Who We Are
Situated on the unceded territories of the Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), səl̓ilwətaɁɬ (Tsleil-Waututh), and xwməθkwəýəm (Musqueam) Nations, The Polygon Gallery is a vibrant art institution that inspires and provokes cultural insight through adventurous programming. The Gallery is committed to championing artists and cultivating engaged audiences. Its lens of inquiry creatively responds to shifting perceptions of the world, through the histories and evolving technologies of photography and related media.
Operating as Presentation House Gallery for forty years, the organization has produced over 300 exhibitions and numerous publications, earning a reputation as an adventurous public art institution. The Polygon’s expansive programming has featured acclaimed Vancouver photographers, world‐renowned as well as emerging artists, and innovative exhibitions of historic and vernacular photography.
The Polygon is committed to the development of lens-based practices and to creating pathways for new voices within the medium, particularly as it works to articulate new narratives from artists traditionally outside the Eurocentric standard of many art galleries. Importantly, The Polygon prioritizes the presentation of work by artists who reflect the diversity of its community. Of primary importance, the Gallery continues to expand its engagement with Indigenous communities, particularly the Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh Nations.
The Polygon is committed to inclusivity, believing that art should be accessible to all people. To this end, The Polygon has removed financial barriers to participation: admission to The Polygon is offered on a by-donation basis (all day, every day), with exhibition tours, talks, and outreach programs all included. Additionally, the Gallery is working to expand its audience by providing exhibition tours in English, Farsi, French, Mandarin, and Spanish.
The Polygon is focused on providing a fun and welcoming environment for children and families, so that people from an early age come to know The Polygon as their place for interacting with, and learning about, art. This includes programs such as Gallery School, Chester Fields, Kids First Saturdays, and ongoing self-guided activities that help adults to enjoy visits with their children, all of which are free or included with admission-by-donation.
A Landmark Designed by Local Architects
The Polygon Gallery is a place for art and an incubator for new ideas. Award‐winning firm Patkau Architects envisioned the design as a response to the history and character of both the gallery and its new location at the Shipyards on Lower Lonsdale: “It is an historically resonant site — home to the port industries on which North Vancouver was built, where the mountains meet the sea.”
The Polygon Gallery’s distinctive architecture is prominent along the North Vancouver harbourfront, appearing as a singular, cohesive form. It’s reflective cladding, animated by the changing light of day, echoes the nature of the surrounding landscape. The main floor’s glass exterior invites the public to not only look inside but to see through the gallery. Conversely, the upper floor maintains an enclosed gallery space.
The Polygon Gallery is a public cultural facility operated by the British Columbia Photography and Media Arts Society, a federally registered charity. It is grateful for the ongoing support of the Canada Council for the Arts, the British Columbia Arts Council, the Province of British Columbia, and the City of North Vancouver and the District of North Vancouver through the North Vancouver Recreation & Culture Commission.