Vancouver Arts Centre celebrates four decades of art delivering a trip back in time with historical exhibition

Kellie BalaamAlbany Advertiser
Email Kellie Balaam
Exhibition curator Annette Davis at the VAC.
Camera IconExhibition curator Annette Davis at the VAC. Credit: Laurie Benson/Albany Advertiser, Laurie Benson

Vancouver Arts Centre is celebrating its 40th anniversary with a historical exhibition which curator Annette Davis says celebrates major events and changes over the past four decades.

Since its inception, the VAC has been a place of inspiration, vision, hard work and creative passion.

The 40th anniversary exhibition, on display until November 12, follows the history of the centre.

Forty year timeline of the history of the VAC.
Camera IconForty year timeline of the history of the VAC. Credit: Laurie Benson/Albany Advertiser

Ms Davis said she was delighted with the public’s response.

“The VAC is such an important part of Albany’s cultural life, and the challenge with an exhibition like this was to adequately represent its rich history,” she said.

“Visitors have been spending a good length of time in the exhibition, enjoying learning about or being reminded of the projects and events that have happened here.

“It has been lovely to hear their responses.”

The exhibition is organised chronologically, with each year from 1980- 2020 represented by a work of art or a document.

Moving through the exhibition, visitors will follow the progress of the arts centre from when it was first started by the Albany Arts Council.

Part of the history at the VAC.
Camera IconPart of the history at the VAC. Credit: Laurie Benson/Albany Advertiser

It includes a 40-year timeline and a 10-minute slideshow with audio excerpts from interviews with key people from the VAC’s history.

Over 40 years, the VAC has been used by groups who practise spinning, weaving, painting, drawing, photography, pottery and floral art.

According to Ms Davis, these groups have provided stability and continuity during the good times, as well as during times of uncertainty such as the COVID-19 pandemic.

In her research for the exhibition, Ms Davis said she was regularly reminded of contributions from volunteers at the VAC, who have helped renovate the building, organised activities and events, and documented its history.

Part of the picture wall showcasing 40 years at the VAC.
Camera IconPart of the picture wall showcasing 40 years at the VAC. Credit: Laurie Benson/Albany Advertiser

Volunteer Verna Rowbotham was involved with photographing the building’s renovations and kept scrapbooks of newspaper stories, now part of the AAC archives.

Others such as Joan May Campbell and Crispin Travers also helped Ms Davis with her intensive research, with the Albany History Collection contributing significantly.

Ms Davis said 40 years ago, the Old Cottage Hospital building on Vancouver Street was abandoned and derelict.

The AAC saw potential in the old building to be an arts activities hub, lobbying the then-Town of Albany and the State Government to secure a lease on the building.

The ACC worked hard for 20 years to renovate the building and to run an arts program, before the City of Albany took on responsibility for the building and its management in 2000.

The exhibition is open from 10am-4pm, Monday- Friday.

Albany Weavers Group member's Lynley Gouldthorp and Simone Widmer.
Camera IconAlbany Weavers Group member's Lynley Gouldthorp and Simone Widmer. Credit: Laurie Benson/Albany Advertiser

Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails