|Payment |||Interac, MasterCard, American Express, Visa|
|Getting There |||From downtown, it’s a short walk east on Fort until you hit Moss.|
|Cross Street |||Fort Street|
|Fri. to Wed: 10AM to 5PM Thur: 10AM to 9PM|
Profile Last Updated: January 07, 2009
Built in 1889, the Spencer Mansion was home to Victoria department store magnates, the Spencer family, until it was donated to the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria in 1951. The century-old forest-green mansion with the rust-coloured trim is a work of old-world art in itself, but inside is a lesson in mixing modern and traditional styles. Today, after extensive renovations and additions, the building boasts seven adjacent galleries and an authentic Japanese garden. The main mansion houses a small gift shop and administrative offices beneath its high ceilings. It also serves as the warehouse and show room for the art sales and rental business the gallery uses to maintain itself and help finance local artists.
The sleek modern interiors of the additions complement the rich, varnished mansion they sprang from. They also provide plenty of room for the over 17,000 pieces that make up the largest public art collection in B.C. The Gallery’s permanent collection includes a significant assortment of Asian art, including North America’s only Japanese Shinto Shrine, a Ming Dynasty Chinese Bell, and an impressive collection of amber and ivory carvings. The Gallery also boasts a stunning display of work by Canadian artist Emily Carr. Excerpts from Carr’s autobiography accompany the paintings, making it all too easy to lose yourself in the swirling skies, lush flora, and towering B.C. forests that are reflected in her distinctive art.
In addition to the permanent traditional works of Carr and various Asian artists, there’s an abundance of cutting-edge and modern art. Since the Gallery is known for its eastern art, there’s almost always at least one Asian-themed exhibit passing through. The Lab Gallery is reserved exclusively for experimental shows, while the remaining galleries are host to an ever-changing line-up of work. Some of these shows are occasionally supplemented by artists’ talks, lectures, tours, and workshops. Be sure to check the AGGV website to find out what’s new while you’re in Victoria!
Facility Rental: Gallery space can be rented for special occasions.
No Bags: You are required to leave all bags at the reception desk.