When we think of art galleries as a destination, we may think of the Louvre in Paris or the Museum of Modern Art in NYC. You may even think of Chemainus, a town on Vancouver Island, and some may think of Estevan, Saskatchewan.
The Estevan Art Gallery & Museum provides a free space for visitors to experience and explore historical and cultural perspectives through art and artifacts. Amber Andersen, the Director/Curator, explains, "We exhibit many different artists, our exhibitions continually change, but something that makes our institution unique is that we are home to the largest collection of Andrew King woodblocks and prints in Canada."
Andrew King is a southeastern Saskatchewan entrepreneur best known for opening the first poster printing facility in western Canada. He is renowned for producing unique posters for travelling circuses, theatres and events across Canada and the western United States. Posters were pinned to small communities' windows, taped to telephone poles, and giant billboards were printed that hung on the sides of barns.
Like King's posters, the Art Gallery aims to get art out into the community. They do this by partnering with local organizations to showcase works of art in unexpected places such as parks, on sidewalks, even having artists construct artworks on location and in real-time.
Art doesn't need to be considered something nice to look at or decorate with; it is much more than that. It is history and emotion; it speaks to social norms and calls out human behaviour. Here in Saskatchewan, the art circle is filled with notable artists. The Estevan Art Gallery and Museum showcases this talent by providing a space for audiences to experience something unique that represents the province or region.
"Not only are we an Art Gallery, but on our property sits the Northwest Mounted Police Museum," added Andersen. "It was the original barracks for the NWMP and was built in 1893. Recently the building was designated a heritage building."
This seasonal museum contains exhibitions relating to the formation of the North West Mounted Police, the Trek West, and local Indigenous history. A new display has recently been developed that highlights the story of local elder Bud McArthur, a residential school survivor, a local rancher and rodeo king.
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