Drs. Ivan Jen and Suzanne Yip assist the Remai Art Gallery capital campaign
“We belong in Saskatoon, and we like to support the city,” says Dr. Ivan Jen. “We do what we can to give back.” Jen, his wife, Dr. Suzanne Yip, and their grown children, Saskatoon dentist Dr. Stephen Jen, and Leslie Jen, associate editor of Canadian Architect magazine in Toronto, recently donated $25,075 to the capital campaign for the Remai Art Gallery of Saskatchewan. They also approved directing their earlier contribution of $6,000 (for the previous plan to expand the Mendel Art Gallery) toward building the new Remai Gallery at River Landing. The family’s total donation to the Remai campaign is $31,075.
“We love the Mendel Art Gallery,” says Suzanne. “Leslie took art classes there when she was little, and it was important to her. She studied art before getting a law degree and then becoming an architect. We understand why people are nostalgic about the place, but we have to move on.”
Adds Ivan, “We are happy to play a small part, joining other generous donors in helping to build the Remai Art Gallery of Saskatchewan. It will be an exciting, dynamic, beautiful and magnificent art gallery for Saskatoon, and Saskatchewan.”
As devotees of modernist architecture, they are excited by the stacked, horizontal volumes of the new gallery, designed by Kuwabara Payne McKenna Blumberg Architects, in association with Smith Carter Architects and Engineers.
The couple has forged a deep bond with this community. Born in Hong Kong, Ivan and Suzanne immigrated to Saskatoon with their respective mothers in the early 1950s. They were joining their respective fathers, who came to Canada in the early 1900s, and were not permitted to bring their spouses and children due to the Chinese Exclusion Act (1923-1947). Ivan and Suzanne met at the University of Saskatchewan, where both pursued medical studies. He became a general practitioner, and later a dermatologist; she became a radiologist.
As young physicians building their careers and raising their family, they channeled their passion for art and design into support for the community’s emerging artists. Among their first purchases, in the early 1960s, were works by William Perehudoff, Wynona Mulcaster, and Henri Bonli. They have continued to build their collection of Saskatchewan art.
In addition to the moral and financial assistance for artists and the civic gallery, Ivan and Suzanne have supported many other community initiatives, including Saskatoon’s three hospitals, the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Saskatchewan, and the Cameco Riverfront Campaign to construct the plaza at River Landing.
“We do what we can to give back.”
SaskTel supports Remai Art Gallery with $600,000 sponsorship
On October 31, the Remai Art Gallery of Saskatchewan capital campaign announced a SaskTel sponsorship of $600,000.
“SaskTel supports many non-profit and charitable institutions through its Community Investment Program,” said MLA Paul Merriman, on behalf of Don McMorris, Minister responsible for SaskTel. “The Remai Art Gallery, with all its amenities, will have a huge impact on the arts, tourism, education, and quality of life. The benefits will extend to Saskatoon and the entire province.”
In recognition of this generous sponsorship, the lecture theatre on the second floor of the Remai Art Gallery will be named the SaskTel Theatre. These naming rights will be in effect from the opening of the new gallery, in 2015, until 2025.
“We very much appreciate the SaskTel sponsorship,” said Doug Hodson, Chair of the Remai Art Gallery capital campaign. “It was this initiative, along with several other donations this fall, that helped us meet our initial fundraising milestone of $20 million.”
"The Remai Art Gallery will have a huge impact"
Saskatoon Couples Among Recent Donors
The Remai Art Gallery of Saskatchewan capital campaign gratefully acknowledges two recent donations that helped achieve the initial $20-million fundraising milestone.
Colin Macdonald and Theresa Skwara, who contributed $70,000 to the campaign, have long been passionate supporters of the arts in Saskatoon. For them, donating to the Remai Art Gallery of Saskatchewan is an investment in the future. ”We are aware that the visual arts in our region operate at a national level of quality and impact,” said Colin Macdonald. “Contributing to this gallery is a wonderful way to help build a civic art facility that reflects the high standards already set by our artists.”
John and Bernice Williams donated $50,000 to the new gallery. The well-known entrepreneurs are generous in promoting projects that enhance the quality of life in Saskatoon. “Playing a role in building this beautiful new facility is very fulfilling,” said John Williams. “We can hardly wait to visit the Remai in 2015 and see all it has to offer.”
“We highly value the support and leadership of these two couples,” said Doug Hodson, chair of the capital campaign. “They exemplify the grassroots support that has taken this initiative from a dream, to a blueprint … to what will be a fabulous new gallery at River Landing.”
