Although Kitchener-Waterloo is not a big metropolitan city, it still has all of all the sophistication and artistic flair of bigger cities. Art and culture are central to life in Waterloo Region and celebrated in both the city centers and in the homes of our residents too. Residents of Kitchener-Waterloo love fine art, which is evident by the number of popular galleries and museums that thrive here.
If you’re interested in going on an artistic journey in the Kitchener-Waterloo area, the place to start is THEMUSEUM. This isn’t your typical stodgy, dusty dull hall of aging artwork. THEMUSEUM is a vibrant and ever-changing display of art, technology and culture with a dash of science mixed in on a regular basis.
THEMUSEUM has a diverse array of programs for adults and children, permanent displays and changing exhibitions. It’s never the same from visit-to-visit. Interactive exhibits invite contact, collaboration and discussion while stimulating the imagination. It’s a fun-for-all-ages kind of place that redefines the concept of a museum. It’s cool and relevant but remains educational and inspirational.
Some of the permanent installations include a living wall at the entrance. The wall makes art from nature plus it cools the building and cleans the air. A magnetic wall invites visitors to add to the art with their own combination of words, shapes and gears. Another wall, the virtual graffiti wall, gives guests the chance to express themselves by painting with light. These are just a few of the on-going exhibitions; there are many more of course.
Not every exhibition at THEMUSEUM will remain there long-term. Special events and exhibits move in and out frequently for new and engaging experiences. Past exhibits have included Chagall for Children, Andy Warhol’s Factory, and the Treasures of China Featuring the Dazu Rock Carvings. Exhibits feature fine art, photography, science, culture and history plus modern history in the making.
Local artists can get involved in an annual tradition at THEMUSEUM. The World Refugee Day Art Show gives artists a chance to show their work and highlight a significant cause. THEMUSEUM partners with Immigration Partnership and CCORIC for this important event.
University of Waterloo Art Gallery
To see the work of the next generation of artists, check out the University of Waterloo Art Gallery. The work of students and visiting artists is constantly changing. At any given time you could see sculptural works, paintings, photography or mixed media at a UWAG show.
UpTown Gallery at Waterloo Town Square
If you are an artist yourself, the workspace at the UpTown Gallery at Waterloo Town Square might be of interest to you. This collaborative space sits in the center of the uptown area, right at the intersection of Erb Street and King Street West. Its founding purpose is to promote local artists and bring art to the community.
There is always an artist on the premises during open hours who is available to discuss techniques and methods or perhaps demonstrate their skills. You can even attend one of the gallery’s workshops. Artists working from the UpTown Gallery may choose to express themselves in mosaic, glass, jewelry, photography and fiber art as well as painting and sculpture. These pieces of art can be purchased with prices ranging from gift-worthy to investment-quality.
Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery
The Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery (or KWAG) is one of the premier non-profit public galleries in Ontario. This public treasure is dedicated to the collection, preservation, interpretation, research and exhibition of the visual arts. Inspiring creativity and appreciation for the visual arts is its “business.”
Over 4000 works of art reside in KWAG’s permanent collection. Oftentimes, exhibits draw from this deep well of works. KWAG is invested in educating people about art and connecting the community to artists and their work. It offers a ton of programs for all ages including kids’ classes and camps, adult classes and gallery tours, and a wonderful complement of programs designed to aid educators.
KWAG is also on the cutting edge of technology thanks to a sponsorship from Google in 2012 after which time a virtual Interactive Space was launched. The intent is to connect people and ideas through art in a whole new way. Virtual tours give every person with Internet connectivity access to art and the inspiration it brings. Art lovers with physical limitations or those who are far away can still enjoy the works on display using technology. It is an amazing use of the tools of the day to introduce art directly into homes.
A gallery crawling trip into nearby Cambridge, the third member of Tri-Cities alongside Kitchener and Waterloo, will undoubtedly lead you to the display space of the Cambridge Galleries. With display rooms in Preston, Queen’s Square and Design at Riverside, there are plenty of opportunities to enjoy the inspiration of local and national artists.
There’s more to Cambridge Galleries than just enjoying other’s works. You can learn and create here too. Studio courses and lectures are offered as well as concerts and film screenings. As part of the Cambridge Public Library System, it’s a gem for all Tri-City residents.
Waterloo Region may not be an immensely large urban center but we are lacking nothing when it comes to art. Our galleries and museums will be providing inspiration for generations to come.