Vancouver Art Gallery hopes to start building new downtown home next year
The Vancouver Art Gallery, boosted by a major $100-million donation and an elegant Indigenous-led redesign, believes it could begin construction on a new building by next November.
With the donation by the Audain Foundation announced Thursday, public and private pledges have now reached $240 million for the $400-million project.
But to put the first shovel in the ground at a downtown site donated by the city, the gallery has to raise another $160 million.
To date, the federal government has not contributed anything to the new building. As well, the gallery has to raise millions more from the private sector.
“You have to remember this is not just a gallery for Vancouver,” Audain said. “This is de facto the art gallery of British Columbia.”
At a news conference at the VAG, Audain was pointed in his criticism of the lack of federal money for the project.
“When one considers Ottawa’s generous support of art gallery buildings in other parts of Canada, I am frankly puzzled that they have not yet indicated support for this project,” he said.
Audain is one of B.C. and Canada’s leading arts philanthropists. One of his biggest single acts of philanthropy in recent years is the Audain Art Museum in Whistler, which he built and paid for at a cost of $43.5 million and to which he donated numerous works of art.
Hedy Fry, the newly re-elected Liberal MP for Vancouver-Centre, said she had a prior commitment and couldn’t be at the VAG news conference.