"Playing a role in building this beautiful new facility is very fulfilling."
“The Gallery will indeed become a gathering place.”
Cameco, one of Saskatoon’s leading corporate citizens, believes in investing in its community and in creating opportunities for young people. The company has donated $1 million to support the Learning Studio and Children’s Play area in the new Remai Art Gallery of Saskatchewan.
The Cameco Learning Studio will bring together people of all ages and from all neighbourhoods, to explore and create. Laura Kinzel, the Gallery’s Public Programs Coordinator, says she can already picture the space being used by a group of toddlers and their parents, building sculptures out of found objects; by delegates from a medical convention who want to improve their observation skills by drawing portraits; and by teenagers learning how to use digital media. “We are very excited about the generosity of Cameco, and the possibilities for the new Learning Studio,” Kinzel says.
The Cameco Children’s Play Area on the second floor of the gallery will have art-related games and toys. It will be a place where families with young children can take a break or burn off some energy. “The Gallery will indeed become a gathering place,” says Tim Gitzel, Cameco’s President and CEO.
“The Remai Art Gallery will change the landscape of our art community,” Gitzel says. “Located at the heart of our city, and three times the size of the old gallery, it will be a place where art is made as well as seen.”
“It will be a place where art is made as well as seen.”
“This is a legacy opportunity for me, for my family, and for my employees”
Community building and business success are two sides of the same coin for Saskatoon entrepreneur Vaughn Wyant and his partner, Lori Leach.
“There are many worthwhile fundraising efforts, and we support the majority of them,” says Vaughn, president of Vaughn Wyant Automotive Group. “But helping to build the Remai Art Gallery is a legacy opportunity for me, for my family, and for my employees.”
“The term ‘legacy’ is an important one for us,” Lori says. “My mother and grandmother were both artists, and Vaughn’s father [Gordon M. Wyant, a founder of the anesthesiology department at Royal University Hospital and an Officer of the Order of Canada] was a great lover of the arts.”
Vaughn says Lori, a lover of art and designer with her own company, Kinetic Design, has helped him and his family to understand the significant impact of the arts.
“The Remai is a very important cultural facility, and I totally agree with where it’s being built, at River Landing,” he says. “I see it as a great learning and meeting place for young people. The project is a way for us to make a significant contribution, to lend our name in perpetuity. I’m not just the guy who sells the cars.”
On behalf of his family—which includes, he emphasizes, more than 300 employees at his 12 dealerships—Vaughn donated $1 million to the Remai Art Gallery capital campaign. In recognition of this outstanding contribution, the café and adjoining terrace at the new facility will be named to honour this gift.
The Remai Art Gallery is “the right project at the right time,” Vaughn says. “If we’re growing up as a city, we need a world-class art gallery.”
Adds Lori, “People are coming here from across Canada and around the world. The amenities of our city and province are now better matching their needs and expectations …and the Remai Art Gallery is a great part of that.”
In this resource-rich province, most businesses are thriving, Vaughn says. “I anticipate there will be a lot more people moving here in the next 20 years, so we’re going to be successful in our little enterprise. Why not give some back to the community?”
“If we’re growing up as a city, we need a world-class art gallery.”
“This is our community. We want to support it.”
From their offices on the top floors of Saskatoon Square, the Saskatoon partners of MacPherson Leslie & Tyerman (MLT) command a panoramic view of Saskatoon. “We live and work here,” says Dan Anderson, one of the Saskatoon partners, “This is our community, and we’re proud of it.”
The partners of MLT are leaders in the community, contributing both time and money to support local organizations and charities. “We have a culture of supporting our community,” says Doug Hodson, another of the firm’s Saskatoon partners and the Campaign Chair for the Remai Art Gallery. “Our partners volunteer and provide financial support to many important causes in the province.”
The Remai Art Gallery capture their imagination – so much so that every Saskatoon partner personally contributed to the $250,000 campaign donation. “This was something we all wanted to support,” Dan says. “The Gallery will be a spectacular addition to the city. The riverside location and the design are truly inspiring.”
“The gallery will be a community centre where people – young and old, rural and urban, visitors and residents – will gather,” Doug says. “Saskatoon is a vibrant city that is experiencing unprecedented growth, and the Gallery will play a key role in Saskatoon’s future development.”
“The Remai Art Gallery will be one of the finest art galleries in Canada, and the partners of MLT are proud to provide their support,” Doug emphasizes.
“This was something we all wanted to support”
“Having a signature building is a symbol that the city has arrived.”
