Originally two separate entities, Centennial Gallery and Gairloch Gallery were amalgamated on 27 June 1980 to form Oakville Galleries, each bringing its own distinct history.
Oakville Galleries is a not-for-profit contemporary art museum. The Galleries reaches communities in Oakville, and wider audiences regionally, nationally and internationally.
Oakville Galleries is a forum for engaging people with the questions that shape us as individuals, communities and cultures. In all aspects of its operations, the Galleries draws on contemporary art to facilitate reflection and discovery in unexpected and stimulating ways.
To stimulate thought, to shift perspectives, to inspire engagement.
Oakville Galleries is committed to the presentation of contemporary art in all aspects of its programming – exhibitions, education and acquisitions for the permanent collection. The Galleries' educational goals include a commitment to providing an effective means by which each visitor is offered supportive guidance in approaching contemporary art and its incumbent issues, while still nurturing each visitor's individual experience of the work on view.
Situated within larger public environments, the physical settings of both Gairloch Gardens and Centennial Square contribute to the growth and development of new audiences. Together, the park and the heritage house present a unique environment for realizing artworks that respond to the particular qualities of the architecture and the location. Programming at Centennial Square, located within the public library building, attracts a broad cross-section of the community, with over 70 per cent of Oakville's residents using the library facilities on a regular basis.
Recognizing the importance of its relationship to the community, Oakville Galleries continually assesses the nature of its programs. In questioning the role of a public art gallery in given communities, every effort is made to define new directions and goals in the complex social situations of present-day urban art institutions. The result is a program that brings together issues from different perspectives, i.e. exhibitions, lectures, activities directed towards targeted publics, publications, interactive online projects, and artist/curator/writer residencies. Exhibitions are the principal way through which Oakville Galleries contributes to the community. Most recently, Oakville Galleries has routinely programmed exhibitions with an opportunity to experience and compare the ways in which contemporary artists approach issues that are relevant to our varied publics. Oakville Galleries is able to forge outreach and crucial links with specific communities.