Beaverbrook Art GallerySeptember 7, 20160 Comments

Members of the Irving family honour Harriet Irving with newly-renovated exhibition space.

Fredericton, N.B., September 7, 2016 – Family members, friends, and special guests celebrated the recent renovation of exhibition and orientation spaces at the Beaverbrook Art Gallery today with an official dedication of the Harriet Irving Gallery, a celebration of its inaugural exhibition, and an unveiling of a plaque commemorating the gift. The project was funded by a gift from James, Arthur, the late John Irving and their families, and named in honour of their mother. The gift included funds for a renovation of the physical space as well as endowment funding for ongoing programming.

Harriet Irving and her husband Kenneth were good friends of Sir Max Aitken (Lord Beaverbrook), and they had a strong respect for one another. She served as a member of the inaugural Board of Governors of the Beaverbrook Art Gallery when it opened in 1959. Harriet Irving enjoyed visiting the Beaverbrook Art Gallery, and the Gallery is proud to see her contributions honoured with this space bearing her name.

“Our mother was a lifelong supporter of the arts and the Beaverbrook Art Gallery,” says Arthur Irving. “We’re very proud to celebrate her memory and legacy in a place that meant so much to her and our family.”

The renovation included a modernization and update of the former British Gallery, now the Harriet Irving Gallery, as well as a renovation of the foyer and orientation gallery. The latter part of this renovation involved a significant visual and structural change to the building, raising the floor level over four-and-a-half feet in the process.

The inaugural exhibition, A Tribute to Harriet Irving: Early Highlights from the Permanent Collection, presented a selection of some of the outstanding treasures that were acquired in the first years of the Gallery’s operation, during which Harriett Irving was a member of the Board of Governors. These gifts helped establish the Gallery’s early identity as a collections-based institution committed to serving community, an identity which has been maintained over the nearly six decades of the Gallery’s existence.

Gallery Director/CEO and Chief Curator Terry Graff says, “The revitalization of the Beaverbrook Art Gallery is aimed at enriching life in New Brunswick by presenting world-class collections, exhibitions and public programs to their fullest potential. To this end, we are sincerely grateful to James, Arthur, and the late John Irving and their families for their outstanding public-mindedness and generous support. We are very pleased to officially honour Harriet Irving through the establishment of the Harriet Irving Gallery, our newly refurbished, state-of-the art gallery designed for connecting people through art.”

This renovation is part of a continued fundraising and expansion project at the Beaverbrook Art Gallery. Construction of a new pavilion expanding the physical footprint of the building is also underway, with an anticipated opening in summer 2017. It will contain additional exhibition spaces, as well as an artist-in-residence studio, a learning theatre, and a café. More information is available at


Media: High-res images available upon request.

About the Beaverbrook Art Gallery

The Beaverbrook Art Gallery was founded by Lord Beaverbrook on September 16, 1959. The Gallery is internationally known for its collection of Atlantic Canadian, Canadian, British, and International works of art. The Beaverbrook Art Gallery “enriches life through art”. As the official art gallery of New Brunswick, and one of Canada’s leading art galleries and most important cultural treasures, its mission is to “bring art and community together in a dynamic cultural environment dedicated to the highest standards in acquisitions, exhibitions, programming, education and stewardship.”

The Beaverbrook Art Gallery enriches life through art.
La Galerie d'art Beaverbrook enrichit la vie par l'art.

Media Contact
Jeremy Elder-Jubelin
Manager of Communications and Visitor Services
Beaverbrook Art Gallery
703 Queen Street, P.O. Box 605
Fredericton, NB
E3E 5A6
Phone: (506) 458-2039
Fax: (506) 458-2028

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