The Remai Art Gallery of Saskatchewan
The Art Gallery of Saskatchewan gained momentum in 2009, when Saskatoon’s City Council announced with the Federal and Provincial governments the intention to build a purpose-built gallery that would also serve as a destination centre in the city’s south downtown at River Landing.
The $71-million Art Gallery of Saskatchewan, designed by KPMB architects of Toronto, was approved May 30, 2011. The project will also be served by a $13.2-million underground parkade owned and operated by the City.
Under the Building Canada infrastructure program, the three levels of government have committed a total of $51 million for construction of the new gallery. The remainder is being raised by the Board of Trustees through a $20-million private sector fundraising campaign, under the volunteer leadership of Doug Hodson.
On June 3, 2011, Saskatoon philanthropist Ellen Remai announced a donation of $30 million to the project, on behalf of the Frank and Ellen Remai Foundation. The gift provides for $15 million toward the construction costs of the 11,582-square-meter, four-storey gallery, and $500,000 annually for 30 years, to enhance the new gallery’s exhibition program.
In gratitude for this gift, which is unprecedented in Saskatchewan history, City Council unanimously voted June 13 to name the new gallery the Remai Art Gallery of Saskatchewan. On June 22, the City held a public open house to give citizens a chance to hear the architects’ vision for the gallery and to see the designs.
The project will more than triple the space available for temporary and collection-related exhibitions, and will include a community gallery, studio classrooms, a film and lecture theatre, meeting rooms, and spaces for receptions and other public events. As well, there will be ample storage space for the growing permanent collection, now numbering 7,000 works. The building will meet rigorous modern gallery standards, making it possible to host national and international touring exhibitions previously unavailable to the city. This will be an energy-efficient, sustainable building; the architects will be seeking LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Silver certification. Additional information is posted on the River Landing website: www.riverlanding.ca
On December 15, 2011, Canadian Architect magazine announced that the design for the Remai Art Gallery of Saskatchewan had been awarded a 2011 Award of Excellence. This was one of eight awards selected from 163 submissions. The Remai gallery design was featured on the cover of the magazine’s December, 2011 issue.
The city is to hold a public open house January 12, 2012, with the architects giving presentations and allowing citizens to view and comment upon detailed architectural drawings.
Groundbreaking is scheduled for early 2013, with the opening of the Remai Art Gallery of Saskatchewan anticipated for late 2014/early 2015.