The Reach Gallery Museum
The Reach Gallery Museum is a public art gallery and museum located in Abbotsford, British Columbia. It exhibits artwork from across Canada and around the world free of charge to visitors. Its mission is to be the centre of cultural and creative innovation in the Fraser Valley, committed to preserving and sharing the stories of the rich and diverse cultural heritage of the community and showcasing the best in contemporary visual arts from local to national levels. The Reach is also the regional archival repository and houses a significant collection of material culture from the Abbotsford region in its environmentally controlled storage areas.
The gallery is located at 32388 Veterans Way, Abbotsford, British Columbia. It is part of the municipal complex that includes City Hall.
Abbotsford City Council, with the support of the majority of its citizens, believed the municipality would benefit from a dedicated, professional arts and culture facility. In December 2005 the City established the Abbotsford Museum and Art Gallery Steering Committee in order to explore community aspirations for the planned centre.
The concept of this centre evolved alongside the concurrent vision to become a community hub, a tourist destination, a location for the stewardship and interpretation of Abbotsford history, and a platform for excellence in the visual arts. It was determined that the space should be flexible enough to encourage community participation, appreciation and engagement in the arts.
From the outset, community stakeholders voiced their desire for a unique design. Draft plans were developed and public information sessions and open houses in 2006 and early 2007 invited public input on these plans. Construction, undertaken by PCL Constructors Inc. began shortly after that in June 2007 and the building was officially opened on September 22 of 2008. The total cost was $10.8 million.
The Reach Gallery Museum Abbotsford is a 20,000 square foot LEED building with 6,100 square feet of exhibition space. In addition to the Great Hall and two community exhibition spaces, The Reach has a multi-purpose studio for innovative arts and heritage programming, two climate controlled storage areas, and a flexible, multi-purpose public programming space.
The Gallery has both permanent and rotating art exhibitions featuring significant local, regional, and national content. In 2015, The Reach opened Voices of the Valley, the permanent history exhibition, sharing stories of the significant events and individuals that shaped the present-day community. The Reach offers a robust annual schedule of events and programs that includes professional talks, panel discussions, classes, workshops, tours and special events.
In 2013 the Gallery established a program called Emerge for aspiring artists and arts professionals between the ages of 16 and 30. The program provides emerging talent from the Fraser Valley with the opportunity to develop professional skills, exhibit their work and learn from established professionals in a collaborative and supportive environment.