Exhibit Development

A Conversation with Vanessa Kwan and Nya Lewis

July 9, 2021

The BC Museums Association IBPOC Museum Professional Network presents a conversation with Vanessa Kwan, artist/curator and Program Director of grunt gallery, and Nya Lewis, independent curator and Founder and Director of BlackArt Gastown. Through their curatorial practices, both Nya and Vanessa maintain extensive engagement with the various communities in Vancouver and a deep commitment to ensuring that fellow artists and curators are recognized in this sector. With the role of the curator continuing to evolve beyond static collections and gallery presentation, and the sector’s reliance on contractors and auxiliary positions, how do curators negotiate with both institutions and the public on community needs, history, and permanence?


This IBPOC Museum Professionals Network is supported by the Royal Bank of Canada and the Province of British Columbia.

      Supported by the Province of BC


Nya Lewis and Vanessa Kwan Webinar Resources – 9 July 2021


Nya Lewis

Nya Lewis

Website including the art and curatorial works of Nya Lewis, as well as an introduction to BlackArt Gastown

Porch Light, A Window

Cecily Nicholson on The Cheeky Proletariat, Hogan’s Alley Society, and the works of Anthonia Ogundele and Nya Lewis

‘The Cheeky Proletariat’ Is for the People

Olamide Olanlyan on the Gastown gallery amplifying Black artists and cultural leaders in Vancouver.

Shining a light on Vancouver’s Black communities, past and present

Thierry Maout on the definitive collaborative installation East End Uprising by BlackArt Gastown.

Black Canadians brought to the centre at Vancouver Art Gallery

Kevin Griffin on Nya Lewis’s curation for the exhibition Where Do We Go From Here? at the Vancouver Art Gallery.

Insights: On Art for Social Change with Nya Lewis Williams

Nya Lewis on the history of Black artists in Canada, expanding museum collections and the Canadian canon, and fighting complacency and assumed expectations in the art world.

Quilt of Hope: Vancouver Artists for Black Liberation

Co-published by BlackArt Gastown and Moniker Press, this collection shares the answers of 25 artists of the greater Vancouver area on the question “What is the role of artists in dismantling anti-Black racism?”

Vanessa Kwan

Vanessa Kwan

Website including the art and curatorial works of Vanessa Kwan.

grunt gallery

Website of grunt gallery with information on new and past exhibitions, accessibility projects, the Blue Cabin Floating Artist Residency, and the Mount Pleasant Community Art Screen.


Website for the seven-member artist collective and their installation and performance works from 2001 to 2014.

Other Sights

Website for the Vancouver-based non-profit organization and artist/curator collective dedicated to “temporary art projects in public spaces.

Ten Blocks: Small Notes on the Public Imaginary

For the tenth anniversary of the PuSh International Performing Arts Festival, this essay was included in Placemaking: A Decade in the City, edited by Alex Lazaridis. Vanessa Kwan meditates on performance, participatory citizenship, and bearing witness to connections among the urban public.

Vancouver Family

Participatory project engaging community through text and print circulation.

A Conversation with Whess Harman, the New Curator at grunt gallery

Adrienne Huard interviews Whess Harman on their curatorial practice and professional development through their work with grunt gallery.