Galleries West Online Magazine – Year End Issue
29 December 2020 | Vol 5 No 26 | ISSN 2561-3316 © 2020
Western Canada’s art magazine since 2002


From the Editor

This year was difficult for so many of us as we coped with everything from social isolation and health worries to financial pressures and work stress.

But as hard as it has been, the pandemic is also offering profound lessons about what is truly important – things like building resiliency, nurturing supportive relationships and working for a more equitable society.

For the final issue this year, I asked Galleries West’s writers for thoughtful texts that respond to the various themes that emerged in 2020. I’m pleased to say they produced a range of remarkable stories about issues related to Canadian culture.

Vancouver writer Janet Nicol, author of a biography about Vancouver Island artist Sybil Andrews, stepped in at short notice to write about the importance of supporting artists and artisans by shopping locally and creatively, especially this year, in Art for the Holidays. National arts writer Paul Gessell considers the potential for change from within cultural organizations as part of Called Out, building on news from large art museums in which leaders were publicly challenged by their employees. And, in Coping with COVID-19, Vancouver’s John Thomson talks to directors of large public galleries in Western Canada to find out how they are dealing with declining audiences and lower revenues.

Anishanaabe writer Franchesca Hebert-Spence, now working on her doctorate at Carleton University in Ottawa, reflects on Indigenous art at two major cultural events that revamped themselves for online delivery. She proposes a more balanced path forward in Do Museums Still Matter? And, at a time when issues related to racialized communities have been taking on new urgency, Noor Bhangu, a curator and doctoral student of South Asian descent at Ryerson/York in Toronto, writes in A Year of Relations about recent Canadian exhibitions that support cross-cultural solidarities amongst those on the margins.

Meanwhile, Yellowknife-based writer Sarah Swan’s impassioned plea, In Defence of Art from Small Places, urges the art world to look outward to the peripheries. “There’s so much life, and so much art, way out here,” she writes. “Just follow the gravel road. Art from remote locations, from places with no institutional power, might be the exact antidote a whitewashed, homogenous art world needs.”

Collectively, these fine writers and thinkers, working under trying conditions, have provided nuanced reflections as we collectively seek forward momentum towards a post-pandemic world.

With our next issue, a new editorial cycle begins. Watch in January for stories and reviews about Western Canadian artists Chris Cran, Gu Xiong, Kyle Beal and Larissa Tiggelers, among others.

Finally, I would be remiss is I did not thank Galleries West readers for their generous support over the last year. We are so grateful that you found time to spend with us and, in may cases, also made financial donations to help us fulfill our mission of providing much-needed coverage of Western Canadian artists and exhibitions. Your generosity has allowed us to launch a new video feature and carry out special projects, like our three-part series on art and healing and our recent art books issue.

From all of us here at Galleries West, our heartfelt best wishes for the New Year!

Portia Priegert


About Galleries West
Galleries West, an online magazine that publishes every two weeks, is a vital gateway to the visual arts, publishing timely features, previews, reviews and news stories about artists and exhibitions across British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and the North.

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