Vancouver Art Gallery

by Jenavieve


We hadn't been on a "family outing" for ages.  So it came as no surprise when Dad announced,  "Let's go out someplace you guys."  "Where is someplace," I asked, knowing he had something up his sleeve.  'It's a surprise," Dad laughed.  Things were looking worse all the time.

I told Dad I had something better to do-like wash my hair.  Next Dad informed me I had no choice, so I piled into the car with everybody else and set off for our unknown destination.   See if you can guess where we went.  Here are your clues:  downtown, big grey building, and across the street from Sears.  If you guessed The Vancouver Art Gallery, you're right.  As we climbed the huge cement stairs I heard Nathan murmur, "You guys go ahead, I'll wait out here."  "Nice try, Naye," I yelped.  "Mom, if Naye doesn't have to go, neither do I," I dug in even further.  Actually, I really did want to go, but why should I let Naye off the hook?

The exhibit Dad wanted to see was on Andy Warhol.  We saw an entire floor of Andy Warhol.  Don't ask me why, but 'The Constipated Women," stuck in my head.  Mom liked the series on Mao Tse Tung and Dad said the train ticket was his favorite (whatever).  It was hard to tell, but I think Naye liked the Campbell's soup tins (probably because he eats so much of it).  It was either that or "The Execution Chair."  That's pretty bizarre!  And Coleman, who knows?

It took us about an hour to see all of Andy Warhol's prints.  We had no idea there were three more floors of exhibits to look at.  You wouldn't believe some of the stuff people call "Art," like three stacks of baby blue towels on the floor.  "I could do that too," Nathe snickered.  "There's something more to it Naye," I told him.  His reply was, "Let me know when you figure it out."

Naye likes to body surf so he made a point of watching the surfing video.  I guess he thought it'd have surfers riding humongous waves like the ones we saw in Hawaii.  Wrong!  It was a quiet little beach with a surfboard riding in and out on the tide.  Nothing else.  I like the computer screen of a house which changed it's colour and background, and Dad thought the computerized video of the O.J. Simpson trial was neat.  Definitely what Coleman liked best was the amount of space he had to exercise his legs.

We actually didn't see much of the third or fourth floors.  The last straw for Mom was when Coleman turned the handle on a pulley with a chair dangling from it.  He didn't realize it was a piece of art (neither did I to be honest with you).  Anyway the chair came down a couple of inches, and Mom was afraid the height was of crucial importance to the visual effect of the piece.  I also remember seeing a large exhibit on Emily Carr.  I knew it was her because we have an Emily Carr calendar on our fridge.  Her artwork is pretty neat.

Anyway what Coleman and I liked the very best were the art stations they had scattered around the museum.  We got to draw our own pictures and post them on the bulletin boards.  They even had a section where you could "Write to Andy."  I never wrote him a note because he's dead now and he'll never get it in heaven.  But if you're into doing art, the Vancouver Art Gallery has Super Sundays on the third Sunday of every month.  Families can go there and try drawing, painting, creating projects, and even dancing.  Mom promised she'd take me next month (that was four months ago).

I almost forgot to mention The Gallery Store.  At first I thought it was just going to be a bunch of posters and books.  Boy, was I wrong.  The Gallery Store has really cool jewelry, purses, cups, and this watch I just had to have.   Dad was just about to buy it for me until Mom came along and announced I already had two other watches at home.  Mom was tempted to buy a bar of Andy Warhol soap, but she ended up buying a plate with his face on it.  On the way out Nathe's nose led us to the Gallery Café, so we ended up having lunch on the patio outside.  I had a bowl of minestrone soup with a sourdough bun.  I ended up feeding my entire bun to these small brown and black birds.  I had them practically eating out of the palm of my hands.  Unfortunately Mom and Dad weren't too impressed.  Mom was afraid a bird was going to poop on her head.

Age group:

I think the Art Gallery could be fun for most people.  It depends, I guess on what exhibit is showing.  I don't think Oma and Opa would like the Andy Warhol show too much because they prefer old-fashioned artwork.  You know the stuff where trees really look like trees.  And young kids, who can run  and don't have good attention spans (sound familiar?) probably aren't the best candidates for the Art Gallery either.

Expense rating:

Over $10


You know the funny thing is, we talked about the Art Gallery the whole way home.  Who would ever call three stacks of baby blue towels "Art"?  That is what was good about going to the Art Gallery:  it made us think outside of the box.  In fact, I could even become an artist.  Art isn't just a drawing or a painting, it can be loads of things:  four TV screens with the same guy talking on them, a foam log, or a video of a surfboard floating back and forth on the beach.  It also made us think about what we liked and didn't like.  We realized, for the first time, we all had different opinions. 


The Vancouver Art Gallery doesn't have it's own parking lot.  The nearest parking is at the Hotel Vancouver or Pacific Centre Mall, but be prepared to pay around $10 (that's how much we paid).


The Vancouver Art Gallery takes up an entire block of downtown Vancouver.  Look for the corner of Georgia and Howe or Hornby streets, and you can't miss it.  You can call (604) 662-4719 if you need more information. Website:


Downtown Vancouver


The Art Gallery is entirely indoors, so it really doesn't matter what time of year you go.  I suppose the warmer months would be better if you want to have lunch on the patio.

Educational highlights:

Did you know the Vancouver Art Gallery has over 7,900 pieces of art?  As well, it has the largest collection of Emily Carr paintings in the world.

Fun for the adult?:

Did my parents have fun?  Let's put it this way, Dad turned a visit to the Art Gallery into a two-times-a-year event.  He's still talking about how neat the Andy Warhol exhibit was, and this is four months later.