Vancouver’s 30 Best Family-Friendly Places to Explore the Arts: Visual Arts

To celebrate Vancouver’s designation as one of Canada’s Cultural Capitals in 2011, we asked for your favourite family-friendly places to explore the arts in the city. And you came through, with suggestions for everything from little-known gems to established institutions. This week we’ll introduce you to the nominees.

Today, we’re featuring these six visual arts organizations:

  • 4Cats Arts Studio
  • Bill Reid Gallery of Northwest Coast Art
  • Collage Collage
  • Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden
  • Public Art Walking Tours
  • Vancouver Art Gallery

4Cats Arts Studio


4Cats is an arts studio for children from 2 to 15, letting them draw inspiration from famous artists and create with professional-quality materials.
“It’s a really fun way to create beautiful art and learn about the amazing artists that created them! They also have awesome birthday parties, anniversary parties, corporate parties, school field trips and fun workshops and camps. And with so many locations there has to be one near your house.”
Website | Twitter | Facebook

Bill Reid Gallery of Northwest Coast Art

The Bill Reid Gallery is an ideal place to expose the family to the fabulous contemporary Aboriginal art of this region, including some of Reid’s most famous works, such as those featured on the $20 bill.
“Small and quiet, ie. not crowded, ie. no one to bother. I don’t try to stay too long with my preschooler, though in the last exhibit there was a stop-motion film of carving a mask from a raw log to finished piece that was about 5 minutes long and she watched it 3 times in a row.”
Website | Twitter | Facebook

Collage Collage


Collage Collage is part store, part studio, and part school, offering workshops for children 3-12-years-old as well as a venue for an arts-related birthday party. Shop, look and learn in a creative environment.
“The best child-focused art store I’ve ever seen. The owner is lovely and so knowledgeable. She gives art classes, hosts parties and has the best selection of art books for children.”

Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden


This gorgeous and peaceful Chinese garden represents a classic Ming Dynasty scholar’s residence. With the aim of being an arts and cultural hub, the garden hosts special events to connect cultures and communities.
“Good in any weather, lots of special events, a favourite is the Winter Soltice Lantern Display.”
Website | Twitter | Facebook

Public Art Walking Tours

Vancouver has an abundance of public art, especially as a legacy of Vancouver Biennale and the 2010 Winter Olympic Games. Whether you stroll on your own (see one of the maps available  ) or sign up for one of the tours offered by the Architectural Institute of BC among others , a public art walking tour lets your family discover art in some unexpected places.
Miss 604 website | Vancouver Biennale website| Art BC website

Vancouver Art Gallery

With over 10,000 works of art in its permanent collection, plus visiting exhibits and public programs, the Vancouver Art Gallery has something for everyone of all ages.
“With a membership it’s so easy to explore the gallery with kids and simply leave if it’s not working out. Weekend programming is excellent.”
“Super Sundays are a great way for children to get involved.”
Website | Twitter | Facebook

Diane Wild

Diane Wild is a writer, editor and web communications consultant, working in the solar, health care, and arts industries. She also runs the website TV, eh? about Canadian television.

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