The Case For: Actually Buying Something From the Art Gallery Gift Shop

On any given Sunday, pre-pandemic, you could most likely find me curled up in bed, drinking miso soup (the kind my grandma says cures hangovers) out of a mug I stole from my roommate.

Last Sunday, you’d find my bed not only empty, but made. Instead of sipping soup and regretting the heels I wore the night before, I was strutting around the Polygon Gallery’s newest exhibit: Feast For the Eyes.

Make no mistake—my trip to North Vancouver was largely food-motivated. The exhibit explores the history of food photography, a topic that I thought would be extremely cool. Checking out old cookbook photos (totally disgusted by the gelatin and tuna craze of the 1970s, by the way), fashion photography and other food-centric displays was an excellent way to spend the morning. It’s hard to find safe, distanced indoor activities in the city, but this one is definitely worth the trip—plus, entry to the Polygon is by donation. (Three cheers for accessibility!) 

Then, there was the thrill I didn’t expect: the gallery gift shop. The Polygon’s retail space is full interesting, artsy, and local goods—snacks, hot sauces, ceramics, jewelry, books, stationary, and more.

I am not an impulse buyer. But my partner is, and sometimes, it’s contagious. So when he caught me staring a little too long at a set of adorable bamboo plates from Poketo, it was game over.

 One could say that impulse buying plates, of all things, is kind of boring. For me, they’re a souvenir from a cute, pandemic-era date and a delightful addition to the home I’m spending way too much time in. Maybe the exhibit just had me thinking about food (I did have the best chocolate chip cookie of my life at Lift Breakfast Bakery afterwards). Support the arts, folks.