Vancouver Galleries Diversify Their Portfolios

March 7, 2009.

In the past month, I visited three art galleries, where I…

  • spilled coffee,
  • danced all over the gallery floor, and
  • drew on a man. In crayon.

I really should have been kicked out. But they all loved it and invited us all to come back for more.

Let me tell you more about these gallery visits and each of their quirky departures from the usual style of art appreciation…

Drink coffee, digest art

at Harrison Galleries

As much as I loved their window displays, I walked by the handsome brick of Yaletown’s Harrison Galleries almost every day for 4 years without daring to step inside. A few weeks ago, I did a double-take at the makeover of its corner window:

Intrigued, I paid a visit to their new cafe, The Buzz, for a cup of 49th Parallel brew and a lovely wild salmon panini (rife with capers, yum). The cafe storefront did much to lure me in. Inside, gallery owner Chris and cafe proprietor Terry made me feel even more welcome.

I strolled through the rest of the space and picked out my fave artists after my meal. It was surprising how inviting and accessible this gallery is–so different from my initial impressions. Lots of seating available to reflect on local works at your leisure.

Got kids? Let them sit and colour in the family room.

FUSE at the VAG

Playing with crayons isn’t just for kids, it seems. As part of the late-night festivities at FUSE, held every few months at the Vancouver Art Gallery, I recently scribbled over a man’s coveralls for what I assume to be a display of (very) interactive art. The rest of the gallery pulsed with electronic beats, dramatic performances, and some of the best contemporary works I’ve seen out of Vancouver in recent years. I didn’t have time to see it all so I’m tempted to renew my membership.

surveillance Braille

My voyeurism was slaked as much by the artwork as the sea of young, beautiful people that FUSE draws out. A recommended destination for a cool date or where to find a candidate for your next one.

Salsa Sundays at

Autumn Brook Gallery

My visit to Autumn Brook Gallery wasn’t for the art at all. Every other Sunday, the gallery is venue to a hopping salsa dance party held by organizers Jennifer and Stephen of SalsaVancouver.net. As an avid salsa dancer, I can attest to the unique exposure that the salsa crowd gets to local artists as they whirl and dip to Latin rhythms. They also have a fantastic floor for spinning.

If dance isn’t your thing, I’ve also heard good things about their gourmet weekend brunches.

As for me, my feet are having a hard time sitting still until the next Autumn Brook salsa party, which happens to be tomorrow.

So. Are you going to a plain ol’ gallery next time around, or one where you can eat, dance, or doodle your own works of art?

FUSE: colour me, baby Salsa Sundays at Autumn Brook Gallery Salsa Sundays at Autumn Brook Gallery Harrison Galleries connects with The Buzz café Salsa Sundays at Autumn Brook Gallery FUSE: tunnel of paper folds FUSE: surveillance Braille Salsa Sundays at Autumn Brook Gallery Autumn Brook Gallery: antipasto plate Salsa Sundays at Autumn Brook Gallery Inside Harrison Galleries Harrison Galleries: Inside The Buzz Harrison Galleries: choose your frame Salsa Sundays at Autumn Brook Gallery Salsa Sundays at Autumn Brook Gallery Harrison Galleries: Vijando a verte (Travelling to see you) Inside Harrison Galleries Harrison Galleries: Remnants of Ancestors (Lynn Canyon) Harrison Galleries: Inside The Buzz Inside Harrison Galleries Autumn Brook Gallery: roasted red pepper gazpacho Inside Harrison Galleries Autumn Brook Gallery: pasta salad Autumn Brook Gallery: Art & Gastronomy menu Harrison Galleries: Inside The Buzz Salsa Sundays at Autumn Brook Gallery Harrison Galleries: colouring station Harrison Galleries: salmon panini Salsa Sundays at Autumn Brook Gallery Autumn Brook Gallery: storefront Harrison Galleries: The Buzz Salsa Sundays at Autumn Brook Gallery Harrison Galleries: art books of Francine Gravel Salsa Sundays at Autumn Brook Gallery Harrison Galleries: sandwich board Salsa Sundays at Autumn Brook Gallery Autumn Brook Gallery: filet mignon medallions Inside Harrison Galleries Harrison Galleries: Inside The Buzz Salsa Sundays at Autumn Brook Gallery Inside Harrison Galleries Autumn Brook Gallery: sea bass

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Karen Hamilton is a writer, photographer, and maker of websites. Her exploration of all things edible in the Lower Mainland is diarized at tinybites.ca.

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