First Art Gallery in a Box Opens in Okanagan Valley: OPT Exhibition Backed by Big Business
March 19, 2015 – OKANAGAN VALLEY - Vernon Public Art Gallery opened the doors today to the Okanagan Valley’s first art gallery in a box. The shiny bright white steel shipping containers are courtesy of BigSteelBox, Canada’s leader in mobile storage solutions headquartered in Kelowna.
The Vernon Public Art Gallery is making a mark in the art world, displaying a selection of works juried from upwards of 200 international artists from 35 countries. The open juried print exhibition, the Okanagan Print Triennial, runs from now until May 21 featuring a wide array of works, from intricate wood block prints to large-scale digital images.
“We may not have the new art gallery we planned to host this international exhibition, but that hasn’t stopped business from stepping forward to help us make a big impact to the arts in Greater Vernon,” says Dauna Kennedy Grant, Executive Director.
The Okanagan Print Triennial was made possible by the support of the business community, including presenting sponsor KPMG and corporate sponsor Fraser Financial Wealth Management.
“Events such as the Okanagan Print Triennial aid in fostering local culture and assist in building a stronger and more desirable community for our clients and employees,” says Murray Smith, partner at KPMG. “KPMG’s Vernon office is a very proud supporter of the arts and the Vernon Public Art Gallery.”
The generous donation of modular buildings, supplies and services enabled the gallery to house additional works of art that would otherwise be rejected for lack of space. The temporary satellite gallery is located on the designated site for a new art gallery building.
“An inadequate facility provided us with an unique opportunity to create a new space in a vacant downtown lot to exhibit art and showcase our partners BigSteelBox and Modus Structures, in a unique way that wouldn’t normally be seen by the public,” says Kennedy Grant. “The versatility of the BigSteelBox allows us to create an art space like no other in Canada. The containers have been stacked, connected and angled in such a way that the form itself is a work of art.”
BigSteelBox’s president Jason Siebenga was enthusiastic about the project from the start. “We believe in supporting the communities where we have stores, and we’re happy to lend our support and help the gallery bring this exhibition to the Okanagan Valley and make its mark on the world’s art scene,” he says.
Inside the BigSteelBox gallery is a wall system provided by Modus Structures of Calgary.
“It is my great pleasure to participate in the creation of the pop-up gallery,” says Sean Harvey, president of Modus Structures. “I’m thankful to the Siebenga family and their team for providing a home for this innovative art show. As unique and creative as this temporary building is, I hope these steel containers serve another purpose: to draw attention to the continued lack of a modern, functional, long-term home for the Vernon Public Art Gallery.”
Kennedy Grant says the community support has been outstanding, including services donated by local trades. “Everyone from surveyors to electricians has offered their services to make this project a reality. We began this project with a gravel parking lot, then a great idea, and now we’re opening the doors to the Okanagan’s first art gallery in a box.”
Citizens of Greater Vernon and the tens of thousands of tourists visiting the Okanagan this spring can see the works of the international print makers at the BigSteelBox satellite gallery at the corner of 31 Street and 31 Avenue, as well as at the main gallery located at 3173 31 Avenue.
The Okanagan Print Triennial is a collaborative project, produced by the Vernon Public Art Gallery in collaboration with Kelowna Art Gallery and the University of British Columbia Okanagan. Visit www.vernonpublicartgallery.com for more details and a full list of businesses who contributed their services to make the project possible.