Museum PR Announcements News and Information

Audain Foundation Donates $750,000 to Royal BC Museum

The Royal BC Museum is using a $750,000 donation from the Audain Foundation for the Visual Arts to purchase and preserve a Bill Reid masterpiece, which will go on display today in its world-renowned First Peoples Gallery.

Panoramic View Royal BC Museum

“Thanks to Michael Audain and the Audain Foundation, British Columbians and visitors to the Royal BC Museum will have the opportunity to be inspired by this stunning work of art by one of this province’s artistic giants,” said Pauline Rafferty, CEO of the Royal BC Museum.

Completed in 1954, Grizzly Bear Mantelpiece is an exceptional and rare sculpture carved out of cedar by Reid at the beginning of his career as a Haida artist. It was originally commissioned by Anne and Douglas Stevenson for their family home in Williams Lake. Reid died in 1998 at age 72, following a long battle with Parkinson’s disease.

The contribution from the Audain Foundation is one of the most significant donations in the museum’s 125-year history.
“Financial support from the community is essential for the Royal BC Museum to actively seek out important objects that enhances its collection and make them accessible to all British Columbians,” explains Michael Audain. “Our Foundation is pleased to have the opportunity to ensure a permanent home for Bill Reid’s marvellous carving.”

“We are very conscious of our role as the provincial museum. It is vital that we have contemporary works on display in the First Peoples Gallery, in addition to our extensive collection of First Nation historical objects,” noted Rafferty.

About the Audain Foundation for the Visual Arts
The Audain Foundation was formed in 1997 to support the visual arts. The Foundation’s focus is mainly to support exhibitions at public art galleries and education programs in British Columbia and at the National Gallery of Canada. It has sponsored many initiatives in the visual arts, amongst them the Audain Curator of First Nations Art Endowment Fund at the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, the Audain Professorship in Contemporary Art Practice of the Pacific Northwest at the University of Victoria, and the Audain Curator of Indigenous Art at the National Gallery of Canada. By early 2011, the Audain Foundation has made over $25 million available to 55 organizations of visual arts projects.

About the Royal BC Museum
As the provincial museum and archives, the Royal BC Museum preserves and shares the stories of British Columbia – on‐site, off‐site and online – through its research, collections, exhibitions and educational programs. Its two‐hectare cultural precinct also includes a number of historically significant buildings and First Nations sites.

For more information about the Royal BC Museum, visit or call 1‐888‐447‐7977.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *