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Ellen Remai commits $800,000 funding to Remai Modern in recognition of challenging pandemic year

For immediate release — February 17, 2021

SASKATOON, CANADA — The Frank and Ellen Remai Foundation has pledged $800,000 to Remai Modern amidst a challenging financial year for arts organizations and the economy as a whole.

The funds come as the museum grapples with the effects of a worldwide pandemic. The museum was closed from mid-March to mid-August 2020 to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Since reopening, Remai Modern has reduced its capacity and number of live events to ensure staff and patrons are safe. These measures, while necessary, impact the museum’s revenue, with the pandemic also making for an extremely challenging fundraising year.

Ellen Remai’s most recent contribution gives the museum a much-needed lift as it continues to offer world-class art programs, adapt to a changing world and build fundraising momentum.

“We continue to be astounded by the generosity of Ellen Remai. Her belief in the museum and its future emboldens all of us to keep building on the impact of Remai Modern and art for people from across Saskatchewan,” said Aileen Burns and Johan Lundh, Remai Modern’s Co-Executive Director & CEOs. “We hope this act of generosity will inspire others to contribute, as we continue to rely on support from individuals and organizations to help Remai Modern reach its full potential and deliver inspiring programs to many thousands of people.”

Prior to the museum’s opening in October 2017, Ellen Remai pledged $1 million per year for 25 years in matching funds for eligible donations. That means every membership purchase and individual donation is doubled, giving donors the opportunity to make twice the impact. This is a crucial support for Remai Modern programs that benefit people from diverse communities across the province.  

The funds, which were secured by the Remai Modern Foundation Board, will provide support for exhibitions and programs throughout 2021.

“The Remai Modern Foundation Board is immensely grateful for the exceptional and timely contribution of the Frank and Ellen Remai Foundation, which reaffirms our shared commitment to ensuring world-class experiences with art for everyone in Saskatoon and beyond,” said Herb McFaull, Chair of the Remai Modern Foundation Board.

This financial contribution is a critical piece of Remai Modern’s larger funding structure, which includes support from municipal, provincial and federal governments and agencies, as well as individual and corporate donors.

Donations, including monthly pledges, can be made by visiting remaimodern.org/donate. Memberships can be purchased at remaimodern.org/membership. The museum offers several membership levels to give people the opportunity to increase their impact and receive additional membership perks.

About Ellen Remai 

Saskatoon entrepreneur and philanthropist Ellen Remai is Remai Modern’s lead patron. Since 2011, she has pledged $103 million to Remai Modern. The contribution is one of the largest donations to the arts in Canadian history.

Prior to Remai Modern’s grand opening in October 2017, Ellen Remai announced two significant new gifts to ensure the museum’s successful future. The funds from the Frank and Ellen Remai Foundation include $1 million a year for the next 25 years to support art purchases. The foundation will also match eligible donations up to $1 million a year for 25 years.

Ellen Remai’s first gift to Remai Modern came before any sod was turned at its River Landing site, and before the space was named in her honour after a unanimous vote by Saskatoon City Council. Her unprecedented pledge of $31 million provided $16 million toward construction and $15 million — $500,000 a year for 30 years — to support international exhibitions programs.

The Frank and Ellen Remai Foundation also donated 405 linocuts by Pablo Picasso to Remai Modern in 2012. 

About the Remai Modern Foundation

The Remai Modern Foundation, incorporated in 2017, is a non-profit foundation with its own board of directors and governance. Its sole purpose is to support the mission and activities of Remai Modern. The Foundation is committed to providing a permanent source of funding for the museum through the establishment of an endowment. Donations, gifts and bequests are invested to generate income for acquisitions, research, major exhibitions and programming, to help sustain the museum as a leading cultural institution. 

About Remai Modern

Remai Modern is situated on Treaty 6 Territory and the Traditional Homeland of the Métis. We pay our respects to First Nations and Métis ancestors and reaffirm our relationship with one another.

Remai Modern is a new museum of modern and contemporary art in Saskatoon. The museum is committed to affirming the powerful role that art and artists play in questioning, interpreting and defining the modern era.

Open since October 2017, Remai Modern is the largest contemporary art museum in western Canada and houses a collection of more than 8,000 works, including the world’s foremost collection of Picasso linocut prints.

Remai Modern would like to acknowledge the contributions of the Frank & Ellen Remai Foundation, the Canada Council for the Arts, SaskCulture through the Sask Lotteries Fund, SaskArts and the City of Saskatoon.

For additional information contact:

Stephanie McKay, Communications Manager