Award specifically recognizes Indigenous contemporary art education and engagement.

April 18, 2019
Arts & Culture Release

Surrey, BC – Surrey Art Gallery received an Award for Outstanding Achievement in Education, specifically for its Indigenous contemporary art education and engagement, at the Canadian Museums Association (CMA) 2019 National Conference in Toronto on April 17. The CMA annually honours museums in Canada that demonstrate excellence in the areas of education, exhibitions, new media, conservation, marketing and research.

"We are honoured the gallery received this national award,” said City of Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum. “It is both an acknowledgement and validation of the longstanding work of Surrey Art Gallery to create meaningful opportunities for artists and audiences. This award recognizes how art can connect citizens, build understanding and empathy, and create vibrant communities.”

The education category recognizes programming that advances knowledge and understanding by reaching new audiences or enhancing existing ones.

“I would like to sincerely congratulate Surrey Art Gallery on receiving this national award,” said Sue Lamothe, CMA Chief Operating Officer. “The jury was unanimous” and the work was recognized as “nationally significant and exceeded the current standard of practice by going beyond the conventional approach.”

Last year, the gallery implemented an Indigenous Contemporary Art Intensive, a summer residency in their TechLab where five young artists developed their practice and worked alongside mentors. Surrey Art Gallery also increased their offerings of Sharing Perspectives: Indigenous Contemporary Art Workshop for K–12 students in Surrey classrooms. Since 1999, the gallery has hired an Indigenous artist-educator to go into Surrey schools and share the gallery and public art collections, as well as teach a hands-on art activity growing out of their practice. Other initiatives in 2018 included a participatory installation by artists Roxanne Charles and Debbie Westergaard Tuepah titled Bearing Witness.

Funding was secured in part to support this work through the Vancouver Foundation, BC Arts Council Enhanced Capacity, and Heritage Canada’s Young Canada Works (YCW) Building Careers in Heritage Program.

“Surrey Art Gallery is situated on the traditional territories of the Salish peoples, including the q̓ic̓əy̓ (Katzie), q̓ʷɑ:n̓ƛ̓ən̓ (Kwantlen), and Semiahma (Semiahmoo) nations,” said Surrey Art Gallery Association President Joanne Dennis. “The gallery has a 40-plus year history of working with Indigenous artists through exhibitions, residencies, public programs, school programs, partnership projects, collaborations, committees, consultations, and more. The gallery plays a vital role in our city, and we are proud their work has been recognized as outstanding in Canada.”

About Surrey Art Gallery

Internationally recognized for its award-winning programs, Surrey Art Gallery, located at 13750 88 Avenue in Surrey, is the second largest public art museum in Metro Vancouver. Founded in 1975, the gallery presents contemporary art by local, national, and international artists, including digital and audio art. Its extensive public programs for children through to adults aim to engage the public in an ongoing conversation about issues and ideas that affect our communities and to provide opportunities to interact with artists and the artistic process. Admission is free. Surrey Art Gallery gratefully acknowledges the financial assistance of the City of Surrey, Province of BC through BC Arts Council, Canada Council for the Arts, and the Surrey Art Gallery Association.

Contact Info

Oliver Lum
Communications Manager
Mayor’s Office
City of Surrey