This summer, make a day of it (or evening, you get the idea) with a visit to one of these galleries as the jumping off place for what may be the best date ever. Take in an art exhibit or lively presentation, stroll onward to a nearby café or restaurant to discuss, and agree that you’ll keep fun gallery dates on rotation. Why don’t we do this more often? 

By Catherine Dunwoody

Vancouver Art Gallery has all the makings for a sophisticated city-date. Check out the Black and White and Everything In Between exhibit which is all about monochrome in a variety of mediums. With pieces by international artists like Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Anish Kapoor and more rubbing shoulders with local BC artists Mina Totino, Evan Lee, and others including Khan Lee’s welcome window project, there will be plenty to talk about over lunch afterward. The VAG’s onsite restaurant 1931 Gallery Bistro has a stunner of a patio that can hold its own against many a metropolitan art gallery’s resto. Dress up a little for this date, you’ll feel like you’re in your own movie.

CityScape Community ArtSpace on Vancouver’s North Shore has an interesting exhibit that runs July 4 until August 17 called Nostalgia For The Future. Why not plan an evening date by attending the opening reception on July 4? Can’t make that? Then sign up for the Artist Talk on July 20 in the afternoon, called Yesterday’s Tomorrow: The Art of Retrofuturism with artists Lynne Fahnestalk and Frank Casey. Since this gallery is in The Shipyards District, a summer stroll down to the pier seems prudent, and an impressive variety of restaurants to choose from will suit whatever food mood you’re in.

Audain Art Museum in Whistler always has a variety of world class art exhibits scheduled throughout the year worth checking out, but it’s the drop-in art classes we think would make a particularly fun, immersive, and ice-breaking date (especially if it’s that very first date and nerves are a little bit tingly.) The Artist Dinner Series is another option with multiple courses and a tour with the artist featured.

Adele Campbell gallery is also in Whistler Village if you want to plan your own art walk and visit there as well. Featured artist Susie Cipolla from Pemberton is showing her colourful collection of mountain wildlife paintings. Stroll up afterwards for a meal or cocktail at La Bocca.

Deer Lake Gallery in Burnaby features Alanna Irene Edwards’ as artist in residence with her experience in Indigenous arts education and unique voice speaking to generational and cultural knowledge. Her exhibit, called Where I’m From features an installation she created with her father Clayton, a series of hand-formed clay beads on sinew strung throughout the gallery space. On July 13 and 14 you can learn how to make clay beads from Alanna herself. Since the gallery is located in Deer Lake, a relaxing walk to nearby Hart House for brunch before or dinner afterward rounds out this date beautifully.

New Media Gallery in New Westminster has a fascinating installation called PneumoMechanic (breath machines) which features global artists like Ali Miharbi (Turkey), Xoán-Xil (Spain), and Cristhian Ávila Cipriani (Peru). The gallery is located inside Anvil Centre, which offers performances and film screenings so plan to check out the calendar of events for more ideas. All this art can make a person thirsty, so walk up to Steel and Oak for a pint on the patio, plus smash burgers on the weekends.

Bill Reid Gallery in downtown Vancouver has an exceptional collection of contemporary Indigenous Northwest Coast Art, and is a tribute to legendary Haida master artist, Bill Reid (1920 – 1998). Check out The Sum of All art exhibit, where Indigeneity and Blackness are explored by way of film, dance, poetry, and jewellery. The Gallery Shop is worth spending some time in, with a curated collection of artworks, jewellery, gifts, and more. 

Bill Reid Gallery – Indigenous Art

Ferry Building Gallery is located on Vancouver’s North Shore and a mixed media exhibit by artists Asta Kovanen and Marlene Lowden is on until June 30th. Titled Is this too frivolous? these offbeat pieces are sure to be the cure for any awkward date silences—there is much to unpack here. Plan to stroll along to the Beach House for a summery meal on what some say is the best beachside patio around. 

There are many ways to get to these by transit. Visit TransLink’s Trip Planner to find your way.

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