3091 Agira Rd, Duncan, BC V9L 3Y3
Just a few minutes outside the downtown core of Duncan lies The Ou Gallery. A relatively new contemporary gallery with monthly exhibitions, events and an artist residency program, The Ou aims to showcase emerging arts while fostering a sense of community around the arts in the Cowichan Valley. Aiming to be ‘more than just a wall space,’ owners Donovan and Barkley have a clear vision for this space as one where everyone is welcome, expectations are left at the door, and curiosity is strongly encouraged.
As Barclay says, “We’d like to expand what art means to people in our community.” Hosting monthly exhibitions, events, and an artist in residence program, The Ou is a place where visitors can see artworks, experience live performances, and meet resident artists as they work in the studio space. The two owners are deeply connected to the arts, both as practicing artists and as advocates for community engagement around the arts. Donovan works primarily in oils and acrylics, currently showing a collection of his paintings at The Ou based on photographs of his family taken by his grandfather in the 1960’s. Barclay chooses to work in mixed media, from oil pastels to acrylics, ink, charcoal, photography and film. She’s also a strong influence in The Ou’s mission to foster a continuous, inclusive conversation about the arts amongst all who visit.
She points to the fact that at times, pieces on exhibition at The Ou are not for sale, and sometimes not even complete. “Maybe nothing’s for sale, maybe it’s just exploring their process, and a few finished pieces, but together as an artistic community, specifically at The Ou, we can work through and explore those ideas and create a more interesting artistic experience for people who come here.”
As one of the few contemporary galleries in Cowichan, The Ou encourages artists to submit proposals for exhibitions that include projections, sculptures, and installations – the latter that are at times created within the space so that visitors have the opportunity to watch an exhibit take shape rather than simply witnessing a finished piece or collection.
You can find a full calendar of upcoming exhibitions and events on their website.