Simon Fraser University has announced a new donation from the Marianne and Edward Gibson Trust and family will allow it to build a 12,000-square-foot SFU Art Museum at its Burnaby campus.
The facility, slated for completion by 2022, will allow the SFU Art Collection to expand. It currently contains about 5,500 pieces of art, with only 1,000 on view at any given time amid the university's galleries.
Aside from displaying the collection, the SFU Art Museum is meant to be a teaching museum, and will offer community outreach and partnership with other organizations.
The late Edward Gibson was a charter faculty member in the 1960s and later became director of the SFU Gallery from 1986 until his retirement in 1997. Gibson is credited with substantially boosting the SFU art collection under his tenure, and he wrote a report that advocated for an art museum like the one now under way.
The museum will be part of the massive new East Gateway project slated for the Burnaby Mountain campus and situated around the existing UniverCity Town Centre and East Campus Road bus loop. Envisioned as a new main hub of the campus and designed by architectural firm Perkins + Will (who have also created initial renderings for the museum), the hub is to feature a dramatic town square campus plaza, plus new institutional and mixed-use buildings, residences, and public spaces.
In early designs, the gallery will feature a roof that doubles as a large outdoor plaza, and sweeping views of the mountains and Burrard Inlet.
“This new facility will be an exciting addition to the Burnaby campus and will enrich the cultural landscape of Metro Vancouver,” SFU president Andrew Petter said in the press statement about the museum today. “This visionary gift from the Marianne and Edward Gibson Trust and family will enable students, scholars and the public to gain an appreciation and understanding of modern and contemporary art, while enabling SFU to extend its commitment to be Canada’s engaged university.”