Art Gallery of Grande Prairie

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About the Gallery

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In 1974 a group of concerned citizens began the process of establishing an art gallery in Grande Prairie. By-laws and a constitution were drawn up and submitted to the provincial government.

On June 5, 1975, The Art Gallery of Grande Prairie was established under the Societies Act of the Province of Alberta.

The Art Gallery of Grande Prairie’s first home was an old chemistry laboratory provided by the Grande Prairie Regional College. Uncertain of how long the space would be available, the Gallery decided to move to a downtown location. The Gallery stayed downtown for a few months before returning to the old chemistry lab. The chemistry lab became the home of the Art Gallery of Grande Prairie until July of 1981.

AGGP West side

After restoration, 2012.

On July 3, 1981, The Art Gallery of Grande Prairie opened in a new location. The Minister of Culture, Mary LeMessurier, cut the ribbon to open the former “Speke Hall”. The building was transformed from a dull church hall to a well-lit and spacious gallery. The rent of the facility was generously donated back to the Gallery’s operational budget by Top Realty. This move was a stepping stone for The Art Gallery of Grande Prairie. The hard work of many volunteers and the financial support of the private sector proved that the Gallery was here to stay.

The Grande Prairie High School building was declared an Historical Site by the Provincial Government in 1984. After an extensive fund raising drive, restoration and renovations to the high school location began. The Art Gallery of Grande Prairie officially opened the doors of its previous home on February 9, 1985. It is a facility with internationally recognized environmental standards and a reputation for excellence among the art community within Alberta, Canada, and other parts of the world.

In 1993, The Art Gallery of Grande Prairie was designated under Category A by the department of Canadian Heritage, due to its high standards of collections management in order to provide tax incentives for Canadians to donate works of art of outstanding significance and national importance to the Gallery. Since then 16 such works have been added to the collection and certified as Cultural Properties.

Rise Again: The Restoration of the Art Gallery of Grande Prairie

Photo: Kim Scott

On March 19, 2007 almost half of the Gallery collapsed under the heavy snow load on the roof. No one was hurt and no art work was destroyed, but every aspect of the Gallery’s service was affected by the collapse.  From May 2007 to May 2009, the Art Gallery of Grande Prairie was in a temporary location where the staff continued to provide the community with exhibitions and art classes. Our location in the historic 1929 Grande Prairie High School, despite being unexpectedly damaged, now forms the cornerstone of the new Montrose Cultural Centre.

The Art Gallery of Grande Prairie opened in it’s current location in the Montrose Cultural Centre in 2009. The collapsed building was restored allowing the Art Gallery to fully open the restored building in 2012, and continue the initial plans of connecting the 1929 building to the Montrose Cultural Centre.