The History of The Chapel Gallery

Ink Image of Chapel Gallery by Artist Braun                          Ink Drawing of St Thomas College and The Chapel Gallery North Battleford by Braun

                                                                                    The Chapel Gallery - Ink Drawing - 1987 - by Braun                                                                            St. Thomas College - Limited Edition Print - 1985 - Julian Sadlowski 

The Chapel Gallery owes its presence to dedicated volunteers who fostered a vision of the arts in North Battleford. They did this by engaging and receiving support from the City of North Battleford, the Parks and Recreation Department, the Battlefords Allied Arts Council, and the St.Thomas College Commission (1984). Together they undertook the renovation of the former chapel to the architecturally impressive gallery of today. Commissioned by the Oblates of St. Mary's Province in 1965, the modernist building is connected by a serpentine ambulatory to the former St. Thomas College complex, now the Don Ross Community Centre. After serving as a chapel for over twenty years, it has been converted into an art gallery meeting national standards. Among art galleries both its design and setting are unique. The patio along the west wall affords an unsurpassed view of the North Saskatchewan River.

The gallery's first home in 1973 was a room in a rented premise at 1162 -100th Street, which it shared with the very first Arts Centre. In 1976 they moved together to 1301-104th Street where they occupied a small but attractively renovated building for ten years. Having outgrown that facility, the gallery moved to the present location in 1986 where it was officially opened on June 9, 1987. Named The Chapel Gallery in deference to the building's spiritual past, it is now dedicated to being the finest possible showcase for the arts in this community.

The Chapel Gallery's exhibitions, programs, and events engage community and promotes a greater appreciation of the arts and lifelong learning, enriching the artistic and cultural heritage of the region. The gallery exhibits a range of visual art forms and showcases artists at local, provincial, and national levels. The Chapel Gallery regularly exhibits member's works as well as travelling exhibitions from the Organization of Saskatchewan Arts Councils (OSAC), and local art guilds and collectives, such as the Battlefords Art Club, ARC Artist Run Centre, Rivers Edge Quilters, and the Battlefords Photography Club.

Solo exhibitions of prominent Saskatchewan artists have also been held, including Joe Fafard, Douglas Bentham, Dorothy Knowles, Sandra Semchuk, and Zachari Logan, many of whom have won national awards and honours. In 2018, Earthtones: Permanent Exhibition of the Saskatchewan Arts Board - Curated by Leah Garven and Belinda Harrow celebrated the Saskatchewan Arts Boards 70th Anniversary. This exhibition featured some of Saskatchewan's preeminent artists who through their influence and innovation established Saskatchewan art beyond our borders and into the Canadian Identity.

Our Mission Statement "Honouring diversity through art" is championed through art projects, community conversations, and community events in response to current issues or historical injustices. In 2016, The Chapel Gallery hosted the national travelling art memorial Walking With Our Sisters which honoured the families and lives of missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls, two-spirit people, and raised awareness to the issues that surround MMIWG2S. It also advocated for a national inquiry into MMIWG2S, which concluded in a final recommendation report in 2018. The art memorial was supported by hundreds of volunteers and events were held in our community over a period of four years, concluding in 2019. In 2020, The Chapel Gallery hosted the Witness Blanket: A National Monument to Recognize the Atrocities of the Indian Residential School Era which featured the art of Carey Newman and was toured by the Canadian Museum of Human Rights.

 We would like to aknowledge the past and current Curators:

Anne Shiplet - 1986 - 1994

Holly Hildebrand -  1994 - 2006

Michael Brokop - 2005 - 2012

Leah Garven - 2012 - current