,” said one person we spoke with. “Something that is very emotive and something that tells a lot about current political issues.”

“I would like them to bring in more Rembrandt paintings,” said another.

The free exhibition opens to the public on October 20 and runs until the end of February.

For more information, visit the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria. 

Ceilidh Millar