After nearly two years of construction, the Beaverbrook Art Gallery opened the doors of its new pavilion Oct. 14.
The addition brings several new galleries to the Beaverbrook. The Jean E. Irving River offers a view of the St. John River and is currently home to 24 Tree Studies for Henry David Thoreau, 2001-2003, an exhibit by New Brunswick Artist Thaddeus Holownia.
The Elizabeth A. Currie Gallery on the Green looks out over Queen Street and features Masters of Modernism: selections from The Currie Collection as its first exhibit. This exhibit includes abstract works by artists such as William Roland, Jean McEwen and more. All the works were loaned from a private collection.
In addition to these two galleries, the pavilion also hosts an Emerging Artists Gallery, which will give upcoming artists a place to display their work.
The new pavilion was supported in part by the city of Fredericton, as well as the provincial and federal governments.
“It is indeed an honour to be here today to represent my colleagues in the city council, and by extension the people of Fredericton,” said Fredericton mayor Mike O’Brien in a speech to the attendees. “And to be able to stand here and soak in the wonders of this magnificent building.”
According to O’Brien, the Beaverbrook shouldn’t be viewed as just an art gallery, but a destination that draws people into Fredericton.
“Too often I hear of people coming to our wonderful city, and coming to our tourism bureaus and saying, ‘Is there anything to do in Fredericton?’ And they say, ‘Well take a walk along the river, there’s a lighthouse, there’s an art gallery.’ This is not an art gallery, this is a provincial and national treasure. We need people to come to our city because of this art gallery.”
This sentiment was echoed by Premier Brian Gallant, who was unable to attend but sent a video message for the celebration.
“Your government recognizes the critical role of art and culture in our society and the value that it brings to New Brunswickers,” said Gallant. “And the important role the Beaverbrook Art Gallery plays in that.”
The Beaverbrook Art Gallery was opened in 1959 by Sir Max Aitken, also known as Lord Beaverbrook. Beaverbrook’s goal was to give New Brunswickers a place to experience the art and culture of the world. According to the Beaverbrook’s Interim Director/CEO Bernard Riordon, that ideal is still the driving goal for the gallery.
“We like to feel that this is a destination gallery,” Riordon said in an interview. “The original Lord Beaverbrook’s vision was to have New Brunswickers and our visitors see world class art here. We play an important role in cultural tourism.”
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