ALBERTA.- The Art Gallery of Alberta
s (AGA) interim home at Enterprise Square will permanently close its doors on Sunday, December 13, 2009. To honour and celebrate the two years the AGA spent at the Jasper Avenue location, the Gallery will host an afternoon of art activities for all ages in a special HSBC All Day Saturday on Saturday, December 12, 2009 from 1-4 pm. Activities are free with admission.
The closure of the temporary gallery marks a milestone in the AGA's three-phase New Vision project to create a gallery of national significance for Alberta . The third phase of the project, the renovation of the Art Gallery of Alberta building at 2 Sir Winston Churchill Square , will be complete on January 31, 2010 when the new AGA opens to the public.
Designed by Los Angeles architect Randall Stout, the new gallery will feature over 30,000 square feet of premier exhibition space, an expanded education centre, a shop, an art rental and sales gallery, a restaurant and two cafes. The gallery will also offer unique facility rental opportunities. Inaugural exhibitions will include major works by the famous Edgar Degas, celebrated Canadian photographer Yousuf Karsh and internationally renowned Canadian artists Janet Cardiff and Georges Bures Miller along with the return of the AGAs childrens gallery, newly named the BMO World of Creativity. The opening will also include an exhibition of photographs of the construction of the new AGA by notable Canadian photographer Edward Burtysky and sculptures by Albertans Peter Hide and Ken Macklin on each of the Gallery's two outdoor terraces.
The second phase of the New Vision project began with the opening of the Enterprise Square gallery space on April 14, 2007. The space enabled the AGA to continue presenting a full exhibition schedule and educational programs during the multi-million dollar renovation of its original building. The Enterprise Square space provided 11,000 square feet of museum-quality gallery space and studio classrooms, as well as a storefront location for the AGA's Art Rental and Sales Gallery. The cost for the interim Gallery at Enterprise Square (formerly the Hudson Bay Building ) was equally split between the University of Alberta (U of A) and the Art Gallery of Alberta. The U of A will regain possession of the gallery space after December 13, 2009.
The project's first phase was the construction of the Collection Services Facility (CSF), an off-site collection storage facility to improve the care and conservation of the more than 5,000 works in the AGA's permanent collection, valued at close to $33 million. The CSF became operational in December 2006. The facility is located at a downtown Edmonton location separate from the Gallery and features 18,000 square feet of museum quality-controlled environment. The new facility almost doubles the storage capacity of the former gallery building's vaults.
The four current exhibitions, Building a Vision: Art Gallery of Alberta and Randall Stout Architects, Museums of the 21st Century: Concepts, Projects, Buildings, Canadian Museums Now, and The New Flâneurs: Contemporary Urban Practice and the Picturesque, on display at Enterprise Square , will permanently close along with the temporary gallery.