Why a new gallery?
We’ve outgrown our space. For over 40 years the Gallery has presented hundreds of exhibitions of visual art that have excited, challenged and inspired the community.
The Gallery’s permanent collection has grown to over 1600 works of art by contemporary Indigenous artists in Canada. It also includes many exceptional pieces by local and regional artists. It’s a real achievement, but we are bursting out of our current facility. We need more space to store and display these works.
Connecting people with art makers and the making of art is a big part of our mission. Many artists come to the Gallery to talk about their art, give workshops, and join in other community events. The new gallery will include space for research and an artist-in-residence program, allowing visiting artists to stay longer and share their skills in our community.
Above all, we need more space for public education and community programming. Our goal is to welcome more families, more school groups, more seniors and more city visitors to the Art Gallery.
Where will it be built?
The proposed location for the new Gallery is on a spectacular site at the Thunder Bay waterfront. Located south of a new condominium development on Tugboat Basin and adjacent to The Spirit Garden, the site boasts a magnificent view of Lake Superior and Nanabijou, the Sleeping Giant.
Prince Arthur’s Landing has transformed the Thunder Bay waterfront into a vibrant destination. As a significant anchor at the south end of the development, the new Art Gallery will provide a year-round destination and further stimulus to the cultural, recreational and commercial growth on Lake Superior.
“Local art not only reflects local spirit, but is also a way to capture the history of a place and its people.”
– Patty Hajdu, MP Thunder Bay-Superior North and Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour
What will it look like?
The 38,000 square foot building will rest beside the lake, looking towards the Sleeping Giant and offering up a spectacular view from the ground level porch and the glassed upper level. Behind, a large berm will shelter the building and set it into the landscape. The building features:
- Exhibition Spaces with 16-foot ceilings that can accommodate up to six separate exhibitions
- Beautifully functional Classrooms and Studios with over three times more dedicated space for creative art learning and Artist-in-residence programs
- A climate-controlled Collection Storage Vault
- A 180-foot Event Hall with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking Lake Superior
- A versatile Community Room for artist talks, film screenings, and event rentals
- A comfortable Café with outdoor seating and an expanded Gallery Shop
This significant cultural facility will provide $33 million in direct economic impacts during construction. Once open, the Gallery’s operations will generate $2.2 million annually in direct and indirect impacts to the local economy. As a major tourist attraction, the Art Gallery will also generate an estimated $7 million in annual visitor spending in the local economy.
How will it be built?
The project architects – Patkau Architects (Vancouver) and Brook McIlroy (Thunder Bay/Toronto) have nearly completed the architectural design for the new building. Colliers Project Leaders are guiding the process for the Gallery. Gallery staff and the Board of Directors are working hard to secure funding and manage the project.
The project has been funded by the City of Thunder Bay, the Northern Ontario Heritage Foundation (NOHFC), FedNor, and the Department of Canadian Heritage through the Canada Cultural Spaces Fund.
The Thunder Bay Art Gallery gratefully acknowledges the support of all three levels of government