By Claire Lee
One of the primary purposes of art is to make people think and feel. Although you can consume art through online platforms and printed materials, observing art with people is still the best way to understand it.
An art gallery can give you a sense of community with a collective appreciation for the arts. And one of the best ways to experience art is by visiting the best Calgary art galleries.
To help you in your search, we’ve compiled a list of the best Calgary art galleries for you to enjoy!
1. Esker Foundation
|BEST FOR||Assorted media for art experience|
|ADDRESS||1011 9 Ave SE 4th floor, Calgary, AB T2G 0H7|
|CONTACT DETAILS||(403) 930-2490|
|OPERATING HOURS||Wednesday – Saturday: 11:00AM – 5:30 PM|
Esker Foundation is the best Calgary art gallery for its versatile approach to art. This art gallery houses innovative art pieces that ignite discussions among art enthusiasts.
They also have video, audio, and book resources for your at-home art experience. You can also visit their local, national, and international art installations for free.
When visiting the gallery, you can enjoy their permanent exhibitions, featured programs, and moving collections.
- Permanent and featured exhibitions
- Free admission
- Local, national, and international contemporary art
- Additional resources for a heightened art experience
Take a look at what art gallery visitors have to say about their experience with Esker Foundation:
“It is an architecturally interesting building, where you find free art exhibitions, once on the top floor, you can also enjoy a nice view of downtown Calgary 👍”
“What an awesome place to have open to the public! The exhibits are always well-curated and special, and the space itself is very classy. The view of downtown Calgary through the big window is like an ever changing exhibit itself, a real living picture. Thank you!”
2. Glenbow Museum
|BEST FOR||Historical art|
|PRODUCTS||Art Exhibits, Historical Paraphernalia, Merchandise|
|ADDRESS||130 9 Ave SE, Calgary, AB T2G 0P3|
|CONTACT DETAILS||(403) 268-4101|
|OPERATING HOURS||Saturday – Sunday, 12:00 PM – 5:00 PM|
Glenbow Museum is the best Calgary art gallery and museum for its vast collection of cultural items. The museum collects artworks from various Canadian artists and also allows other Canadian artists to donate their works to the gallery.
Its collection contains textile pieces, portraits, sculptures, paintings, and other historical and artistic items celebrating Canada’s culture. Glenbow also has indigenous art among their collections.
You can avail of tickets at group rates and even get free admission every first Thursday of the month. You can also check out their membership plans if you plan to visit regularly.
- Focus on local art and history
- Assortment of exhibit objects
- Free admission every first Thursday
Read these reviews to know more about what visitors love about the Glenbow Museum:
“Spacious enough for social distancing in this pandemic. Enjoyed exploring all the floors from first floor to the 4th. Lots of interesting arts, cultural and historical collections. Staff were friendly and helpful. It’s good to see security guards too.”
“Highly recommended. Well presented, high quality, and culturally appropriate presentation of Indigenous history and art, European settlers’ history including oil boom, and excellent and varied art gallery exhibits. Free Thursday evenings.”
3. Contemporary Calgary
|BEST FOR||Contemporary art installations|
|ADDRESS||701 11 St SW, Calgary, AB T2P 2C4|
|CONTACT DETAILS||(403) 770-1350|
|OPERATING HOURS||Thursday – Saturday: 12:00 PM – 7:00 PM|
Sunday: 12:00 PM – 5:00 PM
If you’re looking for contemporary art, Contemporary Calgary will provide the best art installations for you to enjoy. It is situated in the old Centennial Planetarium, providing the best atmosphere to enhance its visitors’ art gallery experience.
The gallery aims to engage its visitors in its collection of art installations. So if you’re visiting Contemporary Calgary, make sure you bring your artistic opinions for meaning discussions.
Contemporary Calgary also aspires to put Calgary on the global scene of contemporary art. Thus, the gallery partners with other art institutions and visual arts organizations to achieve this goal.
- Contemporary art installations
- Local, national, and international pieces
- Partnerships with art institutions
Contemporary Calgary has some of the best art installations in one of the best venues in town. Take a look at what Calgarians have to say about their visits to the art gallery:
“What a fantastic addition this is to Calgary. And a great use of the planetarium space as well. At 20$ for an adult annual membership, and kids being free for quite a while (can’t remember the specific age), you really can’t go wrong. Super close to the c-train station as well! Check it out and support them to make sure it stays around.”
“Enjoyed the space and that the building is being used. Staff were nice. We look forward to seeing more exhibitions!”
4. Stephen Lowe Art Gallery
|BEST FOR||Assortment of art pieces|
|PRODUCTS||Art Installations, Artworks, Art Dealings, Art Consultation|
|ADDRESS||Suite 251, 255-5 Avenue Southwest +15 Level, Bow Valley Square, 5 Ave SW, Calgary, AB T2P 3G6|
|CONTACT DETAILS||(403) 261-1602|
|OPERATING HOURS||Monday – Friday: 12:00 PM – 4:00 PM|
With the variety of art pieces in its collection, Stephen Lowe Art Gallery is one of the best Calgary art galleries. The gallery may be smaller than other art galleries, but it is home to masterpieces from 70 Canadian artists.
