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Vancouver Art Gallery receives $1.5 million donation for new building – Vancouver Sun



With the latest donation, the VAG now has raised $86.5 million from the private sector for the new building. It’s the most money ever raised by arts and culture organization in BC.

The campaign to build a new Vancouver Art Gallery continues to grow with the donation of $1.5 million by a long-time supporter.

The donation is from Donald Ellis, a Canadian art dealer whose gallery is based in New York. The Donald Ellis Gallery specializes in Northwest Coast art and other historical Indigenous North America art.

Including the Ellis donation, the Vancouver Art Gallery has raised $86.5 million from the private sector to build a new gallery in downtown Vancouver. That figure represents the most money ever raised by an arts and culture organization in B.C.

The VAG announced the Ellis donation Monday.

Ellis said he was “stepping out on a limb a little bit” by making the donation and publicly supporting the capital campaign for a new building.

“It’s the right thing to do and it’s an extension of what I have been doing my whole career,” he said in a video about his VAG donation.

He said the VAG is first among art museums in Canada, and possibly in North America, in the way it has exhibited and showcased Indigenous art.

He cited the seminal exhibition Arts of the Raven exhibition at the VAG in 1967. Curated by Doris Shadbolt, the exhibition marked a fundamental shift in the way a Canadian art institution displayed Indigenous works of the Northwest Coast as art rather than anthropology.

A more recent example took place in 2013 in an exhibition of the work of Charles Edenshaw, the great Haida artist considered one of the most important 19th century Indigenous artists in North America.

Ellis recently donated five of Edenshaw’s works to the VAG: two bracelets (one gold, one silver) three silver spoons.

Because of his appearances on the U.S. version of the Antiques Roadshow, Ellis is one of the rare art dealers with a public presence. In one episode, he appraised a Navajo blanket for $350,000 to $500,000.

“The older man who brought it in starts to tear up, and it became one of the most famous appraisals in the show’s history,” John Mackie said in a story in The Vancouver Sun.

Originally from Ontario, Ellis has spent most of his time in B.C. for the past eight years.

The Donald Ellis Gallery client list includes The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, The National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa and the Musee de Quai Branly in Paris.

Donald Ellis.


In the video, Ellis spoke passionately about the importance of a new VAG for the city.

“We need a new Vancouver Art Gallery now because Vancouver needs to decide what it wants to be,” he said.

Ellis said a new VAG building won’t only be a place for artists and collectors but also for children, youngsters and adults so they can have the kind of transformative experiences that come from being exposed to different kinds of art.

“We need this,” he said. “The community needs this.”

Ellis acknowledged the importance of Indigenous people to the history of the country. In a VAG news release, he said he’s committed to the new VAG building and the potential it has to promote reconciliation through art.

Daina Augaitis, the VAG’s interim director, said Ellis’ generosity brings the gallery “one step closer” to raising enough to build a new downtown art gallery.

“I’m thrilled that he is making such a remarkable commitment to showcase historical Indigenous art in the new gallery building,” she said in a gallery news release.

Including a $50 million donation from the government of B.C. in 2008, the VAG has raised a total of $136.5 million from public and private sources. The VAG is looking for $100 million from the federal government and another $50 million from Victoria.

The building designed by Herzog & de Meuron includes 80,000 sq. ft of exhibition space — more than double what the VAG has at 750 Hornby — a 300-seat theatre, and two free-access galleries.

The new gallery will be located on a site donated by the city of Vancouver at West Georgia and Cambie.

A silver bracelet by Haida carver Charles Edenshaw (1839-1920). The bracelet of one of five Edenshaw works donated by art dealer Donald Ellis to the Vancouver Art Gallery. Photo: Ian Lefebvre/Vancouver Art Gallery

Ian Lefebvre Vancouver Art Galle /


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Northern Arts Review: Why art is smart investment – Alaska Highway News



Haley-BassettHello, dear reader. This week, I will cover a big announcement from the BC Arts Council, as well as some ins and outs of the arts grant–writing system, and argue for stronger relationships between local governments and arts organizations for the betterment of the community.

On November 12th, the BC Arts Council announced its Arts Infrastructure Program, with awards up to $250,000, more than three times the usual amount made available through this program. The purpose of this funding is for arts organizations to acquire, construct, or renovate an arts space that will enhance the cultural capacity of the community. There are two other streams for funding as well, worth up to $25,000 for planning and research and $40,000 for acquiring specialized equipment. The deadline is 11:59 PM on Jan. 14, 2022.

The BC Arts Council will host a virtual information session for communities and organizations in the Peace-Liard Region about this program at noon on Dec. 2. This session will include insight on the AIP from Program Officers Erin Macklem and Sarah Todd, as well as a Q&A section.

This grant is a great opportunity that can make a major difference in the region. If successful, it could finance the new arts hub in Fort St. John, a permanent gallery space in Chetwynd, or much needed renovations for the Dawson Creek Art Gallery. This is the second year in a row that BCAC has released funding through this program. However, it is unclear whether it will be offered again, so it is important to seize this opportunity now.

