Montreal is a city brimming with creativity—one doesn’t have to look further than the street art adorning almost every building from NDG to the Plateau to see that. From graffiti murals to fine arts, the local art scene in Montreal is as vibrant as the city itself. For a taste of some of the best current local (and international) talent we recommend checking out these contemporary art galleries.
10. Parisian Laundry
One of Montreal’s leading galleries, Parisian Laundry is a local gem that can boast international influence. With satellite projects in art capitals of the world like New York, Berlin, and Toronto, the artists showcases here are the creme de la creme (comme on dit a Paris). All the pieces that come through the doors of this industrial building-turned-gallery are curated carefully by the Parisian Laundry team, and it shows.
Where: 3550, Saint-Antoine Ouest
9. Station 16
Located in the heart of the city, Station 16 pushes the boundaries of contemporary art, showcasing works with a definitively urban core. From street art and graffiti to printmaking to design, they exhibit the works of both local and international artists whose works might not have a home in more traditional galleries. Station 16 gallery and its sister printshop are part of LNDMRK, the guys behind the Mural festival and Saintwoods, so you know they’re cool.
Where: 3523 Boul St-Laurent
Source: Tourisme Montreal
Come for the architecture, stay for the art. The pieces on display at this contemporary gallery may be modern, but the walls around it are anything but. The building—which now houses some of the best Canadian and international contemporary works in the city—was once a sprawling shipyard, built in 1846 by Augustin Cantin. Right on the scenic Lachine Canal in Griffintown, sail away on the tides of some truly impressive art, in an equally impressive space.
Where: 2020 William St.
Home of Concordia’s best work from their Faculty of Fine Arts students, teachers, and alumni, this non-profit gallery is all about supporting emerging talent. Students run the show at FOFA, and the gallery occasionally offers grants and internship programs for promising Concordia artists. The art on display ranges as far and wide as the talent of the students who create it—there’s always something new to be seen, and new artists to discover.
Where: 1515 rue Ste-Catherine Ouest
More than just a gallery, Articule is a centre for emerging artists, and aims to engage the artistic community with discussion, promoting networking opportunities and challenging established conventions with their experimental approach. They’re not-for-profit, independent, and artist-run. They boast an open structure where collaboration is key in planning exhibits, screenings, talks, and programming. Located in the Mile End, the welcoming and unpretentious atmosphere welcomes patrons to come as they are and stay awhile.
Where: 262 Fairmount W.
5. Phi centre
Source: Vincent Toi, Phi Center
The Phi Centre has a little bit of everything—their mission is to make art (all kinds of art) accessible to everybody. Their space houses everything from interactive exhibits, one of the city’s best venues to hear international and local live DJs, a dining space for special events, and movie screenings of arthouse films. They have a multitude of special events every day of the week, and there’s sure to be something that tickles just about any fancy.
Where: 407, Saint-Pierre Street
4. DHC fondation pour l’art contemporain
DHC Foundation for Contemporary art is another awesome not-for-profit which every year offers a handful of long-running exhibits for the public to enjoy, totally free. They’re housed in two beautiful heritage buildings in Old Montreal—get lost in the beautiful artwork and in the winding cobblestone streets of this historical neighbourhood.
Where: 451 & 465 St-Jean Street
3. Fonderie darling
Fonderie Darling is a unique visual arts centre under the umbrella of Montreal’s Quarter Ephemere, a group which reclaims abandoned industrial buildings in the city and converts the spaces into art venues. Their mission is to increase awareness of local art while at the same time drawing attention to these desolate urban spaces. Fonderie Darling is part art gallery, part artists studio block, and all heart.
Where: 475 Ottawa St.
2. Freshpaint Gallery
Founded by the International Convention of Graffiti Under Pressure, Freshpaint Gallery delivers exactly what it’s name evokes. All in the name of promoting urban culture, the exhibition space and special events aim to educate and engage patrons about the unique world of street art. Alongside the gallery, the group takes beautification into its own hands, creating art and temporary installations in vacant spaces around the city.
Where: 221 Ste Catherine E.
1. Galerie de Bellefeuille
An all-Canadian gallery turned International, Helen and Jacques de Bellefeuille strive to showcase emerging Canadian talent alongside higher-tier artists from around the globe. It was founded in 1980 and has hosted many important events since. Artists like Damien Hirst and Sophie Ryder have seen the walls of de Bellefeuille. It’s become such an important space in the city, that in 2014 they took over a location across the street from the original gallery, dedicating it to 6,500 square feet of contemporary art.
1367 Greene Avenue, Montreal, Quebec