Yellowknife art gallery set to open in September

An art gallery will open in Yellowknife on September 2, promising to feature different artists from the territory every week.

Colin Dempsey, a business administration professor at Aurora College with a long history in the Yellowknife arts community, will open The Gallery on 47th with his wife, Ainsley, on September 2.

Several years ago, Dempsey operated a gallery in a neighbouring building. The new gallery, in the space being vacated by boutique Mermaid and Moon, will occupy a larger space.


Dempsey said he and his wife felt ready to run a gallery again.

“It’s a weird thing to think of a gallery as infrastructure, but it is,” he said.

“As an artist is progressing in their career, they need to have a solo show.

“That is a major step forward in terms of accessing grants, getting into bigger galleries, being part of national exhibitions. All of this stuff starts with doing a solo show.”

To have that kind of show, Dempsey said, artists need an exhibition space set up for the purposes and willing to clear out its inventory on a consistent basis to highlight one artist at a time.


“By providing the facility, it actually enhances the potential of the local arts community, because suddenly people are able to get those critical solo shows,” he said.

Yellowknife’s arts community has regularly raised the absence of a territorial gallery as a crucial gap in the NWT’s offering for visual artists.

Most recently, a trailer doubling as a mobile art space has served a tongue-in-cheek role as an unofficial territorial gallery.

The Gallery on 47th opens on Yellowknife’s 47 Street on September 2 with a collection of existing inventory at a reduced price.


From there, the gallery’s focus will switch weekly. Artists lined up include Carey Bray, Aidan Cartwright, and the opening of the 2022 Cape Dorset Print Collection, an annual graphics collection featuring Inuit fine art.

The full fall schedule can be found on the gallery’s Facebook page.