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Remai Modern Receives Historic Gift from Lead Donor and Museum Namesake

Remai Modern Receives Historic Gift from Lead Donor and Museum Namesake Total contributions by the Frank and Ellen Remai Foundation are $103 million, among the largest donations to the arts in Canada’s history

Saskatoon, SK, Canada (October 19, 2017) – Just before its October 21 opening, Canada’s museum of modern art, Remai Modern, announces that philanthropist and museum namesake, Ellen Remai, is making a new gift that brings her foundation’s total pledged contributions to the museum to $103 million. This is one of the largest donations to the arts in Canada’s history. To ensure the long-term success of the museum, the Frank and Ellen Remai Foundation is giving $1M a year for art purchases for the next 25 years.

In addition, to encourage further giving from the community and to promote museum memberships, the Foundation will match eligible donations to the museum to a maximum of $1M a year for the next 25 years. The matching donation is intended for art purchases and programs.

“I am proud and grateful to live in Saskatoon, a city that supports and believes in the social and economic benefits of the arts,” said Ellen Remai. “We value the arts for enriching our lives, and strengthening our sense of community. In planning for the matching donation, my hope is to get more people involved in the artistic community than otherwise would be. I believe we all need to do more to support and celebrate the arts.

“I am thrilled with this new museum, and happy to have played a role in its creation,” Remai said. “I see Remai Modern as illuminating our community, and assisting Saskatoon in taking its rightful place among Canada’s most creative cities.”

Remai’s previous major gifts to the museum include: $16M for the building, $15M for international programming, $2M for acquisitions, and a $20-M purchase of Picasso linocut prints—the most comprehensive collection of its kind in the world.

“Ellen Remai’s generosity is astounding,” said Gregory Burke, Executive Director & CEO of Remai Modern. “What makes her gifts over the past several years even more incredible is that beyond the major support of construction, she had the foresight to provide Remai Modern a guaranteed income to support programming and acquisitions over the next 25 or more years.” This puts Remai Modern on secure financial footing, regardless of the vagaries of the global economy, he said.

“Pledges like this are rare in the art world, and Ellen Remai’s commitment demonstrates her belief in our vision for Remai Modern,” said Alain Gaucher, Remai Modern Board Chair.

Leading up to Remai Modern’s opening, funds from the Frank and Ellen Remai Foundation have supported the museum’s inaugural exhibition, Field Guide, which features contemporary projects, commissions and immersive installations by nearly 80 renowned Canadian and international artists, in dialogue with a selection from Remai Modern’s permanent collection. Ellen Remai’s gifts have also allowed the museum to secure major acquisitions ranging from Ryan Gander’s Fieldwork (2015) and Jimmie Durham’s Black bear (2017) to Anton Vidokle’s The Communist Revolution Was Caused By The Sun (2015), Stan Douglas’s The Secret Agent (2015), Rodney Graham’s After Braque: Playing Concertina in My Studio (With Hanging Construction) (2016), and Pae White’s Lucky Charms (2014).

The new gifts announced today will enable Remai Modern to continue to grow its collection of 8,000 works and to enact its vision: to be a stage on which globally circulating knowledge is infused with a locally relevant perspective.

For additional information, please visit www.remaimodern.org. For inquiries about exhibitions, email info@remaimodern.org or call 1-306-975-7610.

About Remai Modern
Remai Modern is a new museum of modern and contemporary art opening October 21, 2017 in Saskatoon. Remai Modern aims to be a vibrant, imaginative and prescient museum committed to affirming the powerful role that art and artists play in questioning, interpreting and defining the modern era. The building, by eminent Canadian architects KPMB, overlooks the South Saskatchewan River in downtown Saskatoon. Remai Modern is home to the world’s foremost collection of Picasso linocut prints, and aspires to be a leading centre for contemporary Indigenous art programming. In addition to acting as a gathering place for the local community, the elaborate museum will be an attraction for visiting Canadians, international travellers, and the global art community.

About Ellen Remai
In 2011, Saskatoon entrepreneur and philanthropist Ellen Remai announced a donation of $30M to the new museum on behalf of the Frank and Ellen Remai Foundation—to support construction and enhance the exhibition program. In recognition of this generosity, Saskatoon City Council unanimously voted to name the museum in Ellen Remai’s honor. In 2012, the Frank and Ellen Remai Foundation donated 405 linocuts by Pablo Picasso—the most comprehensive collection of its kind in the world—to Remai Modern. Art specialist and philanthropist Frederick Mulder complemented the gift in 2014, with the donation of an additional linocut and 23 ceramic pieces by the iconic modern artist.

For further information, contact:
Sheila Robertson
Communications Manager
Ph +1 306 975-2242

Remai Modern is made possible thanks to contributions from the Government of Canada, the Province of Saskatchewan, the City of Saskatoon, the Frank & Ellen Remai Foundation, and many private and corporate donors. We are also grateful for program support from the Canada Council for the Arts, Canadian Heritage, the Saskatchewan Arts Board, SaskCulture, the Frank & Ellen Remai Foundation, and TD Bank Group.