Donated artworks make outdoor sculptures more accessibleBy: ArtBank / 13 September 2021
The Art Bank has been making contemporary Canadian art more accessible to the public through its art rental program, and exhibitions and outreach activities for almost 50 years—and now, we are making some of our long-term loans permanent by donating more than a dozen large outdoor sculptures to a National Historic Site in Quebec and an outdoor park in Ontario.
In its earliest days, the Art Bank was focused on building its collection, nourishing the fledgling Canadian art market and helping artists build their networks across the country. Around this time, several large-scale outdoor sculptures were acquired for the collection.
In 2000, we began donating pieces from the Art Bank collection to galleries and museums across the country to increase public access to artworks that clients seldom rent or request for exhibition. This summer, the Art Bank donated a total of 15 large outdoor sculptures to sculpture parks in Ontario and Quebec: eight went to the Town of Gananoque in Ontario, and seven went to Reford Gardens/Les jardins de Métis in Quebec, a National Historic Site.
The eight sculptures in Gananoque had already been on long-term loan to the town for more than two decades, installed in its Confederation Park. The park is accessible year-round, and the donation will ensure that the sculptures—which are well-loved by residents and visitors alike—will remain on display permanently. The artists include Alan Barkley, Tom Henderson, Louis Archambault, Walter Redinger, Douglas Bentham, Patrick Thibert, Andrew Dutkewych and Normand Dutrisac.
Confederation Park in Gananoque with Walter Redinger's fibreglass sculpture in the foreground (photo: Chris McKay)
Similarly, Reford Gardens/Les jardins de Métis has been displaying five sculptures on long-term loan from the Art Bank since 2012. This year, Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions awarded Reford Gardens close to $2 million in new investment funding to support several large-scale projects, including a new contemporary sculpture path that will feature seven works from the Art Bank: the five that were already there, plus two additional donated works. Artists include Kosso Eloul, Robert Murray, Jean-Pierre Morin, Patrick Thibert, John Nugent and Ken Macklin. Last year, despite COVID-19-related restrictions, Reford Gardens welcomed more than 60,000 visitors.
These donations from the Art Bank collection will ensure continued public access to these much-loved sculptures for years to come.