2017 Year in Review

Beaverbrook Art GalleryJanuary 10, 20180 Comments

2017 Year in Review


As we look forward to a new year of exhibitions and programming in our newly-expanded building, we’re taking a moment to reflect on some of the exciting stories of 2017.

Our biggest event was, of course, the opening of the pavilion expansion. After many years of construction and renovation, we (finally!) opened the pavilion to the public with an activity-filled weekend, on October 14-15. There were many other notable events throughout the year, as well: exhibitions, new artworks, and more! As we get ready for another exciting year, we’re pausing to revisit some of these highlights.

With much to look back on, there’s also much to look forward to, and lots to take part in: Join us in 2018 as we institute a renewed focus on our permanent collection, as well as major touring exhibitions featuring Alex Janvier and James Wilson Morrice, both from the National Gallery of Canada, and much more.

Thank you to all the members, visitors, and supporters who joined together with us to make 2017 a wonderful year. We’re ready to welcome you in 2018!


1. Pavilion Expansion Opens

In October of this year, we completed construction of the magnificent expansion of the Gallery. The pavilion, designed by the award-winning firm MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple Architects of Halifax, adds new exhibition spaces, a café, an artist-in-residence studio, and more art and visitor services spaces. The wing opens onto a courtyard, joining the Gallery with Fredericton's vibrant downtown and green spaces.

At the same time, we opened the newly-renovated East Wing, now called the International Wing. The wing is divided into small, richly-coloured galleries showcasing many of our beloved international masterworks, and a stunning selection of the Lucile Pillow Collection of English Porcelain.  

In addition to new galleries and programming spaces, the opening of our pavilion meant that for the first time the Gallery could have a café. We welcomed Chess Piece Patisserie as the operator of our new cafe, giving our members and visitors a spot to sit, refuel, and reflect.

2. Pavilion Opening Weekend 

The October 14-15 weekend was a wonderful moment for the Gallery, to say the least. We welcomed some 3,500 people celebrating this occasion. And, what a celebration it was! The weekend kicked off with an official reception in the afternoon, hosted at both the Legislative Assembly and the new pavilion.Then, in the evening, the party really started, with hundreds of guests joining us for music, refreshments, and art!

For the public pavilion opening on  Sunday the 15th, we threw open the doors to everyone. The day was packed full of activities, artist workshops, performances, and of course, art in new exhibition spaces.

See photos from the full weekend here.

3. Canadian Mosaic Exhibition Opens 

With such a dynamic and varied exhibition schedule, there were many moments last year to highlight. We showcased work by Oscar Cahén, Marlene Creates, Thaddeus Holownia, and Franz Spohn, as well as work by NBCCD students and Modernist masterpieces.

Canada’s sesquicentennial celebration gave us a unique opportunity to look back at the core of our exhibition program, our permanent collection, and engage in an expansive look at just how varied the art of Canada can be.

On April 29th we officially opened Canadian Mosaic, an exhibition celebrating Canada’s sesquicentennial and 150 years of Canadian Art. We filled five galleries with artworks.

Different gallery spaces focused on different periods in Canadian and First Nations art – historical, modern and contemporary – with an additional presentation highlighting the art of Atlantic Canada. Visitors were able to enjoy the exhibition on display all summer.

See the pictures here!  

4. New Artist-in-Residence Studio 

The Beaverbrook Art Gallery has residency programs designed to engage our visitors with art critics and creators: programs like the Sheila Hugh Mackay Critic-in-Residence program and the Scotiabank Artist Residency program. With our new pavilion, we introduced a new opportunity to engage with art makers.
Bruno Bobak’s dream was to have a space where artists could have the time, freedom, and space to undertake their work while interacting with Gallery visitors. As part of the expansion of the Gallery, on the lower level of the pavilion, the Bruno Bobak Artist-in-Residence Studio hosts resident artists as they undertake their own work and engage with people of all ages. 

The first artist in residence in the brand new studio was Tim Hogan, an emerging artist of Maliseet and Irish descent. A rotating schedule of artist residencies will continue in 2018 starting with Danielle Hogan.

Read more here.

5. TD Sculpture Garden grows

In the summer, the TD Sculpture Garden grew with the addition of two new sculptures: Riace IV by British artist, Dame Elisabeth Frink, and the loan of Survivors are not Heroes, by Sorel Etrog. The front lawn of the Gallery also saw the return of the Lynn Chadwick sculpture, Sitting Figures, from Kingsbrae Gardens.

The growth of the TD Sculpture Garden is part of the Beaverbrook Art Gallery’s ongoing expansion and revitalization efforts. It is also part of our continuing commitment to bringing important and engaging works of world renowned art into the collection and share them with New Brunswick’s residents and visitors.

Read more here.

6. York Wilson Foundation Donation  

With many major acquisitions to choose from, one stands out in number of works. In February we were pleased to announce a large donation from the York Wilson Foundation for the Visual Arts. The donation, consisting of over 850 works of art, financial support, and a digital archive of the artist’s works, represents the largest single collection of York Wilson’s work.

The expansion of the new pavilion allowed for a new Prints and Drawings Gallery, where some of York Wilson's works on paper are currently on display.

Read more here.  


More highlights from 2017:

  • Hemmings House Pictures created a wonderful video to commemorate the opening of the Bigger, Better, Beaverbrook art gallery pavilion.
  • As part of the new pavilion expansion we announced that the operator of Café Beaverbrook is Chess Piece Patisserie!  
  • 8 new exhibitions throughout the year including: Masterworks: HomecomingFranz Spohn – Sweet as Art!Canadian Mosaic, NBCCD, Oscar Cahén, Marlene Creates: Places, Paths, and Pauses24 Tree Studies for Henry David Thoreau, and Masters of Modernism
  • Staff members from the Gallery attended Art Toronto in October for the second year in a row. 
  • The Gallery hosted special events and activities for a number of other celebrations and festivals including: FROSTival, National Aboriginal Day, Lord Beaverbrook Day, International Museums Day, New Brunswick Day, and Canada Day!
  • And, Tom Smart became the Beaverbrook Art Gallery's new director in November.
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