A new private donation of $1.5 million has been made to the Vancouver Art Gallery (VAG) towards the construction of its new purpose-built building.
VAG announced today Canadian art dealer Donald Ellis is the latest major contributor to the project to build a new landmark building at the city-owned Larwill Park parking lot just east of Queen Elizabeth Theatre.
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Ellis has been a longtime supporter of the VAG and also recently gifted the gallery with additional collections.
“Through his monetary and art donations over the past decade, Donald Ellis has been a generous donor to the Vancouver Art Gallery,” stated Daina Augaitis, interim director of the VAG, in a statement.
“I’m thrilled that he is making such a remarkable commitment to showcase historical Indigenous art in the new Gallery building. His generosity brings us one step closer to realizing a new Gallery building.”
His latest contribution towards the construction cost of the new building will be recognized in the future in the new historical Indigenous gallery.
“I am deeply committed to the expansion of the Vancouver Art Gallery and the potential it has to advance reconciliation through art,” said Ellis.
‘”By remembering the effects of history, art can be a healing act providing the public with opportunities to develop a deeper understanding of Indigenous history and culture. It is my hope that my contribution will inspire others in the community to participate and have a hand in shaping Vancouver’s cultural identity.”
With the latest donation, the VAG has now raised $86.5 million from the private sector, including $40 million from the family that owns the Burrard Group. The provincial government also previously committed $50 million, bringing the total contribution to $136.5 million.
In 2015, when the project was first revealed, the new building was pegged to cost $350 million. VAG continues to seek additional private sector donations, as well as additional funding from both the provincial and federal governments.
When complete, the new VAG will have a total floor area of 300,000 sq. ft., built to a Passive House green building standard. It will create 80,000 sq. ft. of exhibition space, more than the current exhibition capacity of the existing facility within the old courthouse, as well as two free-access galleries, a 300+ seat theatre, four classrooms, library and archives, gallery store and restaurant, and state-of-the-art museum facilities for art storage and preparation.
The design by Swiss-firm Herzog & de Meuron was privately chosen by the VAG in 2014 after an international competition, with the VAG opting for a firm that also has extensive experience with designing some of the world’s most renowned museums, including London’s Tate Modern, Miami’s Perez Art Museum, and Basel’s Schaulager. Herzog & de Meuron was also behind the design of the Bird’s Nest Olympic Stadium in Beijing.