Tuesday, March 22, 2016

A story behind Whistler's Audain Art Museum

Jim Moodie joined Gloria Macarenko to make a toast to the Queen
It's not often that I get an invitation to the opening of a friend's art museum, but that's what happened earlier this month. While much has been written about Michael Audain's most generous and impressive gift to Whistler and the people of British Columbia, I wanted to share a few personal anecdotes and photos.
It's difficult to get the RCMP to march on command for a photo, but that's what happened here!
One of the most surprising things about Michael's decision to build the museum in Whistler is that he really had no prior connection to the community before deciding to locate there. He's not a skier; and unlike his colleagues Nat Bosa, Moh Faris, Victor Setton or Joe Houssian, he never built a project there. He didn't even own a cabin.

But Michael had a friend with a longstanding connection to Whistler, Jim Moodie. Once a principal of Sutcliffe Griggs Moodie, Jim was very involved with the creation of Whistler as we know it today. He is a skier. He does own a cabin. And over the years, he has done a lot for Whistler.

His Whistler Olympic Village (well, it wasn't just his....Eric Martin and a lot of other people helped out) didn't make headlines in the Vancouver Sun, because it was so very successful.

Jim knew Michael wanted to build an Art Museum to share his extensive collection; and while there appeared to be other, more logical locations, Jim had the foresight to appreciate that Whistler could be an exceptional venue. And he was right.

Not only did Jim help locate the museum at Whistler, he also worked with Michael and his team in overseeing the project from beginning to end. Today he serves as Vice-Chair of the Audain Art Museum Board.

While the people who work behind the scenes are not always recognized, some of the loudest applause at the opening gala were for Jim, because most of the people in attendance knew how much he had contributed to the creation of this wonderful legacy.
Chor Leone was a surprised guest at the opening gala. It is probably the first time they have sung in front of cedars
Michael Audain and Yoshi Karasawa enjoyed the opening as much as their guests
Michael says he'll miss these masks....they were like good friends in his home
While not everyone thought these were a good use of golf bags, they were wrong. Works by Brian Jungen
This view through the crystal glass will only get better when the landscaping is completed.
Jim Moodie and a friend.
As noted in the brochure handed out at the opening, The Audain Art Museum was established for the purpose of bringing the art of British Columbia from early times to the present day to the attention of the public from our province and beyond. Visitors will be exposed to a collection of art that will surprise and enthrall. Plus temporary exhibitions will feature art from around the world.

The museum is now open to the public. If you haven't seen it, I highly recommend that you go before the crowds arrive this summer.

2 comments:

jim moodie said...

thanks Michael - a very kind and appreciated commentary....jim

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