Thursday, November 30, 2017

What a Piece of Work by Philip Wiley

Xchanges Gallery has its origins in the Signal Hill Arts Center located at Signal Hill in an unused section of the Canadian naval yards in Esquimalt. This was back in 1967 which may make Xchanges the oldest Artists’ Run Centre currently operating in Canada. Many of Victoria’s artists of the past 4 decades have been involved with Xchanges: some had their first solo exhibition there; others have given classes, been active members, and had studios there. The location has changed 4 times over the years.

In 1979 the group moved to a vast loft above Canadian Linen on North Park Street, built studio partitions and a large gallery, and was rechristened Xchanges. The organization stayed at the North Park location for 18 years, becoming a mainstay in the Victoria exhibition scene. This location was notable for intermittent subterranean tremors which most artists easily adapted to.

In 1997 Xchanges relocated to the heritage building at 420 William Street in Vic West — another converted laundry, once a bakery and its stables — and experienced a revitalization of its organization. The new premises made it possible to host events and exhibitions of different natures than had previously been possible, and the labyrinthine layout made interaction between artists more frequent, resulting in a thriving creative community.
During the months of January and February 2009, Xchanges artists transformed the former offices of their new location into spacious gallery, individual and shared studio spaces, and common areas. As in previous moves, much of the work was done by the artists themselves, in conjunction with expert tradespeople.

In February of 2009 Xchanges entered its 4th incarnation, moving to 2333 Government Street, Suite 6E. This one time motel provides a smaller and more intimate setting much closer to downtown and continues to nurture the artists and arts of Victoria to the present time as well as offering drop-in life-drawing, sculpture, and portrait sessions and other programs and events designed to enhance community interaction with the arts.

Continuing its 50 plus year tradition, the Xchanges co√∂perative hosts affordable studios for artists, as well as a non-commercial gallery dedicated to showing work by emerging and established regional artists. Many, many artists have enjoyed the facilities over the years, too many to mention individually. 

And it’s still going strong. This December the members of Xchanges invite everybody to their annual Members’ Exhibition and Open House.

The exhibition opens on Friday, December 1st, 7:00–9:00 PM
Studio Open House: Saturday, December 2nd, 12–4 pm
Exhibition continues: Sunday, December 3,
SaturdaySunday, December 9–10, 12–4 pm.

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