The Vancouver Art Gallery today applauded the City of Vancouver for their staff report, released yesterday, which recommends 1.8 acres of the land at 688 Cambie St (“Larwill Park”) be dedicated for a new, purpose-built facility for the Gallery.
After years of consultation and discussion, the City is recommending the decision, which is, as it says in the report, “needed for the Gallery to continue to be a key platform for leadership in the long-term cultural vision and strategy for Vancouver, British Columbia and Canada.”
“This is an exciting day for the citizens of Vancouver, our artists, and the broader arts community,” said Gallery director Kathleen Bartels. “We now have the opportunity to build a new visual arts museum that will allow us to increase our support of the internationally recognized artists who live here in Vancouver as well as the emerging talent that is coming out of our art schools today. Additionally, the new building will extend our commitment to the Asia Pacific, and closer to home, the extraordinary creative output of First Nations artists.”
The Report will go to Council for a decision next week. Mayor Gregor Robertson today announced his support for the recommendations, stating how important a renewed Vancouver Art Gallery is to the long-term health and growth of this city’s vibrant arts community.
Gallery Board of Trustees Chair Bruce Munro Wright thanked the Mayor for his support.
“We are grateful to Mayor Robertson for his leadership and vision in supporting this significant project,” he said. “We look forward to working with the Mayor in what we hope will be a unanimous decision by City Council. This project is key to creating an even stronger and more vibrant arts and cultural sector for all of us.”
After an extensive master planning process initiated in 2004, the need for a building of approximately 320,000 square feet was determined. The proposed facility will be more than double the size of the current building to allow the Gallery to meet its ambitious exhibition, collection and educational programming goals that will serve the greater community for the next 50 years and beyond.
“Extensive research and consultations have shown that this site is the optimal choice for a new, purpose-built Vancouver Art Gallery,“ said Bartels. “It is located in a dynamic part of the downtown core, is adjacent to other cultural amenities, and provides easy access to public transit. The site’s key positioning on West Georgia Street will help to create a new public space for our broader community to enjoy.”
“Many people in the city, including most of the artists and critics, curators, dealers and other supporters, have been behind this project from the start, and I'm very happy that our Mayor shares this vision,” said internationally recognized artist Jeff Wall. “A new Vancouver Art Gallery building will have a tremendous positive effect in the city and will confirm the view from outside that Vancouver is a significant contemporary art centre.”
“The Vancouver Art Gallery is extremely excited to get going and, with the full support of the Mayor and Council, we are confident that we can make this project a huge success,” concluded Wright. “We look forward to working with our community to build a space of which we can all be proud.”