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This Week in History: Confederation Centre Art Gallery Officially Opened 50 Years Ago

June 5, 2014

Gallery director Kevin Rice to deliver June 10 ‘Circle Around the Centre' lecture on CCAG history and permanent collection

(Charlottetown, P.E.I.) - Fifty years ago this week the Confederation Centre's art gallery and museum was officially opened by The Rt. Hon. Vincent Massey, former Governor General of Canada. The June 1, 1964 opening was significant for many reasons, not only because this exhibition space was, at the time, the largest in the region.

Today, the Confederation Centre Art Gallery fully occupies two of the five pavilions surrounding the Centre's Memorial Hall. Over the past five decades it has presented more than 1,000 exhibitions in its four primary gallery spaces and concourse locations, as well as outdoor sculptures on the plaza. For half a century the gallery has been delivering a compelling range of shows-from historically significant exhibitions by Canadian and international artists, to Canadian fine crafts and folk art; from maps and textiles to contemporary works.

Current Gallery director, Kevin Rice, will deliver the next talk in the ongoing 50th Anniversary ‘Circle Around the Centre' series at noon on June 10 in Memorial Hall, when he will show some of the archival material from those important early years.

"I am looking forward to sharing with the lunch guests some of the gallery's historic milestones, including photos and clippings from the time of the gallery's construction and opening, as well as some notable exhibits, and important acquisitions," says Rice. "Our latest, very timely exhibition is called Five Decades, which features 100 of the gallery's key commissions, donations, and purchases from the past 50 years."

Rice will also describe the growth and scope of the current collection including the expansive Robert Harris collection and archives. Over the years dozens of gallery staff members have contributed to the gallery's success; Rice will speak to a few of those individuals, including the five gallery directors who preceded him.

Rice reminds guests "Everyone is more than welcome to view the Gallery's Five Decades exhibition before or after the luncheon." The gallery is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. during the summer months, with extended hours in July and August.

‘Circle Around the Centre' luncheon tickets can be booked at Confederation Centre's box office, in person; or by calling (902) 566-1267, or toll free at 1-800-565-0278; or online at www.confederationcentre.com

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Photo Cutline: Then and now, (Left): 1964 art exhibitions in the newly opened Confederation Centre Art Gallery and Museum (CCOA archives photo). (Right): The current gallery exhibition, Five Decades: A Canadian Art Collection in the same spaces in 2014 (Graham Stewart photo. Colour version attached.)