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Will Vernon have to turn away exhibitors from its own international art show?

Vernon Public Art Gallery executive director Dauna Kennedy Grant and curator Lubos Culen are seeking satellite locations to accommodate an international print making exhibition.
October 06, 2014 - 3:28 PM

VERNON - An international art show—the likes of which has never been seen before in the Okanagan—is coming to Vernon, but organizers don’t know where they’re going to put it.

The Okanagan Print Triennial was launched by the Vernon Public Art Gallery, the Kelowna Art Gallery and UBC Okanagan in Vernon in 2009 as a juried exhibition showcasing printmakers across Canada. In 2012, the exhibition grew to include the South, Central and North Americas and in March 2015 will showcase artists from around the world. An unprecedented number of submissions from 179 artists in 26 different countries were received this year. The problem is the Vernon Public Art Gallery isn’t big enough to display the exhibition the way they’d like to.

“The (print triennial) is now beyond our capacity,” executive director Dauna Kennedy Grant says.

The gallery has been pushing for a new facility for years, one with a better location and more space. The proposed site is the former Vernon Flower Shop on 31 Avenue, but putting the question to Greater Vernon voters in a referendum has been a moving target.

“The vision in 2009 was that we were going to be welcoming the world to the new gallery in Vernon at a spectacular new facility,” Kennedy Grant says. “This certainly highlights some of our challenges and limitations.”

The options now are either to reduce the size of the exhibition or find satellite locations in Vernon to showcase the prints, difficult when it can’t afford to lease the space. If no alternate locations are found, the current facility will only be able to display the work of approximately 20 artists.

The gallery is actively speaking with local businesses and landowners to seek out temporary gallery spaces between March 9 and May 22, 2015. It’s not ideal, but Kennedy Grant says “we need the space and we need the help.”

“This is a tremendous opportunity for our community in terms of potential tourism dollars and solidifying the Okanagan as a destination for quality arts and culture,” she says.

The exhibition would be the only one of its kind in B.C. and one of only a handful in the country.

“Although disappointed that we aren’t utilizing this event to open the new facility, I am confident that our community will help us pull this off and welcome the world to what Vernon has to offer,” Kennedy Grant says.

Printmaking is the process of making artworks by printing, traditionally on paper.

To contact the reporter for this story, email Charlotte Helston at chelston@infotelnews.ca or call 250-309-5230. To contact the editor, email mjones@infotelnews.ca or call 250-718-2724.

News from © iNFOnews, 2014

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