Director/Curator Kimberly Phillips Announces Departure

Tue 28 Mar 2017 12:59AM

For immediate release

Kimberly Phillips, Director and Curator of Access Gallery for the past four years, has announced her departure, to take effect late July 2017. The Board of Directors congratulates Kimberly on her new position as Curator of the Contemporary Art Gallery, which she will assume this coming August.

Access has undergone substantial transformation under Phillips’ leadership. She presented audiences with a rigorously considered curatorial programme, re-asserting Access’ role as a vital Vancouver platform for the address of critically-engaged emergent art practices. Her curatorial focus has centred on a reconsideration of the term “emergent.” Following its linguistic history, Phillips stressed the word's etymological connection to the word “emergency,” or “that which demands attention,” and the import of these connotations for an artist-run organization. Her exhibitions and events, which included presentations of work by Mike Bourscheid, Amèlie Brisson-Darveau, Elisa Ferrari, Guadalupe Martinez, Cindy Mochizuki, Laura Piasta, Emiliano Sepulveda, M.E. Sparks, Erdem Taşdelen, Tommy Ting, Guillermo Trejo, Nicole Kelly Westman, and Hyung-Min Yoon, among many others, drew in a wide array of both participating artists and audiences, linking artists of different generations to one another and to the broader community. She fostered numerous collaborations and partnerships, such as the current year-long space-sharing initiative with Other Sights for Artists’ Projects, The Foreshore. Phillips increased Access’ visibility at home by strengthening the record of its activities and stressing the value of its history with the publication of numerous books including, for example, Unsuitable as an Institution: The Tenacity of Access Gallery 1991 - 2014. She also worked to increase the organization’s international reach and impact: Twenty-Three Days at Sea, Access’ internationally recognized travelling artist residency (in partnership with Burrard Art Foundation, CAG, and China Residencies), is a recent example of a project that provokes a set of critical questions about Access’ place both within the socio-economic and cultural milieux of Vancouver and of the peripatetic contemporary art world.

Maintaining an active teaching practice at UBC and ECUAD throughout her tenure, Phillips approached the gallery as a site for critical learning. She held mentorship to be an important part of her job, offering guidance to several emerging guest curators and staff who have gone on to positions at Stride Gallery (Calgary) and Nanaimo Art Gallery.

Capacity building also played a critical role during Phillips’ leadership, and has resulted in the growth of Access’ operational budget by over 170% since her arrival in 2013. Before her departure, Phillips will oversee a second gallery expansion and facilities upgrade, which will include the creation of a new collaborative space initiative called PLOT. She leaves the gallery in its strongest position in many years; her successor will take up the Director/Curatorship as a full-time, competitively compensated position.

Phillips will be sorely missed by all who had the pleasure of working with her at Access. Her fierce commitment to emergent and underrepresented practices in the city and beyond has made a major impact on our organization, and we are delighted that she will remain a part of Vancouver’s cultural community. We look forward to observing the impact she will no doubt have at the Contemporary Art Gallery.

Board of Directors,

Access Gallery


Allison Mander-Wionzek

President, Board of Directors

Access Gallery