For Wade and Betty-Ann Heggie, philanthropy is a reflection of personal values. Says Betty-Ann, “The art gallery has always been high on our list.”
As Mendel Art Gallery Board Chair, Wade led fundraising efforts to expand the gallery. Having donated $10,000 in 2006, the couple contributed $100,000 in 2007 “to inspire others,” Wade said. Although the expansion didn’t go ahead, they are now delighted to have their contribution help build the Remai Art Gallery of Saskatchewan.
Wade says, “The fact that Saskatoon has a vision, and can go ahead with this new art gallery — it’s fantastic!”
The Heggies, who have two daughters, are deeply invested in the community. Wade grew up here, and his father was a city councillor. Betty-Ann came to Saskatoon to attend the University of Saskatchewan.
A former PotashCorp senior vice-president, Betty-Ann founded the Womentorship program, Edwards School of Business, U of S. Wade is a retired financial and insurance planner.
Avid travellers, the Heggies have planned trips around signature buildings, such as Spain’s Guggenheim Museum Bilbao. “Having a signature building is a symbol that our city has arrived,” Betty-Ann says.
“The Remai Gallery sends a signal. Through art and architecture, you’re telling people that how you live and what you surround yourself with is important.”
"The art gallery has always been high on our list"
“Supporting the Remai Art Gallery is perfect for me. I’ll never get to do anything like this again, that is so connected to my life.”
Darrell Bell supports the new Remai Art Gallery of Saskatchewan for so many reasons. First, he is a proud Prairie artist, born in Wynyard and educated at the University of Saskatchewan. He has been exhibiting his evocative landscape paintings since the early 1980s.
While a student, Bell was a museum trainee at the Mendel Art Gallery. “I’ve seen first-hand the limitations of the current gallery, and I’m astonished it functions as well as it does,” he says. “Visitors don’t realize how many people work there, and what they do.”
Public galleries can challenge, delight, and inspire, Bell says. “They are visual libraries, full of ideas and learning opportunities.”
Bell’s commercial enterprise, the Darrell Bell Gallery, showcases his work and that of some 30 other artists and craftspeople. He knows that a rising tide lifts all boats; that River Landing, anchored by the Remai Art Gallery, will benefit artists, business people, and everyone else in the community.
Soon after his recent appointment to the Gallery’s Board of Trustees, Bell donated $100,000 to help build the Remai Gallery. His gift will support the Board’s initiative to name the new facility’s boardroom after the late Dr. Art Knight, the previous President & Chair.
“I decided I needed to make this happen,” Bell says. “Supporting the Remai Art Gallery is perfect for me. I’ll never get to do anything like this again, that is so connected to my life.”
"I’ll never get to do anything like this again"
Art Knight Donor Story
Dr. Art Knight was Chair of the Mendel Art Gallery Board of Trustees for four intense, productive years.
When Art learned that the City of Saskatoon was seeking a destination attraction at River Landing, he asked the Board to seize this opportunity to build an outstanding new gallery for the city and the province.
“Art spoke eloquently for the Remai Art Gallery of Saskatchewan, promoting the concept with the public, the City and potential donors,” says John Hampton, who served as Vice Chair alongside Art.
Knight gave generously of his time, skills and commitment, and his sudden death in November 2011 was a major shock to the Board.
Reflecting a close partnership with Art’s wife, Ineke, and with contributions from every trustee, the new building’s boardroom will be named the Dr. Art Knight Boardroom.
“Having witnessed Art’s dedication, and his vision for a world-class art gallery, I want to help make his dream come true,” says Ineke Knight. “I very much appreciate the trustees’ decision to name the boardroom after Art.”
“Although Art will not be with us when the Remai opens, he will be remembered as we share in the pride and excitement that this new gallery will bring to every corner of our community,” says Jason Aebig, current Board Chair.
“I want to help make his dream come true.”
“Saskatoon is our community. We’ll do anything we can to keep our community in the top echelon.”
Organizations and institutions in Saskatoon know that they can count on Kay and Dora Nasser and their family for support. The Nasser family is stepping forward once again with a $150,000 contribution to the Remai Art Gallery of Saskatchewan capital campaign.
“Saskatoon is our community,” says Kay. “It’s one of the best in Canada and the world. We’ll do anything we can to keep our community in the top echelon. We donate to everything we can – education, health, the arts – because Saskatoon needs all these organizations to be one of the best.”
Supporting local artists is particularly important to the Nasser family. They attend exhibitions and purchase and display art in their home. “We have quite a collection,” Kay says. “It’s almost a gallery.” They also sponsor students who want to become artists.
