The Vancouver Art Gallery has secured a $1.5 million donation to go towards a new building designed by Herzog & de Meuron. The latest injection of funds puts total contributions from the private sector at $86.5 million, the most ever raised by an arts and culture organization in British Columbia.
An official announcement made by the VAG on Monday names Canadian art dealer Donald Ellis as the generous benefactor. Ellis had recently donated five works by Indigenous artist Charles Edenshaw to the gallery's vast collections. His New York-based gallery, The Donald Ellis Gallery, spotlights Northwest Coast and Indigenous art.
The new VAG would occupy the City-owned Larwill park block beside the Queen Elizabeth Theatre. It will feature a total of 300,000 square feet—80,000 square feet worth of exhibition space—including a 300-seat theatre, classrooms, a library and a restaurant.
Herzog & de Meuron, the design studio behind London's Tate Modern and Beijing's Bird's Nest, was selected in 2014 following an international competition. Their original concept had proposed a wooden exterior and a series of stacked volumes reminiscent of shelving units. It was updated in 2019, retaining the general massing but exchanging the outward wood skin with glass.
The project initially had a $350 million price tag attached. On top of the private sector's commitment of $86.5 million, the provincial government has also contributed $50 million in 2008 towards the capital cost. The VAG is campaigning for a further $50 million from the province and $100 million from the federal government.