Located Downtown in bustling Robson Square and housed in a stately 1911 former courthouse building (which pretty much belies what’s inside), the VAG is famous for its groundbreaking exhibits and original displays of contemporary art. Yet the museum, which was founded in 1931, is also lauded for its major pieces by Marc Chagall and a host of 17th Century Dutch painters. And then, there’s its fierce dedication to world-famous British Columbian artists, both contemporary and Post-Impressionist, resulting in the most extensive collection of works by 20th Century B.C. artist, Emily Carr, and an impressive selection by J. E. H. MacDonald and the so-called Group of Seven (Canadian landscape painters during the 1920s). VAG is not your typical art museum. It’s the kind of art museum so innovative and inspiring you cancel your plans for the rest of the afternoon.
The good: terrific exhibits. Friendly staff on hand to answer questions. Reasonably priced. The not so good: can be a little confusing to navigate. Guests may need to double-back through previous areas to ensure all exhibits are seen. The bottom line: excellent art gallery! Deserves to be experienced.
Always love this place, it is an absolutely beautiful gallery. My only complaints would be that the ushers are completely rude at end of day just throwing out the gallery guests like they are transients, and I am sick of the Emily Carr exhibition taking up valuable space that could be used for something new. We get it. Her stuff is done well but they all look the same and we have all seen her work a million times...get something new please.
Absolutely loved the Monet exhibit. Did not care for the contemporary art on level 2 or 3 but that's not quite my taste. They did have a good amount of Emily Carr on level 4. Building itself was beautiful too.
Excellent gallery for a small city. As a member I feel the turn over is pretty quick between exhibitions. Displays always well presented/curated. Nice gift shop with 10% off for members (cheap for students). Nice upscale cafe with great patio for a bite to eat or some drinks. Membership includes Fuse events (~22$). Can't wait for the new building set for construction.
I attended the Monet exhibit as well as the cafe. The problem I had was that I have to walk with a cane, and can only deal with a limited number of stairs. In order to have access to the various parts of the gallery, I had to go to the security office via a winding route, wait in line to talk to them behind people using lost and found, and then they showed me a security elevator. I was told when the elevator stopped, I was to go to the obvious door, wait until they sent the signal for it to open, and then go through it, find the next door with a security button, wait for it to open, etc., through about 4 of these situations through the back corridors of storage stuff, just to get to one place. The usual stairs people use are quite long and have no landing between floors as most long staircases do. They are made of old marble, meaning slippery. This place is not easily handicapped accessible. Because of this difficulty, I only visited the cafe (which the security method had us enter through the kitchen) and the wonderful, first floor Monet exhibit. The security people were nice, but no elevators?