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Joe Fafard's Running Horses Sculpture Inspires Patrons' $650,000 Gift to National Gallery of Canada Foundation

OTTAWA.- The National Gallery of Canada Foundation is proud to announce an important gift of 650,000 dollars from thirteen of its Distinguished Patrons to create the first endowment dedicated to the National Gallery of Canada’s (NGC) travelling exhibition program, On Tour. This gift will also support the acquisition of the work that was the source of its inspiration, Running Horses, a breathtaking laser-cut steel and bronze sculpture by Canadian artist Joe Fafard.

Leader of this philanthropic initiative, Thomas P. d’Aquino, Chairman of the NGC Foundation Board of Directors and Chief Executive Officer and President of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives, received the enthusiastic support of the Distinguished Patrons. “All of us were inspired by the beauty, energy, and untamed power that Joe Fafard has conjured in Running Horses. We shared the Gallery’s view that this stunning work by an iconic contemporary Canadian artist belongs in the national collection. Additionally, and perhaps more fundamentally, we all firmly believe that Canadians across the country should have the opportunity to see remarkable art,” said Mr. d’Aquino. “We are very pleased to not only facilitate this acquisition but also to provide sustainable financial support to the Gallery’s travelling exhibition program through the On Tour Endowment Fund,” he continued.

The Distinguished Patrons of the National Gallery of Canada Foundation who were involved with this initiative include: Michael Audain and Yoshiko Karasawa (Vancouver), Laurent and Claire Beaudoin (Montreal), Dominic and Pearl D'Alessandro (Toronto), Thomas and Susan d'Aquino (Ottawa), André and France Desmarais (Montreal), N. Murray and Heather Edwards (Calgary), Fred and Elizabeth Fountain (Halifax), Hartley and Heather Richardson (Winnipeg), Nancy Richardson (Ottawa), Donald and Beth Sobey (Stellarton, N.S.), William and Jean Teron (Ottawa), and two anonymous patrons.

“Enriching our collection of contemporary Canadian art with such significant works as Fafard`s Running Horses is a priority for the National Gallery. It is also vitally important that we continue to enhance our ability to share our collections and exhibitions across the country and abroad,” said the Director of the NGC, Pierre Théberge. “By supporting both priorities, this gift is truly visionary. I wish to thank Thomas d’Aquino most sincerely for his leadership and all the Distinguished Patrons for their inspired generosity.”

The National Gallery of Canada’s On Tour exhibition program is one of the largest in the world and is a cornerstone of its national outreach mandate. Over the past two years, the Gallery has presented 39 exhibitions at 65 galleries and museums attracting over 815,000 people under its auspices. “For optimal support of this program, an endowment of several million dollars is required. The creation of the Distinguished Patrons of the National Gallery of Canada Foundation On Tour Endowment Fund provides a terrific starting point and we are deeply grateful for this gift,” said the President and CEO of the National Gallery of Canada Foundation, Marie Claire Morin.

The Joe Fafard exhibition, co-organized by the NGC and the MacKenzie Art Gallery, in Regina, and which includes Running Horses, will tour the country over the next 18 months to the following venues: the McMichael Canadian Art Collection in Kleinburg (Ontario) from June 28 to September 14; the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia in Halifax from November 21, 2008 to February 8, 2009; the Glenbow Museum in Calgary from March 13 to May 31, 2009; and the Winnipeg Art Gallery from June 25 to September 13, 2009.

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