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Visual Artists as Entrepreneurs and Marketers
September 2013
Visual Artists as Entrepreneurs and Marketers

Audain Art Museum
June 2013
Siting an Art Museum in a Forest

Gordon Smith Gallery
November 2012
Boosting the Profile of Artists for Kids

September 2012
From glacial meltwater to contemporary art

Morris & Helen Belkin Gallery
June 2012
Professional curators of contemporary art were once as scarce as hen's teeth

Equinox Gallery
April 2012
Gallery owners have their eye on East Vancouver

Equinox Gallery
February 2012
Gallery owners have their eye on East Vancouver

Jacana Gallery
November 2011
Nothing is certain but death and taxes

Satellite Gallery
September 2011
Hope springs eternal

June 2011
The Hotel Waldorf

April 2011
Education for the eye,
soul and mind

February 2011
Fine art inkjet prints
are here to stay

November 2010
SAAG endows the old
with new possibilities

September 2010

June 2010

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Gallery Views

The Gordon Smith Gallery of Canadian Art:
Boosting the Profile of Artists for Kids


Gordon Smith Gallery of Canadian Art interior

Gordon Smith Gallery of Canadian Art exterior

In the North Vancouver park where I’m meeting Bill MacDonald, Executive Director of the Gordon and Marion Smith Foundation for Young Artists, the Guerilla Grannies have been yarn-bombing. We walk among a stand of colourfully dressed trees, towards the gleaming, floor-to-ceiling windows that curve around the entrance to the North Vancouver School District’s new Education Services Centre. Located on the main floor and mezzanine of this building is the equally new Gordon Smith Gallery of Canadian Art. Complementing the gallery is an array of studios, classrooms and offices – all designed to serve the needs of the Artists for Kids program.

The Artists for Kids Trust (AfK) was created in 1989 through the energy and vision of two North Vancouver educators, MacDonald and Ken James, who teamed up with three of the West Coast’s most acclaimed artists, Bill Reid and Jack Shadbolt (now both deceased) and Gordon Smith, now 93, to create a way of funding enriched art education in schools and the community. The idea, MacDonald explains, was that AfK would purchase works of art from Canada’s leading artists, who would then create and donate an edition of original prints, the sale of which would provide direct funding for visual arts programs for young people.

Over the past two decades, MacDonald says, “AfK has worked with over 100,000 young people, published more than 60 print editions and acquired 500 works of contemporary Canadian art.” The AfK collection ranges from Rodney Graham’s large photograph, School Yard Tree, to Takao Tanabe’s atmospheric painting, Barkley Sound, Broken Islands II, to Betty Goodwin’s mixed-media drawing, la mémoire du corps, XII, all on view in the Smith Gallery’s inaugural exhibition, AfK Teaching Collection of Canadian Art.

Designed by Paul Grant of Grant + Sinclair Architects Ltd., the gallery boasts 4,000 square feet of exhibition space, 25-foot ceilings and state-of-the-art climate control – quite a change from the old school gymnasium that previously housed and showcased the collection. The wooden door into the new gallery was carved by Rick Harry (Xwalacktun), a Coast Salish artist; this door and other First Nations art in the collection help weave the idea of gifting together with that of potlatching, MacDonald explains.

Naming of the gallery, after one of AfK’s founding artist-patrons, a beloved painter who has continued to show support and commitment for the program, puts a public face on the collection and its associated programs. And although the expanded facility enables AfK to open exhibitions to a wider community of art lovers, the focus will continue to be on school-age kids. “The one thing I’m most delighted with,” MacDonald says, “is that the name of Gordon Smith is going to be equated by young people with knowing about great Canadian art.”

The Gordon Smith Gallery is located at 2121 Lonsdale Avenue, North Vancouver, BC.


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