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OAG announces $3.5 million fundraising goal

Photo: Courtesy of Dwayne Brown

On the morning of Sept. 17 media, politicians, and members of the local arts community met in the Confederation Ballroom III at the Westin Ottawa hotel for the launch of the Ottawa Art Gallery’s (OAG) “Art Now – l’art ici” campaign.

The event began at 8 a.m. with a speech by Alexandra Badzak, the OAG director and CEO, who welcomed the guests and introduced the board chair Lawson Hunter.

“The arts are vital to a vibrant community,” said Hunter to the crowd while discussing how the expansion of the gallery goes hand-in-hand with other projects in Ottawa, like the light rail transit.

Included in this expansion are new facilities for the University of Ottawa’s theatre department. The facilities will include a new 120-seat black box theatre, which is typically a simple performance space often used at universities for it’s versatility, as well as four studio-style classrooms.

These facilities will help grow the U of O’s theatre department, which is currently housed in Academic Hall, one of the oldest and smallest buildings on campus.

The OAG’s new home at 60-70 Waller Street will be directly across the street from campus, next to the Rideau Centre, making it easily accessible to students. Those who are interested in visual arts can take advantage of the workshop spaces that will be available for public use in the new gallery space.

In order to make the dream of these new facilities a reality, the OAG is asking the public for help in raising money. Hunter announced the $3.5 million fundraising goal, $2.5 million construction and $1 million for programming and acquisitions of art for the gallery. The gallery has already raised just over $2 million.

Sara Angel, who is the founder and executive director of the Art Canada Institute at Massey College, University of Toronto, talked about the importance of art galleries in our world today. Angel discussed how galleries not only give us a window into our past, but also encourage us to share and learn with one another and with our community.

“Today the art gallery is about public engagement… about connecting with audiences,” said Angel during her speech.

The expansion, which is slated to be finished in 2017, will not only help the local arts community grow, but help U of O’s own arts community grow with it.

The new facilities for the theatre department, the studios for workshops, and permanent space for the prestigious Firestone Collection of Canadian Art, will give students a chance to learn about historic Canadian art, while also exploring their own artistic expression.

For more information about the campaign and the gallery, visit



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