The Vancouver Art Gallery is getting a new $50 million cash injection from the B.C. provincial government, with the money to be earmarked for its new building at Georgia Street and Cambie in Downtown Vancouver.
In announcing the funding, B.C.’s Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture, and Sport Minister Lisa Beare said the money will towards making a “flagship cultural institution” a reality. The new VAG will cost an estimated $400 million to build, with funding coming from both the federal and provincial governments, as well as from private donors.
The province initially announced $50 million in funding in 2008, with today’s announcement bringing its total to $100 million. The new VAG has also raised $190 million privately from donors including the Chan Foundation and the Audain Foundation.
When finished the state-of-the-art building will also house artist studios, a library and research centre, child care facilities, restaurants and retail spaces.
Designed by Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron, and Vancouver architects Perkins & Will, the facade of the new VAG will be the result of collaboration with Coast Salish artists Debra Sparrow, Skwetsimeltxw Willard (Buddy) Joseph, Hereditary Chief Chepximiya Siyam’ Janice George and Angela George. That process is tied into the gallery’s commitment to both advancing reconciliation in the province, and to celebrating Indigenous art.
“The new gallery will be a social, artistic and commercial hub and will enrich tourism and cultural experiences in the region for residents and visitors alike,” Beare said in a press release. “I’m especially pleased with the collaborative partnership with four local Indigenous artists to design the building exterior. Once built, it is sure to draw global attention as the largest building to reflect Coast Salish culture in the world.”
When completed the new VAG will have double the exhibition space of its current location, which will be used to feature both its permanent collection, and ongoing exhibitions of Indigenous, Asian, Canadian and international art.
Making use of mass timber to reduce its carbon footprint, the gallery will be the first passive house art gallery in North America, using only one-tenth the energy of a traditional gallery. That will help make it Canada’s most environmentally sustainable art museum.
For more information on the new VAG, go here.