A new home for the Vancouver Art Gallery took a big step towards reality Wednesday with a $40-million donation from a family with a history of supporting the arts in B.C.
The gift was from the Chan family, the same family that donated $10 million to the Chan Centre for the Performing Arts more than 20 years ago.
With this announcement, the new Vancouver Art Gallery will be located in the building to be called the Chan Centre for the Visual Arts.
The donation means the Vancouver Art Gallery has raised $85 million in private sector funding for a new $350-million building designed by the Swiss architectural firm of Herzog & de Meuron.
Kathleen S. Bartels, VAG director, said at a news conference that the donation was an “unprecedented gift” to the gallery and represented a “profound investment in the future of the city and the province.
“We are overwhelmingly grateful,” Bartels said at the event at the Rosewood Hotel Georgia in downtown Vancouver.
“This announcement, I think, shows that the Vancouver Art Gallery is so very fortunate to be supported by our community. This will be the most important project of a generation and a model of true civic leadership.”
Later, in response to questions, Bartels said if fundraising goes according to plan, the gallery hopes to break ground at the end of this year or in early 2020. Construction would take three years.
The gift by the Chan family was described as the biggest ever donation to an arts and culture organization in B.C.’s history.
The Chan donation is the kind of gift that’s likely to set in motion a chain reaction to help the gallery raise the remaining $165 million to complete the new building.
The provincial government said last year that it would contribute another $50 million if the VAG showed progress towards reaching its goal of raising $100 million from the private sector. In 2008, the provincial government contributed $50 million for the new building.
Lisa Beare, minister of arts, culture, and tourism, was sitting at the front row at the news conference.
After the news conference, Beare said the province was awaiting another request for funding from the VAG.
“As we have indicated before, once the art gallery made progress on private donation fundraising, we’d take a look at their renewed application,” she said.
“We’re very happy to do that.”
In 2017, the VAG submitted a pre-budget document to the federal government asking for $100 million from Ottawa for the new gallery which would have double the exhibition space of the current gallery at 750 Hornby St.
The federal government said it was waiting for a project proposal from Victoria before committing any money.
Two years ago, the $350-million price tag was divided between $300 million in construction costs and $50 million for an endowment. That figure compares to $514 million the province spent on a new roof on B.C. Place Stadium.
The city has already contributed the land at 688 Cambie St. on a 99-year lease.
CLICK HERE to report a typo.
Is there more to this story? We’d like to hear from you about this or any other stories you think we should know about. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.