The Evolution of Gallery 2: Art and Heritage Centre

gfaIn 1982, the Grand Forks Area Arts Council hosted the Kootenay/Boundary Regional Juried Art Exhibition in the unfinished space beneath the newly constructed library. Following the success of this first exhibition it became clear that a more permanent art gallery would be possible.

With the encouragement and support of City Council, an enthusiastic Arts Council, and founding Director Richard Reid and Curator Beverley Reid’s untiring contributions in concept, design and construction, this location became the home of the Grand Forks Art Gallery. Following the official opening in June, 1984 this site continued to serve the community for the next twenty-four years, hosting more than four hundred and fifty exhibitions and developing an ever-growing Permanent Collection representing regional, national, and international artists documenting and preserving art history and cultural heritage.

In 2008 the Grand Forks Art Gallery moved to its present venue in the former provincial courthouse building. As this location is a community landmark of historical importance, the City of Grand Forks asked the Grand Forks Art Gallery Society to expand its mandate to include heritage programming. The Board agreed and the transition from Grand Forks Art Gallery to Gallery 2: Grand Forks and District Art and Heritage Centre began. The name Gallery 2 was chosen as being reflective both of the Gallery’s second location and its dual function of serving both art and heritage exhibition functions.

Thanks to the ongoing support of its members, the community, City Council, and the Regional District, as well as Provincial and Federal funding, Gallery 2 provides visual arts and heritage exhibitions, educational programming, and special events. The establishment of an Endowment Fund in 1994 helps to insure long term funding and growth with proceeds directed to exhibitions and programming.

The former Grand Forks Provincial Courthouse building is now home to Gallery 2 Art and Heritage Centre. Officially completed in 1912, the Grand Forks Provincial Court House was designedby architects R.F. Lawrence and Robert McIntosh. The architectural specifications for the building relied heavily on local materials. All lumber was to be procured locally. The iron fence surrrounding the building was fabricated by local blacksmith Mr Mooybauer. All of the exterior brick was manufactured in BC and the white marble stone trim was purchased from a quarry near Grand Forks.

Due to the development of electrical air circulation systems, the building was the first of its kind to have the courtroom located in the middle of the upper floor. This was a highly desirable feature as it eliminated external noise during proceedings.

The Grand Forks Art Gallery Society prides itself on presenting a diverse assortment of contemporary art exhibitions including selections from its own collection. The heritage galleries provide a permanent pictoral heritage display presenting an overview of the history of Grand Forks and region as well as shorter-term site designed and travelling exhibitions.

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