New board trustees appointed as construction starts on the future Vancouver Art Gallery

The First Art Newspaper on the Net    Established in 1996 Friday, June 14, 2024

New board trustees appointed as construction starts on the future Vancouver Art Gallery
Jon Stovell. Photo: Vancouver Art Gallery.

VANCOUVER.- As construction continues on the new Vancouver Art Gallery, located at the intersection of downtown’s West Georgia and Cambie Streets, the Gallery has appointed Jon Stovell as the new Chair and Esther Rausenberg as the new Vice Chair of its Association Board. The duo has been elected for their expertise to help shape the future vision for one of North America’s most innovative visual arts institutions, with the completion of the new Vancouver Art Gallery expected in the fall of 2028.

“We are extremely fortunate to welcome two highly experienced and influential individuals, with distinct backgrounds and perspectives,” says Anthony Kiendl, Vancouver Art Gallery CEO & Executive Director. "Jon and Esther’s unique experiences and deep knowledge will provide strategic counsel to the evolution of our future Gallery.”

As Chief Executive at Reliance Properties, Jon Stovell brings more than 30 years of real-estate expertise to the Board, everything from acquisitions, finance, civic approvals, construction, policy development, industry advocacy, marketing and development. Stovell helmed the design and development of unique heritage, residential and commercial projects in Vancouver and Victoria that won multiple local and national awards. Reliance Properties has long supported the local arts community in Vancouver and Victoria, including giving the largest-ever donation to Emily Carr University of Art and Design.

Stovell also brings vast board and governance experience. He sits on the City of Vancouver’s Urban Design Panel and was a three-time chair of Urban Development Institute.

“A new Vancouver Art Gallery was imagined a long time ago, and I am thrilled to become Chair as it turns a corner on becoming a reality,” states Jon Stovell, the new Chair of the Board of Trustees. “As an avid lover and promoter of the arts, I look forward to the milestones and challenges of raising capital and delivering a new, larger art gallery for the region and for tourists to enjoy.”

A long-time resident of Strathcona and an artist, Esther Rausenberg established what is now known as Georgia Art Studios, with her partner Richard Tetrault. Together with a small group of local artists, they also co-founded the Eastside Culture Crawl, the well-known open studios festival that invites the public directly into artists’ workspaces. In 2013, Rausenberg became the Artistic and Executive Director for the organization, now the Eastside Arts Society. Recently, she helped establish the Eastside Arts District—an area devoted to the preservation of arts and culture spaces. She also previously volunteered as a Selection Committee member for the Downtown Eastside Small Arts Grants program, bringing critical opportunities to underserved artists in the community. From 2012 to 2017, she served as a member of the Arts and Culture Policy Committee for the City of Vancouver, including one year as Co-Vice Chair. Having just served a six-year tenure on the Board of Governors for Emily Carr University of Art and Design and with seven years of experience as a Board of Trustee for the Vancouver Art Gallery, Rausenberg has a foundational understanding of arts and culture and brings a wealth of knowledge to her new role as Vice Chair of the Association Board.

“I am excited to continue on the Board in the role of Vice Chair,” says Esther Rausenberg, Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees. “The Gallery is going to realize our longtime dream of growth and transformation. This is important not just for our organization, but for the entire arts ecosystem in BC, and I am thrilled to lend my support."

Five new Trustees have been appointed in 2024 for a total of 19 Board Members, bringing an array of unique skills and perspectives. Kiendl expects their combined expertise will lead the Gallery through an exciting period of transformation. The Vancouver Art Gallery Association Board includes Jon Stovell (Chair), Esther Rausenberg (Vice Chair), Fraser Phillips (Treasurer), Alden Habacon (Secretary), Kate Armstrong, Jamie Brown, Dana Claxton, Brenda Crabtree, Arya Eshghi, Janie Hungerford, Sarah Kirby-Yung (City of Vancouver Appointee), Priscilla Lam, Jessica Macintosh, Brian Montague (City of Vancouver Appointee), Tara Poseley, Mayor Ken Sim (Ex-officio member), Rosy Shang, Josh Vander Vies and Cathy Zuo.

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