Art Gallery of Southwestern Manitoba: A Cultural Gem
The Art Gallery of Southwestern Manitoba is one of the oldest art galleries in Canada.
After over a century in existence, the AGSM remains a cultural gem. Executive director, Jennifer Woodbury continues to build on its rich tradition.
This includes keeping the gallery culturally and financially strong. The founding mothers would be proud.
In 1906 Brandon was a twenty-four-year-old city that was coming of age culturally. Brandon College opened a school of music and added art classes to its liberal arts curriculum.
The following year, a group of thirty women decided to make the arts more accessible to the public and to nurture local artists. They founded the Brandon Art Club.
From the beginning the Club maintained a professional approach inspired by the Brandon College Director of Art, Henrietta Hancock Britton.
In Brandon, A Prospect of a City, author Mary Hume said that ‘’within a few years, Club membership had jumped to 200.
Members launched art education programs in city schools and organized lectures on art for the public.
The Club mentored local artists and musicians; classes in drawing, painting and art history were offered. Members also created a library of over 100 carefully selected books on the arts.’’
In 1959, the Brandon Art Club secured permanent studio and exhibition space and became known as the Brandon Allied Arts Centre.
The elegant former home of a prominent Brandon businessman, the Centre had a main floor gallery, office and ballet classroom.
Painting studios were on the second floor with pottery workrooms in the basement.
Many of the artists who taught classes, were art students, or served as director at the Centre went on to have successful careers as full time artists.
The need for a more professional space for exhibitions and art instruction led to a move in 1989 to a newly renovated public building, and a change of name to the Art Gallery of Southwestern Manitoba.
In 2000 the AGSM moved to its present location in the former Eaton’s building (Unit 2-710 Rosser Avenue).
A 23,000 square foot space was renovated to include a 4300 square foot environmentally controlled exhibition space, community access gallery, and six learning/production studios.
The Art Gallery of Southwestern Manitoba presents a new exhibition every six weeks, on average.
In the Main Gallery, a local artist is usually paired with an artist from outside Manitoba to show how local and wider concerns are related.
The Community Gallery is an exhibition space for the work of local (southwestern Manitoba) artists.
John Hampton became AGSM’s executive director in July 2016. He came to the AGSM from Trinity Square Video where he served as the Artistic Director, and the Art Museum at the University of Toronto, where he was Aboriginal Curator in Residence.
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Corner of 11th Street and Princess Avenue
The postcard shows the area sometime between 1920 and 1940.
Western Motors stood on the southwest corner of the intersection from 1926 until its demolition in 1971.
The Safeway building opposite is still standing.
Source: Peel’s Prairie Provinces, a digital initiative of the University of Alberta Libraries.
photo courtesy of Heritage Brandon
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