Osoyoos is a work of art

Here are a few ways to access the area’s colour and culture

The Nk’Mip Desert Cultural Centre in Osoyoos, B.C.
The Nk’Mip Desert Cultural Centre houses art on its exterior and within. — Photo courtesy Nk’Mip Desert Cultural Centre

The Okanagan Valley is well known for its bountiful wineries, diverse landscapes and culturally diverse people. While there are ways to celebrate all of those things, like visiting the Osoyoos Desert Centre, spending an afternoon at the Osoyoos Museum and participating in a wine tasting tour, there are also ways to explore the area’s lesser-known scene: art and design.

Here is a list of the most accessible and most entertaining locations to view and purchase some of Osoyoos’ colourful works. 

The Art Gallery of Osoyoos, situated in Osoyoos, offers original art produced by artisans. The gallery exhibits work by guest artists, local and non-local, at around nine shows throughout the year. The gallery has been open since the 1990s and is a non-profit organization run by the committee of the Osoyoos & District Arts Council. 

Groups under the council umbrella include: the Osoyoos Potters, Artists on Main, Osoyoos Photography Club, O’s Own Writers, Osoyoos Wood Carvers, the Osoyoos Quilters Guild, the Marcotte Music Studio, the South Okanagan Amateur Players, and Osoyoos Music in the Park. Pieces from these groups can be found and purchased at the gallery.

The Okanagan Art Gallery is tucked away on bustling Main Street in Osoyoos. While the door to the gallery is small, the space inside is immense (and filled with local art). The gallery is an artists’ co-op of about 25 individuals, mainly painters (acrylic, oil and watercolour), sculptors and photographers. Artists will often be on location, and visitors can watch them work, creating new pieces for sale. The gallery also runs workshops that are open to the public. Special events and shows are often held here, so checking the website for upcoming events is paramount for visitors wanting to take part.

Another location to purchase and view local creations is Gallery97 Artworks. Run by local artists, the gallery carries a wide array of art in different styles and mediums. Its variety of paintings, pottery, sculpture and more created by local artisans makes Gallery97 the perfect resource for finding local art and design. 

The Chase Gallery in nearby Oliver features the work of Sherrill Chase who, after travelling the world, has settled in Osoyoos. Her work features still-life landscapes that portray the beauty of interiors/exteriors, combining still lifes and landscapes (usually employing highly decorated backgrounds). 

The Nk’Mip Desert Cultural Centre displays the important culture and heritage of the land on which the Osoyoos’ Syilx Indian Band’s people live. The roof of the building is covered with soil, and has been planted with the desert biome’s vegetation. The outside of the building is accented with  local blue-stained pine that has been discoloured by microscopic fungi, giving it a blue tint. The centre was one of the first to promote the use of blue-stained wood from beetle-damaged trees. The centre itself exhibits original art, paintings and other works, in addition to a live creature corner.

For more information on the work of art that is Osoyoos, check out the area’s tourism website.

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