Visual Arts

Visual Arts at Banff Centre offers exceptional programs for professional artists, curators, and art critics and researchers, as well as practicum opportunities for emerging practitioners. Visual Arts also supports, develops, and presents contemporary art through the Walter Phillips Gallery.

Our residency programs provide the time, studio space, facilities, feedback, and engagement with peers and faculty to hone your artistic development. Our thematic and self-directed programs encourage experimentation and exploration of ideas, theory, and process.

Our practicum programs offer practical hands-on training, mentorship, and experiential learning opportunities for aspiring artists, curators, and museum and gallery practitioners.

The Walter Phillips Gallery is committed to the production, presentation, collection, and analysis of contemporary art. The gallery houses the Banff International Curatorial Institute which focuses on programming and publications exploring curatorial research, pedagogy and practice, visual art criticism and writing.

For a detailed history of Visual Arts at Banff Centre, visit our history section


Thematic residencies bring participants together to create, discuss, and develop artistic research and projects around a specific theme. Through peer interaction, conversation, independent studio work, formal lectures, collective activities, and studio visits from visiting faculty and guests, participants gain new ideas and insights that can be applied to the thematic exploration of their work.

Self-directed residencies like the Banff Artist in Residence (BAiR) program are designed for participants to focus on their practice in a supportive environment. Participants are encouraged to cultivate new directions in their work, experiment with production techniques, and self-direct their research, activities, and time. Participants may attend talks, exhibitions, and performances by visiting artists as well as receive studio visits from program guests. Depending on the nature of your program and project, participants have access to an individual studio 24 hours a day as well as access to outstanding art production facilities and knowledgeable staff.


As Banff Centre rebuilds our programming and staffing across all departments, we are taking the opportunity to review and redesign the Practicum Program with the intention of rebuilding better. At this time, a restart date for the Practicum Program has yet to be determined, however is expected to resume in Fall 2022. 

Please join our mailing list if you wish to receive updates as new information is announced. 

Visual Arts offers practicum programs in visual arts studio, curatorial practice, arts administration and research, and gallery installation. These programs are intense, experiential learning opportunities that marry practical training in the arts with hands-on, real world experiences through assisting staff in the delivery of Visual Arts and Walter Phillips Gallery programs.

Practicum programs are ideal for recent graduates (undergraduate or graduate) wishing to gain professional experience within an institutional context. Decision-making and problem-solving skills, communication, critical thinking, teamwork, and leadership skills are valuable components of the program. In addition, participants have one day each week that is dedicated to their personal artistic research activities. These programs require a full-time one year commitment and independent thinking.


The Banff International Curatorial Institute Fellowship program supports experienced curators, arts writers, researchers, and artists in focusing deeply on the continued development of their practice over an extended period of time. In addition to having the time to work on longer term projects, participants are invited to engage with the creative community in Visual Arts, meet with artists-in-residence and each other, and share their work. A rotating international jury selects applications for this fully scholarshipped program.

Learn more about the Banff International Curatorial Institute.


Barbara Spohr Memorial Award 

The Walter Phillips Gallery awards the biennial Barbara Spohr Memorial Award to Visual Arts residency alumni working in photography. The prize of $6,000 CAD in value goes toward supporting the recipient in developing new work through the completion of a second residency at Banff Centre. Learn more.

The combination of being immersed in incredible nature paired with outstanding facilities was [essential] to my mindset, progression, and outcome of the work I pursued at Banff Centre.

Josephine Mette Larsen, Banff Clay Revival, 2018

Contact Us

For questions about the department and what we offer, please contact:

Phone: 403.762.6100

Image credit: Mark Clintberg, Meet me in the woods, 2010. Coated aluminum and reflective vinyl signs. Glyde Hall and the Ken Madsen path. Commissioned for the collection of the Alberta Foundation for the Arts to celebrate the 75th anniversary of Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity. For additional information about the work please visit Walter Phillips Gallery.