New Media Gallery Continues to Impress

Written by Desirée Leal, an Arts Council of New Westminster volunteer

From an idea first heard about on an unassuming Gulf Island ferry to its current glory, the New Media Gallery at the Anvil Centre is a gem of cultural expression and engagement in the heart of New Westminster. Barely twenty months old, this unusual exhibition space has hosted cutting edge works in new media by artists from all over the world, and has drawn crowds that rival those of Vancouver’s Contemporary Art Gallery, for attendance. Unique in its conception as well as its curatorial approach, the New Media Gallery invites audiences to participate in thought-provoking exchanges of ideas.

With backgrounds in exhibition making as well as design, art history, conservation and teaching, Director/Curators Sarah Joyce and Gordon Duggan bring the wealth of their combined experience to the realization of every show. Joyce explains that one of the most important ways the gallery serves the people of New Westminster is by providing different and surprising ways of presenting exceptional works that fuse together art and technology, while at the same time de-mystifying both. By showcasing artists that push the boundaries of what one might generally expect from a civic gallery show, the New Media Gallery is a centrepoint inspiring a sense of wonder and civic pride that radiates out into the community.

“The New Media Gallery is the civic gallery for New Westminster, there hasn’t been a civic galley before…The mayor and council and the people who built this idea were quite brave going out on a limb to decide that it would be something different…this is unique in Canada…to have a civic gallery that is focused on new media,” says Joyce.

Joyce and Duggan along with the centre’s invaluable staff and volunteers, personally guide visitors through exhibits, inviting each person or group to connect, not only with the work, but also with the artists and their processes. Each visit brings together viewer, curator and artist into a meaningful conversation about issues of relevance to our world in a straightforward way.

The gallery is completely transformed for each new exhibition, an effort undertaken with much determination and elbow grease by both staff and volunteers. From erecting earthquake resistant, soundproof walls to configuring complex electronic installations, the ingenuity and hard work involved in the installation of each exhibition, may not be readily apparent to someone on the outside, as each transformation is not only dramatic, but also utterly seamless. A visitor might be forgiven for thinking the installations just grow out of the walls and floors like trees and vines.

The New Media Gallery is set to open its ninth show, succinctly titled space_, which runs from June 23 to August 21, 2016. This group show brings together artists from the US and the UK, for a fresh look at the exploration of space, and our current and past relationship with it. Unpacking themes of nostalgia, loss, melancholy and missed opportunity, space_ promises to interrogate our place in a variety of spaces in ways that will have a profound impact on the imaginations of its visitors, drawing them into a world of beauty and curiosity with possibly, a twinge of heartache. For more information visit the website.


Youth Art in New West

Hey Art Fans!

This past Wednesday, I attended a fantastic exhibition called ARTASTIC at 100 Braid Street Studios. The exhibition was artwork of students from Urban Academy ranging from kindergarten to grade 12. It was incredible to see the many different style and disciplines of artwork and the integration of curriculums and technology into the students understanding and appreciation for art. For something that adults often dismiss as “youth art”, I was astounded at just how much the arts is integrated into the daily lives of the students of Urban Academy. Certainly a lot of credit goes to their teachers for their creativity. Way to go Ms. Spencer!

This got me thinking about all the other opportunities for “youth art” in our community. It’s everywhere and all we need to do is recognize it once and a while. Continue reading “Youth Art in New West”

Highlights for Arts Council of New Westminster

My name is Stephen, I became the Executive Director of The Arts Council of New Westminster in March of 2015.  Just before I arrived, a new board was elected at our AGM and they had all kinds of fresh new ideas. It’s my job to make them happen.  It’s got to be one of the best jobs in the city!

