Vancouver Art Gallery
The Vancouver Art Gallery ( VAG) is the fifth-largest art gallery in Canada and the largest in Western Canada. It is located at 750 Hornby Street in Vancouver, British Columbia. Its permanent collection of about 10,000 artworks includes more than 200 major works by Emily Carr, the Group of Seven, and illustrations by Marc Chagall. The VAG was founded in 1931 and had its first home at 1145 West Georgia Street. In 1983 it moved to the Hornby Street location, the former provincial courthouse. It was renovated at a cost of $20 million by architect Arthur Erickson, which completed his modern three city-block Robson Square complex. The Art Gallery occupies the northern block, and connects via an underground passage below Robson Street to an outdoor plaza, restaurants, the University of British Columbia's downtown satellite campus, government offices, and the new law courts at the southern end. The Vancouver Art Gallery has 41,400 square feet (3,850 m 2) of exhibition space and about 10,000 works in its collection, most notably its Emily Carr collection. It has also amassed a significant collection of photographs. In addition to exhibitions of its own collection, the Vancouver Art Gallery regularly hosts touring exhibitions. The Vancouver Art Gallery regularly sponsors or hosts a number of public programmes and lectures. The Vancouver Art Gallery is home to a gift shop, a café, and a library. In March 2007 the 2010 Olympic countdown clock was placed in the front lawn of the Vancouver Art Gallery. It is open for free for the public to see.

Building
The Vancouver Art Gallery is located in the former main courthouse for Vancouver. The original 165,000-square-foot (15,300 m 2) neoclassical building was designed by Francis Rattenbury after winning a design competition in 1905. Rattenbury also designed the British Columbia Parliament Buildings and the Empress Hotel in Victoria. The design includes ionic columns, a central dome, formal porticos, and ornate stonework. The building was constructed using marble imported from Alaska, Tennessee and Vermont. The new building was constructed in 1906 and replaced the previous courthouse located at Victory Square. At the time, the building contained 18 courtrooms. An annex designed by Thomas Hooper was added to the western side of the building in 1912. The Annex Building is the only part of the Vancouver Art Gallery that was not converted to use as an art gallery. It was declared a heritage site and retains the original judges' benches and walls as they were when the building was a courthouse. On the Georgia Street side of the building is the Centennial Fountain. This fountain was installed in 1966 to commemorate the centennial of the union of the colonies of Vancouver Island and British Columbia. Both the main and annex portions of the building are municipally designated "A" heritage structures. The steps on both the Robson Street and Georgia Street sides of the building are a popular gathering spot for protest rallies. The Georgia Street side is also a popular place in the summertime for people to relax or socialize.

The Collection
The Vancouver Art Gallery's collection of about 10,000 works of art represents the most comprehensive resource for visual culture in British Columbia. Established in 1931 with the founding of the Gallery, the collection grows by several hundred works every year. It is a principal repository of works produced in this region, as well as related works by other Canadian and international artists. To celebrate the Gallery's 75th anniversary, the Gallery has published an on-line catalogue that features 75 works from its collection.

Future plans
In November 2007, the gallery announced plans to move to a new building at Larwill Park, block formerly occupied by a bus depot on the corner of Cambie and Georgia streets, across from the Queen Elizabeth Theatre. The new building would have been about 30,000 square metres (320,000 sq ft), almost 10 times the current building size, and would include more gallery space for the permanent collection now in storage, a larger exhibit space for visiting international works, more children's and community programming and an improved storage and display environment. The gallery planned to approach city council soon in early 2008 for official handover of the site. Construction would have begun after the 2010 Olympics with an opening tentatively scheduled for 2013. The gallery was expected to cost in the hundreds of millions of dollars, and the gallery hoped to secure funding from provincial and federal governments as well as private donors. In May 2008, however, a different site was designated as the chosen site for the new gallery on land occupied until now by the Plaza of Nations near BC Place, and will double its size to 320,000 square feet (30,000 m 2). A call for designs for the new gallery will go out to architects in the fall of 2008. Construction is expected to start in 2011, with an opening likely in 2013.

Gathering Area
A regular gathering spot for protests and demonstrations, the Vancouver Art Gallery's lawn and steps hosts gatherings several times a week. The Vancouver Art Gallery is the monthly meeting spot for Vancouver's Critical Mass, as well as flash mob demonstrations, the Zombie Walk, Pro- Marijuana rallies, and numerous environmental demonstrations. It is also the central gathering point of Vancouver's 420 celebration, annually.

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