The Vancouver Art Gallery received the largest single cash gift to an art gallery in Canadian history on Thursday.
The gallery received $100 million from the Audain Foundation to support the creation of a new building in downtown Vancouver.
The new Vancouver Art Gallery at the Chan Centre for the Visual Arts is described as a “multi-functional art centre and community space.”
The gallery will provide more space to support artists, the organization said in a release, and will be the first Passive House art gallery in North America, “a voluntary standard for energy efficiency which significantly reduces the building’s ecological footprint.”
The building is being designed by Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron together with Vancouver architects Perkins & Will, in consultation with Coast Salish artists.
“The new Vancouver Art Gallery — from its conception and design — will reflect a Coast Salish worldview,” Vancouver Art Gallery Elder-in-residence and art and design consultant Skwetsimeltxw Willard ‘Buddy’ Joseph, said in a release.
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Local Indigenous artists Debra Sparrow, Chepximiya Siyam’ Janice George, Skwetsimeltxw Willard ‘Buddy’ Joseph, and Angela George have been engaged as art and design consultants on the project since March 2021.
“The rich exterior expression is much more than a design; it represents spiritual energy and protection,” Joseph added.
The project is expected to create an estimated 3,000 construction jobs and 1,000 permanent jobs in the tourism sector.
The art gallery said it still needs to raise an additional $160 million from public and private sectors and staff hopes this donation will encourage others to support the new venture.
The new building will be located between Cambie and Beatty streets, with a front entrance on Georgia Street.
It will include more than 80,000 square feet of exhibition space, along with visible art storage, a theatre, library and research centre, artist studios, accommodation for visiting artists, and a visual arts preschool and daycare, situated around a 40,000 square foot courtyard.
The building will also house the Institute of Asian Art, a new Centre for Art and Communication, and a multi-purpose Indigenous Community House.
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