The Nassers are very pleased with the plans for the Remai Art Gallery. “It’s a nice design, and it’s right on the river,” Kay says. “It will attract all kinds of exhibitions to the city.”
“We hope that our donation will encourage others. It would be wonderful if they would contribute. It’s for all of us here in the city.” Kay says.
"We hope that our donation will encourage others."
“A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to build a Saskatoon landmark”
The McClocklin family have lived in Saskatoon since the early 1900s, sharing with the community through all its ups and downs. As Saskatoon enters a fresh period of growth, Tom and Diane McClocklin, with their family, are continuing to support the community through their generous contribution of $1 million dollars to the Remai Art Gallery capital campaign.
“We have a longstanding relationship with this city that has lasted more than four generations. In 2010, our company celebrated 100 years of doing business in Saskatoon,” Tom McClocklin says. “Today, people are moving to Saskatoon from around the globe. We’re becoming a metropolitan centre, and this will be a world-class art gallery.”
“All large cities have important public spaces,” Tom says. “We believe that the Remai Art Gallery will be a real focal point for the community, and we’re pleased to be able to offer our support. The Mendel Art Gallery has served us well, but now it’s time to nurture our vision of a multi-use gallery that will inspire renewed artistic and cultural literacy.”
The McClocklins are particularly pleased that the Gallery is designed to offer a friendly, relaxed Prairie welcome to people from all walks of life, from high school and university students to families and business people. “The fireplace setting in the atrium is very appealing,” Tom says. In recognition of their generous donation, the atrium will be named the McClocklin Family Atrium.
“Saskatoon is famous for its people who give generously of their time and money,” Tom says. “We really hope that other Saskatoon families will recognize this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to build a world-class art gallery. It’s wonderful when major corporations offer their support, but we encourage individuals and families to do so as well. Let’s all be involved in building a Saskatoon landmark for future generations.”
"This will be a world-class art gallery"
Art and Creativity – Bringing More to Our Community
When Saskatoon born-and-raised couple Greg and Olivia Yuel learned of the Remai Art Gallery of Saskatchewan project, they were inspired to help. As a family who embraces creativity, investing in Saskatoon’s capacity to share in the experience of art and culture was a perfect fit.
“Art has played a big role in our family,” said Olivia. “And our gift is about making something good, even better. We are excited to help create an art gallery that will be a vibrant, educational, fun place for our children – and our children’s children.”
The Yuel’s $500,000 gift to the capital campaign will not only help build the community studio at the Gallery, but will provide long-term funding for public programming.
“This campaign is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to create something that will shape our community,” added Greg. “We believe the Remai has the potential to transform our city, attracting attention and exhibitions from around the world and making Saskatoon an even better place for residents and visitors to enjoy.”
Thank you Greg and Olivia, for generously supporting our vision.
"Art has played a
big role in
Creating legacy through the privilege of giving
Scott and Grit McCreath, educated in Saskatoon, are transforming their support for visual arts in Saskatoon into a family legacy.
Scott’s father was a founder of the Saskatoon Arts Council – the organization that spearheaded the establishment of the Mendel Art Gallery. Grit’s parents were both educators who filled their home with books, music and the works of Saskatchewan artists.
“Growing up, our parents imparted to us the importance of the works of Saskatchewan artists and a culture of giving,” said Grit. “We support Saskatoon’s art community and value the contribution of art and culture to the city’s fabric.”
As a university student in 1964, Scott helped install the windows in the original Mendel Art Gallery building. The couple’s first joint art purchase was a Doug Bentham sculpture. Today, the couple are dedicated collectors of Saskatchewan and Western Canadian art and remain devoted patrons of Saskatoon’s visual arts scene.
“Although we moved away in 1970, our hearts remain in the city,” said Scott. “We return often to visit family and friends, and we rarely miss an opportunity to visit the gallery.”
Patrons of the civic art gallery for more than 40 years, the McCreaths greeted news of the decision to build a new gallery at Saskatoon’s River Landing with enthusiasm. They called gallery development staff to offer their support – a $108,740 contribution to the capital campaign. Their gift marks more than 17 consecutive years of support, and is the McCreaths’ largest donation to the Gallery to date.
“Participating in the establishment of a new landmark gallery on the South Saskatchewan River is the realization of a dream,” said Grit. “It allows us to honour our parents and impart the importance of arts and culture to our sons and their families.”
“The Remai Art Gallery of Saskatchewan will endow cultural leadership in Saskatoon for generations to come and it is our privilege to contribute.”
"Although we moved away in 1970, our hearts remain in the city."