In 1982 a group of art lovers in the Maple Ridge community founded the Maple Ridge Art Gallery Society. The Art Gallery’s mission consists of two components:

  1. To engage the public in the visual arts and visual literacy through ongoing exhibitions, educational tours, workshops, talks and lectures, and;
  2. To support emerging and mid career artists by providing a place to exhibit and share their knowledge through talks and workshops.

Barbara Duncan, Curator at the Maple Ridge Art Gallery, notes that the Art Gallery “strives to create an annual program that includes work by local artists and artists’ groups, regional artists and – where funding permits – exhibitions by professional artists of national or international significance.”

“The Maple Ridge Art Gallery (MRAG) has been part of The ACT Theatre and Arts Centre since 2005 and is operated by the Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows Arts Council. It offers a balanced program of exhibitions reflecting all levels of artistic achievement in fine art and craft.”

In addition to exhibition programming, the gallery offers public activities including:

  • Lectures and presentations by artists and experts in the field of the arts
  • Demonstrations by local artisans
  • Workshops for schools during First Nations exhibitions
  • Workshops and courses to linked to the exhibition program
  • Opportunities for local artists and artisans to sell their work in both the shop and the gallery
  • An annual District 42 exhibition or presentation to students to extend their experience of art beyond the Class room
  • Special tours and refreshments for seniors from Maple Ridge’s Seniors Village

In the fall of 2010 the Maple Ridge Art Gallery was able to offer an outstanding exhibition of First Nations art called Transformation Tales. Barbara notes that the “costs of such exhibitions – including transport, insurance, artists’ fees, as well as additional curatorial & installation support” can make funding special exhibitions difficult and the Maple Ridge Art Gallery is increasingly looking to granting organizations, corporate partners and private donors to support the development of its exhibition program.

Following through on this commitment, the Maple Ridge Art Gallery is extremely pleased to be creating a solo exhibition and catalogue dedicated to the painted works of Haisla artist, Lyle Wilson. The show will include a model house front from UBC’s Museum of Anthropology, an organization with which Lyle had a 20-year association with as artist-in-residence. The exhibition will open on May 5, 2012 and run until July 28, 2012.

Unfortunately the Art Gallery is denied support from the BC Arts Council due to the perception that it is already funded (indirectly) through the BCAC’s grant to the Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows Arts Council for its operation of The ACT.

The Maple Ridge Community Foundation has been able to assist the Maple Ridge Art Gallery bring art to the community with four grants in 2001, 2003, 2004 and 2011. The 2004 grant was for display plinths, stands that are used to display pottery, sculptures or any three dimensional objects. The 2011 grant in the amount of $1,000, is to support the Lyle Wilson exhibition.

Story by Julie Rankin

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