Presentation House Gallery has a mandate to exhibit and disseminate photography and media art, emphasizing contemporary Canadian work within a context of historical and international art. In addition to the exhibition program, we organize national and international tours of exhibitions, produce publications, and offer public events and art education programs. We endeavour to offer the community diverse experiences which will enrich viewers with new considerations about the world in which they live.
Presentation House Gallery’s history is amazingly complex given that it has existed only since 1976. It was, until May 1996, operated by the Presentation House Cultural Society, founded in 1976. It is now operated by the autonomous British Columbia Photography and Media Arts Society. The complexity stems, in part, from the fact that several non-profit societies operated from this building, and several cultural organizations were operated by a single one of those societies.
Presentation House Cultural Society was founded in 1976 as a non-profit charitable society on the initiative of the North Vancouver Arts Council. From 1976 to 1981 it operated as a generalist gallery serving mainly the needs of North Shore residents. In addition to the Gallery, the Society’s Board of Trustees was responsible for a multi-purpose building housing a Centre for the Visual and Performing Arts, which was also home to the North Vancouver Community Arts Council and the North Vancouver Museum and Archives. The Theatre, Museum and Archives are still housed in the building, but the Arts Council moved in 2001.
The Gallery’s photographic mandate goes back to 1981, the year in which the Nova Gallery, the only commercial photography gallery in Vancouver, closed its doors. Over the years it expanded its mandate to include photo-related media and film and video. Currently PHG is the largest independent, non-profit photography gallery in Canada. We offer many touring exhibitions, a publishing program and operate a bookshop dedicate to books about photography, film and video.
The Presentation House Cultural Society split into two separate societies in 1996. Presentation House Gallery is operated by BCPMAS, a new entity with a mandate to provide stimulating photographic exhibitions and education. The Gallery continues to seek a new home with better facilities than we currently have – we are up two flights of stairs, and lack an elevator, for instance.
Our exhibition history is gradually being added to our web site – please go to ‘past exhibitions’ for that history. Our touring exhibitions and publications are listed there as well.