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New SFU art museum planned for Burnaby Mountain

A 'significant gift' from the Marianne and Edward Gibson Trust and family has paved the way for a new 12,000-square-foot facility slated for completion by 2022

Burnaby Mountain will soon be home to a new 12,000-square-foot arts and cultural facility.

Simon Fraser University has received a “significant gift” from the Marianne and Edward Gibson Trust and family to establish the new SFU Art Museum at UniverCity.

The new facility will be a teaching museum, creating learning and research opportunities for university students as well as offering exhibitions, community outreach and partnership with other institutions and organizations.  A press release notes that the new museum will illustrate the cultural diversity of B.C. and beyond. It will allow the SFU art collection to expand and will increase the reach of the SFU galleries through progressive exhibitions and public programming.

“This new facility will be an exciting addition to the Burnaby campus and will enrich the cultural landscape of Metro Vancouver,” said SFU president Andrew Petter in the release. “This visionary gift from the Marianne and Edward Gibson Trust and family will enable students, scholars and the public to gain an appreciation and understanding of modern and contemporary art, while enabling SFU to extend its commitment to be Canada’s engaged university.”

The late Edward Gibson joined the university as a charter faculty member in 1965 and later became director of the SFU Gallery from 1986 until his retirement in 1997.  Under Gibson’s direction, collectors from across Canada donated large canvases that were installed throughout the university. Gibson authored a report that advocated developing an art museum, which planted the seed for this project.

The SFU art collection currently includes more than 5,500 works of art, of which about 1,000 pieces are displayed year-round on the university’s various campuses. During Gibson’s tenure, the value of that art collection rose from $387,000 to $2.5 million.

“Edward had a great passion in his teaching, research and life for a sense of place intersected with design and style,” said Walter Gibson, son of Marianne and Edward, in a press release. “The art museum represents the culmination of his vision for arts, both at SFU and within the Canadian landscape.”

The SFU Art Museum is slated for completion by 2022.

The NOW is awaiting confirmation of a few details of the project, including total cost, exact location on the site and when construction will begin. The story will be updated as new information becomes available.