The Vernon Public Art Gallery is an important part of cultural tourism in the region, and is a centre for educational and cultural activities in the Okanagan. VPAG presents exhibitions featuring emerging, mid-career and established artists working in a variety of media, including paintings, sculpture, video and installation art. VPAG is the largest public gallery in the North Okanagan and offers approximately 20 exhibitions per year for public viewing. The Gallery also offers an Art Rental Program and Gallery Shop. VPAG delivers programming and events for the community including artist talks, film screenings, workshops, and signature events such as Midsummer’s Eve of the Arts, Riot on the Roof and Art After Dark.
The Vernon Public Art Gallery is a not-for-profit, charitable organization committed to fostering an appreciation of the visual arts for all members of the community. It began in 1945 when a Travelling Pictures Committee was established to display local and travelling exhibitions. In 1951, this committee formed the Vernon Art Association, which was run by local art teacher Jessie Topham Brown until 1973.
The City of Vernon transferred its collection of works by local artists to the VPAG in 1961. The collection has grown through purchases, bequests, donations, and now numbers 567 pieces. A review of the collection is in order and consideration should be made towards transferring select pieces whose value is primarily historic in nature, to the Greater Vernon Museum and Archives.
The Gallery mounted exhibitions in rented facilities until 1966, when it moved into the space now occupied by Museum storage. The Gallery was administered as a part of the GVMA until 1984 when the Topham Brown Public Art Gallery Society was formed with its own Board of Trustees. In 1990, the Gallery moved to a temporary location on 30th Street, and changed its name to the Vernon Public Art Gallery Society. The Gallery’s total space increased from under 1,000 to 2,200 sq. ft. The Gallery moved to its present location at 3228 31st Ave in 1995, and in 2004 expanded into the last available space in the building bringing the Gallery to its current size of just over 6,000 square feet. Sveva Caetani, a highly regarded local artist, donated her house to the City of Vernon for the benefit of the Vernon Public Art Gallery upon her death in 1994. After operating Caetani House for the past 14 years, the Gallery recently assisted in the development of a distinct society to manage the House and allow the Gallery to focus more on its exhibitions and programs.
A part of the community for 60+ years, the Vernon Public Art Gallery (VPAG) has successfully evolved from an amateur to a professional gallery. VPAG is the oldest art gallery in the Interior Region of British Columbia.
The Vernon Public Art Gallery will broaden its connections within the community and become a critically acclaimed regional art gallery.
The VPAG exists to connect our community to the creative presence and possibilities within the visual arts through its exhibitions and activities. (Revised 2009)
The mandate is five-fold:
• to exhibit, collect and preserve local, regional, national and international art of the highest possible standards;
• to promote visual arts in the broader community;
• to provide information, education, challenge and inspiration in the visual arts;
• to encourage appreciation of and participation in the visual arts; and
• to provide a meeting place, facility and institution for the benefit of the citizens of Greater Vernon.