A&E » Arts

Audain Art Museum fund gets million-dollar donation

Opening of museum delayed until late January 2016



The Audain Art Museum has received a donation of $1 million for its endowment fund.

Longtime Whistler developer Norman Cressey, chairman of Cressey Development Corp., has made a donation to the fund that will support the operations of the museum.

The gift brings the fund to $7.5 million, to date, with the aim of it eventually reaching $25 million.

"(Cressey) is a very great believer in Whistler. He believes it makes sense for him to give something back to the community. He also has some interest in art," said the art museum's founder, Michael Audain, adding that raising the $25 million will take time.

The entrance area in the Audain will be named the Cressey Reception Hall in honour of the significant gift.

"We are moving gradually toward that ($25 million) figure. I think the pace will probably pick up once the museum opens and people are pleased with what they see and realize that my family have put up the money to build this place, but the broader community is going to have to sustain it in the years ahead.

"(The museum) won't exist on revenue alone, and will be no government funding apart from the donation of the land, which was very important, on a 199-year lease."

Meanwhile, it was also announced that the opening of the museum will be delayed by two months, until late January 2016. This is to allow for the commissioning of the temperature and humidity control systems required for a Class A museum.

"We were hoping for the end of November... but (the art museum) will be around for well over a century, and it's a somewhat minor delay," Audain said.

"We have to adhere to professional standards in terms of the environmental systems before we can install the art. That is very important to us."

The 5,200 sq.-metre facility will house art from the Audain collection, including works by Emily Carr, Lawren Harris, and E.J. Hughes. There is also important B.C. indigenous art and artifacts in the collection.