The Donald R. Sobey Family Foundation has donated $2 million to the National Gallery of Canada Foundation to establish the Canadian Artists in Venice Endowment. 

The donation will support the Canadian program at the Venice Biennale, which, as a release notes, “is the most important recurring international gathering of the contemporary art community.”

The Sobey family, which runs a grocery empire from the small town of Stellarton, Nova Scotia, has now given the gallery around $3.5 million over the past two decades. The family’s recent gift is specifically meant to support Canada’s pavilion and programming at the Venice Biennale, by kickstarting the new Canadian Artists in Venice Endowment.

Thomas d’Aquino, chair of the National Gallery Foundation, said the Venice fund needs at least fifteen million dollars to be sustainable.

At the 56th Venice Biennale in 2015 the Canadian artist-collective BGL of Quebec City was chosen by a national selection committee. Artists Jasmin Bilodeau, Sébastien Giguère and Nicolas Laverdière, whose last names lend their initials to BGL, will realize a new installation work. Curator of the exhibition in the Canada Pavilion is Marie Fraser.

Image: Canada Pavilion in the Giardini, Venice. Photo Curtesy National Gallery of Canada.

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