Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery – Ontario

Badge of Awesome Communities invites you to share your favourite things to see and do in cool destinations around the world. We caught up with the folks from the Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery — one of our featured attractions from the Waterloo Region area — to learn about what they have to offer and what they think makes their community so awesome.

What makes Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery awesome?

Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery: Above anything else, it has to be the art. The Gallery is dedicated to presenting a rotating program of contemporary art exhibitions that bring artists of national and international standing into the Waterloo Region where local audiences might not otherwise get to see these works. Very often, we work with these artists to commission exciting new projects – a great example of that is our current solo exhibition by Joseph Tisiga, a Yukon-based artist and member of the Kaska Dene Nation whose paintings and sculptures provoke fresh thinking about Indigenous storytelling and historical narratives. Joseph’s exhibition is an exceptional example of what our exhibitions aim to achieve – inviting people to enjoy beautiful visual experiences that also trigger deeper conversations.

We also hold an impressive Permanent Collection of over 4000 works that we care for in trust to the people of Kitchener-Waterloo. That’s way more art than we could ever show at any given time but selections from the permanent collection are an ongoing part of our exhibitions so you can see a variety of wonderful historical works of art during any visit. We’ve also worked with community partners to exhibit works from the collection outside the Gallery where even more people can access and appreciate the Permanent Collection.

We offer year-round free admission thanks to Sunlife Financial, so everyone can feel welcome to drop in for a visit whenever they like – we’re a small enough public gallery to make a short visit worthwhile, and love to see people linger even longer when the art really grabs their interest. We’re well aware that a lot of people think art galleries are intimidating so we also offer a lot of programs that aim to make our community feel welcome – interactive drop-in days for families, stroller tours for babies and their caregivers, free multilingual gallery tours, and plenty of classes and art camps for children and youth.

What makes the Waterloo Region awesome?

Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery: Waterloo Region is a unique place – made up of three distinct cities (Cambridge, Kitchener and Waterloo) and gifted with small and charming communities like St. Jacob’s with its amazing farmer’s market. Waterloo Region has a well-earned reputation for being at the cutting edge of technology and innovation in Canada with many start-ups setting up shop here, but to have all this science and tech rubbing elbows with all the history and heritage that’s still visible in our communities makes this a truly exceptional place.

Inventiveness doesn’t stop with the tech sector either – Waterloo Region also has a bounty of craft breweries and restaurants that are constantly elevating the dining experience at the local level. We’ve been delighted to partner with a few of these chefs at our Feast for the Senses events here at the Gallery, where we invite chefs to devise a menu in response to our contemporary art exhibitions, and choosing a great place to eat, drink and discuss is a great way to round out a day of visiting your local art gallery.


Josh Martin
Josh Martin is the creative force behind Badge of Awesome. He is the author of "Misadventure Musings: Lessons learned from life's awesome and absurd moments" and "The Overcoming Obstacles Handbook."

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