A ‘fine’ art scene

Dave McDougall’s “Common Sense” was on view at Union Gallery last winter.
Dave McDougall’s “Common Sense” was on view at Union Gallery last winter.
Photo courtesy of Union Gallery
Art frequently adorns the walls at the Common Ground in the JDUC.
Art frequently adorns the walls at the Common Ground in the JDUC.

Art Guide

Both on campus and off, there are traditional and alternative spaces to view historic and contemporary art, so you’re sure to find something appealing in one of the spaces listed below. Enjoy the experience.

Agnes Etherington Art Centre

Location: On campus at the corner of Bader Lane and University Avenue

Hours: Tuesday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Saturday to Sunday, 1 to 5 p.m.; Monday, closed

Website: queensu.ca/ageth

The Agnes, as you’ll soon come to call the gallery, is home to one of the largest campus art collections in the country. It is the proud home of one of only four publicly-owned Rembrandt paintings in Canada, as well as an extensive African art collection, and works by Rebecca Belmore and various members of the Group of Seven, among others. The Agnes is composed of several small galleries connected to one another, each with its own mandate for the collections shown.

Pros: It’s close to home; the gallery houses works by big-name artists that are often on display.

Cons: Many exhibitions have long runs, limiting what you see; there’s not a lot of readily available information about the works on display.

• Modern Fuel Gallery

Location: 21A Queen Street.

Hours: Wednesday to Saturday, 12 to 4:30 p.m.; Sunday to Tuesday, closed

Website: kingston.org/kaai

Modern Fuel Gallery is an artist-run centre, meaning everyone who works in the space also contributes to art production. Just walk through the front door, up a retro metal staircase and you’re in the gallery. It’s a two-room space with old, uneven plaster walls, and the intimacy of the space makes it a truly wonderful experience. The third room in the gallery is the office and media centre, where members can use high-tech graphics and film programs to create their art.

Pros: Some of the most interesting and innovative art you can find in Kingston.

Cons: It’s quite a trek from res, especially in the winter; unless you don’t have afternoon classes, Saturday is really the only time you can go.

• Union Gallery

Location: on the first floor of Stauffer Library

Hours: Tuesday to Friday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday, 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; Sunday to Monday, closed

Website: uniongallery.queensu.ca

Union Gallery is a very modern space with concrete floors and soaring white walls. The art is usually very interesting and provocative because it is often the work of students and recent graduates of the BFA program.

Pros: Exhibitions are mainly centred on artists from the Queen’s community; it’s a great place to take a study break or waste some time between classes.

Cons: If you study in the evening and want a break, the gallery is closed; the lighting is often low and therefore not great for viewing art.

Alternative Spaces ...

• The Common Ground

Location: Second floor of the JDUC

Hours: 8 a.m. to 1 a.m. every day; the JDUC is open 24 hours a day, so technically you can check the art out at any time of day or night.

Throughout the year the Common Ground in the JDUC often hangs student art in its seating area. As you sit and drink your fair trade coffee or enjoy your bagel, you can chat with friends about the art.

Pros: Right in the heart of campus; great food and drinks at reasonable prices to savour while enjoying the works on display.

Cons: After 1 a.m. they lock up the couches, chairs and tables, so there’s no place to sit; and there’s no place to sit during peak business hours.

• Windmills

Location: 184 Princess Street.

Hours: Sunday, 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Monday to Thursday, 8 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Friday to Saturday 8 a.m. to 12 a.m.

Windmills is a wonderful place to eat and enjoy art. Exhibitions change monthly, allowing diners to experience new environments throughout the year. The pieces range in style and composition, but are contemporary images often centred on food and/or nature.

Pros: The art is polished, the food is wonderful and the service is great.

Cons: The food prices are moderate to high, but well worth it every once in a while.

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