April 14, 2022

Nickle Galleries offers rare hands-on experiences and experiential learning through unique programming

The Nickle serves students, staff and the community to bring art, culture and history to life
Everywhere We Are, Nickle Galleries.
Everywhere We Are, Nickle Galleries. Dave Brown

Nickle Galleries is a dynamic hub for art, culture, and history at the heart of the University of Calgary. Always free, always welcoming, the Nickle offers exciting exhibitions, fascinating programs and unique opportunities for hands-on learning and career-building experiences. We proudly serve both campus and community.

UCalgary Giving Day gives Nickle Galleries the chance to reach further, do more, and grow in all directions. Last year, the Nickle received extraordinary support through the Giving Day program, creating several new initiatives with lasting impact. From supporting exhibitions and community partnerships, to expanding collections and supporting student interns, to showcasing the work of UCalgary Alumni, Giving Day makes Nickle Galleries happen.

Nickle Galleries entered a partnership with Contemporary Calgary to host Everywhere We Are, an ambitious exhibition featuring some of the best contemporary art from across Canada. Shown first at the Nickle in January 2020, the exhibition was featured at Contemporary Calgary in the summer and fall of 2021.

Giving Day brought life to the exhibition by bringing internationally recognized speakers to Calgary: Dr. Oshin Vartanian, PhD (University of Toronto) detailed the curious and reciprocal relationship between visual art and the human brain, while this coming May Dr. Alexander Nagel, PhD (Institute of Fine Arts at New York University) will connect key works of art from the exhibition to his research areas including Renaissance art, humanism and posthumanism.

Artist Sandra Sawatzky’s current exhibition The Age of Uncertainty is fascinating visitors with its beautiful and witty embroidered panels that examine the perils of our contemporary life, from overpopulation to surveillance, corruption, migration and climate change. Giving Day support made an exhibition catalogue possible; one that features images of all the works as well as original essays by Canadian arts writers. The catalogue provides a lasting record of the exhibition and contributes to scholarly discussions on socially engaged art.

The Numismatics Collection of Nickle Galleries — parts of which are on view in the galleries as part of Money Zoo: Fantastic Beasts in the History of Money — was able to purchase long-wished-for ancient coins for the permanent collection, along with items important to understanding the history of trade and colonization in Canada through the Hudson’s Bay Company.

The Nickle was also thrilled that Giving Day funds supported the work of Taylor Institute intern Brittany DeMone, enabling both her studies and work experience through Numismatics.

Nickle Galleries also celebrates UCalgary graduates. Giving Day funds contributed to the purchase of strong selection of paintings and drawings by nationally acclaimed alumna Marigold Santos for the collection and are currently on view in the Nickle’s The World We’re Living In exhibition.

Nickle Galleries is already planning for the new opportunities that Giving Day 2022 will make happen. This September, Prairie Interlace: Textiles, Modernism and the Expanded Frame, an exhibition examining the explosion of textile art across the Canadian prairies, 1960-2000 will begin its national tour at the Nickle.

Created in partnership with Regina’s MacKenzie Art Gallery, Prairie Interlace will examine the impact of modernism on settler, immigrant, Indigenous and Métis artists working with textiles. The first exhibition to focus on the recent history of weaving on the prairies, it promises to foster new research and promote some dynamic conversations.

A university museum and gallery, the Nickle stewards collections of modern and contemporary Western Canadian art, rare and ancient coins, and rich Asian carpets and textiles. Used in teaching and research and as the focus of exhibitions, they help us bring art, culture and history to life for students, scholars and visitors alike.

By contributing to Nickle Galleries this Giving Day, you create a welcoming space for our celebrated art exhibitions and rare historical collections. You make unique opportunities and hands-on learning experiences at the Nickle happen.