The BC Arts Council has been working to serve rural communities better in recent years, which is why the grant qualifications are slightly relaxed for northern communities. This grant may be up to 90% of the total budget for projects based in rural and remote areas with a small population. As an example, for applicant organizations based in Dawson Creek or Fort St. John, only 10% of the budget needs to come from an additional source. Meaning $25,000 can become $250,000, which is a great investment. On the other hand, the grant can only make up to 75% of the project budget for organizations in communities that don’t qualify as rural or underserved.

These budget splits are often how arts funding works from granting bodies like the BC Arts Council, Canada Arts Council, First Peoples’ Cultural Council, and Creative BC, although the funding component is not usually as high as 90%. Grant-based awards typically cover between 50% to 75% of a project total, which is still incredibly generous. Even with a 50% split, an applicant can double their project budget. The purpose of these splits is to show that the project is feasible, and has support from more than one source. This is something that arts administrators know well, as navigating this grant system is a large part of what they do. However, this point is often lost on local governments, who don’t have close working relationships with these funding sources.

The drawback with opportunities like the the AIP is that it often requires cooperation from municipal governments, who are slow to respond. Often arts spaces are publicly owned, but operated by a non-profit. For example, the Dawson Creek Art Gallery building is owned by the City of Dawson Creek, meaning that the gallery cannot go ahead with an application like this without the city’s support. Historically, the arts have been a blind spot for our local leaders, and this oversight is leaving money on the table, to the detriment of the community.

Understandably, at any given time there are many other pressing needs demanding the attention of local politicians—the pandemic, for example. The cultural revitalization of our communities slips lower down the priority list. However, this needn’t be the case. What is needed to allocate funds efficiently is simply an understanding that the arts and its funding system is a complex industry with many opportunities that require specific expertise and knowledge to capitalize on. This is why local governments need to work closely with arts organizations, and be more responsive to them, so that when opportunities like the Arts Infrastructure Program arise, both parties are prepared to make the best of them. That way, we can bet small and win big for the communities we serve.

Do you have an artistic endeavour you would like to promote? Is there a topic you would like me to discuss? I would love to hear from you! Please email me at

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44th annual Penticton Art Auction set for early December – Penticton Western News – Penticton Western News



After almost two years of adjusting on the fly and being forced to reschedule events, the Penticton Art Gallery is set to go ahead with the 44th annual art auction on Dec. 5.

The gallery is giving people the opportunity for a sneak peek on the evening of Dec. 3 so that they can explore all the art that is being sold.

The weekend-long event doesn’t have to wait though. Online pre-bidding opened on July 26 and is set to end 24 hours prior to the start of the live auction.

This year’s event will be conducted both in-person and virtually, via Zoom, and anyone attending the live auction at the gallery will be required to show proof of vaccination.

“If you don’t have a vaccine passport and would like to arrange a private viewing, please contact the gallery and we can make alternative arrangements,” said Penticton Art Gallery Director Paul Crawford.

Among the items available for auction include Andy Warhol pieces from his “Marilyn” series. The opening bid for the Warhol items was $1,500, with an estimated value of $5,000. After Marilyn Monroe’s death in 1967, the artist began to work on his now-famous series.

This year’s auction at the gallery will contain no shortage of historic items available for sale. James Irwin’s NASA flight suit is also up for auction, with an opening bid of $4,500 and an estimated value that the gallery calls “priceless.”

A woolly mammoth tusk rounds out the gallery’s list of “priceless” items but in this case, the piece had an opening bid of $1,750.

READ MORE: Mammoth finds at 44th annual Penticton Art Gallery auction

To view the complete list of available items, the gallery asks that you visit

“The Penticton Art Gallery champions the transformative power of the Arts through an annual program of thought-provoking exhibitions,” said the gallery’s director.

Crawford said in the latest bi-monthly gallery newsletter that they’ve seen a 60 per cent reduction in revenue over the last 18 months that they had previously earned through a number of fundraising programs, amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Despite that, he told the Penticton Western News on Thursday that even though he doesn’t know what to expect out of this year’s auction, he’s excited about the gallery’s immediate future.

“As we come to the end of the year, I hope you can help support the Gallery through the purchase of one of our Soup Bowl packages, a work from our Under $500 Exhibition + Sale, Annual Art Auction, the purchase of a membership, early bird tickets to the 2022 Ignite the Arts Festival, or a charitable donation this year,” he wrote in the letter.

READ MORE: Ignite the Arts Festival gets Penticton council’s blessing and funding

Successful bidders will be notified via email within 48 hours of the auction’s closing.

The live auction begins on Dec. 5 at 1 p.m., with the deadline for registration coming on Dec. 4 at 4 p.m.

As of Nov. 25, the auction has raised $8,295, which is 33 per cent of the gallery’s goal for the event.

To register for the live auction, email

In addition, to get in on the pre-bidding festivities virtually, you can visit


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Black British painting, gay New York photography and Dr Eno will see you now – the week in art – The Guardian



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Black British painting, gay New York photography and Dr Eno will see you now – the week in art  The Guardian

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