Family donates $30M to Saskatoon art gallery

The Frank and Ellen Remai Foundation is donating $30 million to Saskatoon's planned new art gallery — the largest single gift of its type in Saskatchewan history.
Last month, art gallery officials released concept drawings of the planned new gallery. (City of Saskatoon)

The Frank and Ellen Remai Foundation is donating $30 million to Saskatoon's planned new art gallery — the largest single gift of its type in Saskatchewan history.

Under the announcement made Friday, half the money will go to build the gallery, the other half to programming over the next 30 years.

Ellen Remai, whose family made its fortune in real estate only to give away millions to charity, said the grant is a way to give back to the community. She put out a public plea for people to support the gallery in any way they could.

The deal includes naming rights: the new gallery, which will replace the Mendel, will be named the Remai Art Gallery of Saskatchewan.

"We have a citizen of this city come forward and give $30 million to allow this project to go forward ... it was very important to give her that recognition,"  fundraising chair Doug Hodson said.

The Saskatoon building, which will be built on River Landing next to Persephone Theatre, is projected to open in 2014. The gallery is expected to cost $84 million.