You can find paintings, stone and metal sculptures, glass and ceramic crafts, and other art exhibitions that you can admire and purchase. You can also approach them for art consultation for your home or business.
- Paintings, sculptures, handcrafted items
- Corporate and residential design consultations
- Art appraisals
Stephen Lowe Art Gallery has a broad range of art pieces open to the public. Its staff is also knowledgeable, so you can be sure they know which pieces are perfect for you.
Here are customer reviews attesting to Stephen Lowe Art Gallery’s outstanding products and services:
“I highly recommend visiting the Stephen Lowe Art Gallery! A stunning collection of artists including glass works and sculptures. We loved the works of Janice McLean who paints beautiful Italian landscapes, striking figurative pieces and amazing florals. Anna the gallery owner was welcoming and a true knowledgeable lover of art. We look forward to our return!”
“We are so happy with our recent purchase along with several other pieces that Anna and Alan have helped us secure. They are the best!”
5. Gibson Fine Art
|BEST FOR||Canvas art pieces for sale|
|PRODUCTS||Paintings, Art Consultation, Art Dealings|
|ADDRESS||628 11 Ave SW, Calgary, AB T2R 0E2|
|CONTACT DETAILS||(403) 244-2000|
|OPERATING HOURS||Thursday – Saturday: 11:00 AM – 4:00 PM|
If you’re looking for canvas art pieces, Gibson Fine Art is the best Calgary art gallery you can visit. The gallery sources its displays from local artists in Alberta.
Aside from art enthusiasts and gallery visitors, Gibson Fine Art also caters to those looking to purchase some art. It also offers art-related resources and consultations to architects, business owners, and interior designers.
They have many collections that they update from time to time. You can also buy artwork from Gibson for your home or other unique places and occasions.
- Paintings and canvas art
- Fine art dealings
- Support for local artists
Here are the customer reviews to convince you of visiting—and maybe even buying—the artworks from Gibson Fine Art:
“This gallery is inspired. The urban sized space tastefully displays some of the city’s best, and the country’s best artists. Always changing, this gallery showcases and supports many acclaimed artists and develops newer artists to reach their full potential.”
“Thank you!! For answering all my endless questions and for measuring my wall about 100x so that I was confident the art would work. I love my new piece. See you again soon.”
6. Artpoint Gallery & Studios Society
|BEST FOR||Art Gallery|
|PRODUCTS||Visual Art, Art Education|
|ADDRESS||1038 17 Ave SE Calgary, AB T2G 1J8|
|CONTACT DETAILS||(403) 265-6867|
|OPERATING HOURS||Fridays 1pm – 5pm|
Saturdays 11am – 5pm
Artpoint Gallery & Studios Society is a non-profit artist-run studio that has been a home of visual arts & education, Heritage Weavers, and Spinners Guild of Calgary.
They are open for visits during the pandemic except for memberships and exhibition submissions so kindly wait for further announcements about that.
- Filled with passionate people
- Free admission
Here’s a review from one of Artpoint Gallery & Studios Society’s clients:
“What a wonderful creative space, filled with people who are passionate about their art.” -Kathleen Jacobson
Here’s another one:
“Fabulous weavers guild sake!!!” -Susan Knapp
7. Jarvis Hall Gallery
|BEST FOR||Art Gallery|
|ADDRESS||333B 36th Avenue SE|
Calgary Alberta Canada T2G 1W2
|CONTACT DETAILS||403.206.9942 | [email protected]|
|OPERATING HOURS||By appointment only|
Jarvis Hall Gallery is situated in the unique Manchester Industrial area commonly referred to as, the Barley Belt, just south of the downtown core.
At JHG, they firmly believe the time is ripe to ensure gender parity as criteria for artist representation within our commercial setting. JHG will consciously maintain equity across genders while striving to ensure artists are best supported to create work on a basis of quality. They are aware that as a small gallery, the roster is constantly evolving and the balance may tip however, they are moving forward with a consciousness to ensure these values are at fore of their vision at all times.
- Represents a dynamic roster of emerging, mid-career, and established artists
- Committed to supporting the practice of contemporary artists to foster a deeper understanding of their creative processes
Here’s a review from one of Jarvis Hall Gallery’s clients:
“Awesome art, fantastic framing, pleasing proprietors!”
Here’s another one:
“I stopped by on a Saturday, parking is easy to find around there. Unfortunately, the works I was there to look at were being being uninstalled (bad timing on my part), but the people working there were really apologetic. One of the larger works had been taken by the Alberta Foundation of the Arts for another show, but the staff had put up another large work of the artist in its place – which was really wonderful. They took the time to talk to me about the artists’ work, and were very friendly and informative. A beautiful, well-lit space with great work – a gem of a gallery!”
We hope you picked out a gallery to visit from our list of the best Calgary art galleries. Make sure you free up at least half a day to fully enjoy for your visit to the galleries.
Besides going to art galleries and exhibitions, you can enhance your art viewing experience with the best sunrooms in Calgary. With natural lighting, a sunroom can be a great place for you to display your purchased art pieces.