What’s an Arts Council?  That’s usually the first question people ask when I tell them what I do.  The answer I’ve been telling people lately is “we’re a coalition of artists and arts supporters, from the Performing arts to the Literary arts and the Visual arts.” Someday I hope we can add the Culinary Arts and even Martial Arts.

logo-nav [Converted]What is the Arts Council of New Westminster?  It’s an awesome grass roots organization with a rich 49 year history in New Westminster that was created by artists in 1967 to represent the needs and interests of artists in your community. The ACNW works to support the development of emerging artists and connects the community to artists that are established. Everyday we work infuse the arts into the daily lives of the community of New Westminster.

Continue reading “Highlights for Arts Council of New Westminster”

Finding Unexpected Culture

There are many reasons to love New Westminster. The history, the fabulous local businesses, the amazing people. And, of course, the art and culture.

New Westminster is home to thousands of artists of all genres and disciplines. We have amazing galleries, performing spaces, arts schools and more. But we are also home to some fantastic works of art that are found off the beaten path in places you just might not expect.

Vancouver Biennale

It’s hard to miss the giant W in Pier Park. This iconic art piece, titled Wow Westminster, was created by Brazilian artist Jose Recende. This piece is the third in a series of spectacular outdoor art around New West. The other two pieces, The Blue Trees- New Westminster and Public Furniture/Urban Trees-New Westminster, found around City Hall and Pier Park and on the Waterfront Esplanade respectively.

Mosaic Art Tiles

All around the City are mosaic tiles, each handcrafted and unique. The City says they have a goal to have dozens, perhaps hundreds, of mosaic art tiles that tell the history of New Westminster. For now, keep your eyes open for them in all neighbourhoods – look down!

Amelia Douglas Art Gallery and the Plaskett Gallery

While most people in New West are familiar with Douglas College and the Massey Theatre, not everyone knows that two fabulous galleries are hosted within these venerable institutions. Nestled on the fourth floor of Douglas College is the Amelia Douglas Art Gallery. The Amelia Douglas Gallery is run by members of the Arts Exhibition Committee at Douglas College. The gallery is named after the Cree wife of James Douglas, Governor of both the Colony of British Columbia and the Colony of Vancouver Island in 1858. Amelia’s animated storytelling wove the Douglas generations together.

The Plaskett Gallery was named after Joseph Plaskett. Plaskett was born in New Westminster in 1918 and raised in Sapperton. His formal training in the visual arts began when he studied at night at the Vancouver School of Art under the supervision of Ustinoff, Amess, Shadbolt and Binning. These galleries both seek to remember the inspired artistry of their namesakes with insightful and evocative shows.

Community Arts Space at Vancity Uptown Branch

The Arts Council of New Westminster administers this new public art space as a satellite gallery of our Queen’s Park home. The current exhibition by Gillian Wright will run until the end of January. Stay tuned for more ACNW administered satellite galleries around town!

VanDop off site gallery at Wild Rice Restaurant

Glorious food, a spectacular view and a rotating gallery of fabulous art curated by the indomitable Trudy Van Dop. This gallery space features two artists for a monthly exhibit space. This month, enjoy the artistic musings of Iris Low and Carole Arnston.

Arts at One at the Laura C Muir Performing Arts Theatre at Douglas College

The Arts at One series is held most Thursdays during the Fall and Winter semesters, starting at 1pm. This series features professional musicians and outstanding Douglas College music students.

Landscape “Sculptures” in the City

All around the city, workers have made what would normally be bland, boring gardens full of tulips or primulas into much more interesting and imaginative displays. Near the Rose Garden in Queens Park, at City Hall, and out front of Canada Games Pool are three great examples, but there are more around the City.

New Westminster Pier Park Memory Band

One of the most informative and interesting art installations done by the city is the memory band at the Pier Park. This long, plasma-cut steel band, installed between the sidewalk and the boardwalk, features words that represent many parts of New Westminster’s history. Check out the link for descriptions of the significance of those words.


This list is by no means exhaustive. From our Arts Gallery in Queen’s Park to the weekend buskers at River Market to the local art on the walls at our many restaurants and coffee shops, arts and culture are everywhere in New Westminster, you just need to look.