Province pledges $50 million to build art museum

rafe arnott/metro vancouver


Premier Gordon Campbell, at the Vancouver Art Gallery yesterday, speaks with reporters about the province’s $50 million investment in a new VAG.

The province of British Columbia is investing $50 million toward the expansion of the Vancouver Art Gallery (VAG), which has outgrown its home at Robson Square, premier Gordon Campbell announced yesterday.

The new building, which will be about 10 times bigger than the current gallery, is tentatively set to be built at Georgia and Cambie streets.

Kathleen Bartels, gallery director, said Vancouver’s growing prominence in the art world justifies building a great art museum.

She promised the new building will be another "cultural and architectural icon."

Jeff Wall, a Vancouver photographer and 2008 recipient of the Order of Canada, said that going to city’s first gallery was a "transformative experience" as a child.

"I felt supported somehow by the little gallery on Georgia Street and I’ve also felt supported by the institution we’re in now," he said. "But things are changing, and the possibility to create another kind of institution that will recapitulate the values I’ve always found important in the art of the past, and to make (an) opening for the art to come, is a public virtue."

The current art gallery is a designated heritage site and might house a permanent collection of aboriginal art.

where it goes

  • A total of $209 million is being invested provincewide to support arts and culture in a variety of communities.

  • $150 million of the money will go to creating the B.C. Cultural Fund.

  • Another $9 million is going to the Vancouver East Cultural Centre.

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