History

Mary Longman, Ancestors Rising, 2006

Mary Longman, Ancestors Rising, 2006

The MacKenzie Art Gallery is the legacy of Norman MacKenzie, K.C. (1869 – 1936).

MacKenzie was a prominent Regina lawyer and a pioneer patron of the arts. His art collection was destroyed by the tornado that toppled the city of Regina in 1912. Only one piece from his original collection survived. It is a testament to MacKenzie’s vision and tenacity that the tornado marked the beginning, not the end, of his activity as a collector.

From 1912 - 1936 he amassed an impressive collection of paintings and drawings of the Italian Renaissance, antiquities of Asia and the Middle East, and works by contemporary artists of his day, including James Henderson and Inglis Sheldon-Williams. MacKenzie's was the first art collection of note in Saskatchewan.

MacKenzie’s formidable energy as a patron of the arts, led to his appointment in 1925 as the first Trustee of the National Gallery of Canada from the West. 

When he died in 1936, he bequeathed his collection, along with an endowment, to the University of Saskatchewan, Regina College so that great works of art would be preserved and exhibited for the people of Saskatchewan.

The Norman MacKenzie Art Gallery opened in 1953 as a university-run gallery, and was located at the Regina Campus of the University of Saskatchewan (later known as the University of Regina).

In May 1990, the Gallery became incorporated as a not-for-profit public art gallery. The MacKenzie Art Gallery, as it is known today, then moved into its current home in the T.C. Douglas Building at 3475 Albert Street.

Today, the MacKenzie Art Gallery is Saskatchewan's largest  public art Gallery. It encompasses over 100,000 square feet of space on three levels. The exhibition floor includes eight environmentally controlled galleries, totaling 24,000 square feet.

The Gallery also has state-of-the-art professional facilities including a conservation lab, workshop, preparation rooms and vault. Other public amenities include a 185-seat theatre, a resource centre (The Learning Centre), gift shop and conference rooms.

The MacKenzie Art Gallery now serves approximately 70,000 visitors a year, and over 40,000 experience the MacKenzie's exhibitions and education programs through our touring shows and outreach initiatives.

Through the years, the Gallery has developed a national reputation and won numerous awards for its leading-edge contemporary exhibitions, and for its innovative educational and provincial outreach programs.