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Koerner Family Gifts $2 Million to Venice Fund

The National Gallery of Canada Foundation has announced a $2 million donation made by the Koerner Foundation of Toronto to the Canadian Artists in Venice Endowment Fund. The announcement was made at the Canada Pavilion in Venice yesterday, on the opening preview day of the 56th Venice Biennale.

The endowment fund was established this past February, led by the Donald R. Sobey Family Foundation’s inaugural $2 million gift. The fund will provide ongoing support for Canadian artists exhibiting at the Venice Biennale.

“The creation of this endowment is a pivotal step to secure the future of Canada in Venice,” said Michelle Koerner, the director of the National Gallery of Canada Foundation Board and daughter of Michael and Sonja Koerner, founders of the Koerner Foundation, at the announcement. “We are proud to lend our support to the foundation, to help showcase the best Canadian visual artists on the international stage.”

The fund is being endowed with the aim of attracting other philanthropic partners to support Canada’s presence on the international stage.

“We love the idea of partnering with other philanthropists from across the country to establish a sustainable source of support for Canada in Venice,” said Rob Sobey, who participated in the announcement yesterday.

Venice projects, which typically entail high production costs, rely heavily on such private funding. Shary Boyle’s 2013 project cost $1.2 million, of which almost $1 million was privately raised through the National Gallery of Canada Foundation. The budget for BGL’s current three-part installation project at the Canada Pavilion, “Canadassimo,” was estimated at  $1.0 to $1.3 million.

In acknowledgement of the Koerner Foundation’s latest gift, the NGC will rename its Water Court the Michael and Sonja Koerner Family Atrium.

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