New St. Paul's Hospital receives $4 million donation in support of public art

Apr 13 2021, 1:30 am

The hospital visitation and workplace experience at the new St. Paul’s Hospital campus in the False Creek Flats will be enriched by a philanthropic public art program.

Michael Audain’s namesake foundation has announced that it will donate $4 million in public art to the new hospital for exhibition purposes, making it the largest public art program for a medical facility in Canada.

The incorporation of art — a practice for optimal hospital environment design — is proven to play a “significant role” in improving the psychological, social, and spiritual outcomes of patients.

The chosen art at the new campus will reflect Providence Healthcare’s “inclusive Catholic identity” and its commitment to reconciliation, with local First Nations involved in the art selection process. This could include the use of Indigenous interior and exterior design characteristics, and art that reflects the natural environment, such as mountains, water, forest, and animals.

“Our foundation is pleased to support a strong public art program at the new St. Paul’s Hospital,” said Audain in a statement.

“As a not infrequent patient of St. Paul’s I have long believed the hospital needs a new physical plant. So I view this as a unique opportunity to combine my interest in visual art with my respect for one of Canada’s leading medical centres.”

The Audain Foundation supports the arts and cultural landscape in BC by providing funding and endowments for art galley and museum expansion, and exhibitions at public attractions and institutions.

st pauls hospital vancouver false creek flats

2021 rendering showing the final design of the new St. Paul’s Hospital. (Providence Health Care)

In 2016, another art foundation led by Audain opened the self-funded Audain Art Museum in Whistler Village at a cost of about $45 million, and the organization has since built up a considerable endowment. That same year, the Audain Foundation announced a $2 million donation towards the $30-million expansion of the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria.

Audain is the chairman of local development firm Polygon Homes, which is particularly active in Metro Vancouver’s suburban municipalities.

“The new St. Paul’s Hospital will provide world-class health care to British Columbians for generations to come. This leadership gift from the Audain Foundation will ensure that the hospital looks after not only patients’ physical needs, but also their emotional and mental well-being,” said Dick Vollet, the president and CEO of St. Paul’s Foundation.

“We are grateful to Michael Audain and the Audain Foundation for their visionary gift. It is taking us one step closer to realizing our vision of creating a hospital that is truly purpose built to put people first.”

st pauls hospital vancouver false creek flats

2021 rendering showing the final design of the new St. Paul’s Hospital. (Providence Health Care)

Construction on the new $2.2-billion St. Paul’s Hospital at the False Creek Flats site — near SkyTrain Main Street-Science World Station and the Chinatown district — officially began last month.

The new location will retain its designation as a provincial and teaching hospital, and will have a capacity of up to 548 beds, representing a net gain of 115 new beds. It will be the home of several leading provincial programs and referral centres, and offer a diverse range of general and specialized care.

The new hospital is anticipated to open in 2027 upon which the existing hospital on Burrard Street in the West End will close. The historic hospital site has been sold to Concord Pacific for about $1 billion for its redevelopment potential.

Upon the full completion of all phases of the hospital — the expansion of the hospital building, and the construction of office, research, and hotel buildings — the new St. Paul’s campus will employ about 10,000 people.

Kenneth ChanKenneth Chan

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