Memory Palaces exhibition

Memory Palaces exhibition dates: January 6 – 28, 2017.

Gallery hours: Wednesday to Saturday from 1-5pm.

Exhibition opening: Thursday, January 5th from 7-10 pm

Founders talk: Saturday, January 21 at 4pm.


New exhibition celebrates over a decade of arts programming at Oxygen Art Centre!

Throughout 2017 Oxygen Art Centre will stage many events that reflect the work of the centre over the past 14 years.  Oxygen Art Centre was founded as the Nelson Fine Arts Centre Society in May 2002.  On January 5th, 2005 the Society opened its doors at its current studio location in downtown Nelson and soon after started doing business as Oxygen Art Centre.   On January 5th, 2017 the Memory Palaces exhibition will open at Oxygen.  This exhibition celebrates the history of this dynamic Artist Run Centre.  We invite you to join us for a walk down memory lane and into the future!


Over the past month Oxygen’s staff and community members have embarked on a residency to process, digitize and install all of its archives in an exhibition called Memory Palaces.  The exhibition will also be developed into an online archive and all materials will also be stored in accordance with archival standards.   What is a ‘Memory Palace’?  So the story goes…  In ancient Rome there was an important meeting with many people in attendance, including some of the great minds of the time.  The meeting was held in a Coliseum type building and when an earthquake hit, the building collapsed and many people were killed and many missing!  In an effort to try to figure out who had been there and who was missing, all the survivors came together to try to remember.  One by one, they began to visualize the room; who was standing next to you and who was behind them?  On and on they went until they were able to reconstruct the room entirely and everyone in it!   They were using a mnemonic technique called a Memory Palace.
In the spirit of this process Oxygen Art Centre will be engaging people in the community to help develop a collective memory of the history of the centre, one that will also serve to help define the centre and its place and role in the community.   This exhibition will engage the public by asking those who have been past patrons and participants at Oxygen, to help contribute to a collective memory of Oxygen Art Centre through reflection, and in response to memory triggers in the exhibition.


Oxygen Art Centre is an artist run centre and community arts organization that has now completed 14 years of successful arts education programming and 11 years of full season programming including; 200 courses since 2002, 38 exhibitions since 2005, 27 one-month long artist residencies since 2005 and over 150 events.  The centre also produces independent artist or curator driven ‘Special Projects’ and has produced or co-produced 8 since 2002.  Special Projects include, High Muck a Muck: Playing Chinese, Requiem for a Glacier, IMAGINARIUM, BOOM and Flame.  Much of this work has received critical acclaim in the art world both here in the Kootenays and beyond!


Oxygen Art Centre is considered to be an integral hub for arts and culture activities in the West Kootenays.  As an Artist Run Centre most of the centre’s Board members, staff and contractors are also practicing artists.  The centre has played an important role in fostering artists and the arts in the region and has been an important stepping-stone for many emerging Kootenay artists, into their careers as professional artists.  The goals of Oxygen Art Centre are to stimulate the creation, exhibition and discussion of contemporary art in all disciplines, to stimulate rural cultural development and professional practices in rural artists, to engage in community development through art-based projects, to achieve diversity in all programming and to pay nationally recognized fees to all artists.  Oxygen Art Centre is particularly interested in work with regional relevance, cross-discipline work and work that engages audiences in participatory processes.  By looking back and celebrating the accomplishments of the centre we celebrate those of our arts community, and bring into focus the importance of the arts in contributing to the rich social fabric of life here in the Kootenays.


The Memory Palaces exhibition will be up at Oxygen Art Centre from January 6 – 28, 2017.  Gallery hours are Wednesday to Saturday from 1-5pm.  The exhibition opening is on Thursday, January 5th from 7-10 pm with special guests in attendance!  There will also be a founding members artist talk on Saturday, January 21 at 4pm.  Admission is free and everyone is welcome.


Oxygen Art Centre gratefully acknowledges support for this programming from the British Columbia Arts Council, Province of British Columbia, Columbia Kootenay Cultural Alliance, Columbia Basin Trust and Business for the Arts sponsors Hall Printing and the Nelson Star.

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