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Audain Foundation donates $4 million for public art at new St. Paul’s Hospital

April 7th, 2021
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We are thrilled to announce that the Audain Foundation has donated $4 million to the new St. Paul’s Hospital at the Jim Pattison Medical Centre. This leadership gift will establish the Audain Public Art Program at St. Paul’s Hospital to ensure the new hospital, opening in 2027, will have meaningful public art as a part of its environment, adding to the healing experience and overall well-being of patients, staff, and visitors.

Located on an 18.4-acre site in Vancouver’s False Creek Flats, the new St. Paul’s Hospital will be a part of a brand new complex devoted entirely to health care, life sciences, research, technology, and innovation. Public art at the new St. Paul’s will be key to optimizing its public spaces, and will contribute to the promotion of health, wellness, and education on the site’s historical, social, and cultural contexts.

The public art project at the new St. Paul’s Hospital is the largest of its kind at a health care site in Canada. The Audain Foundation’s donation represents one of the largest grants the foundation has ever given to a project.

“St. Paul’s Hospital is well known for our commitment to delivering compassionate, person-centred care. The Audain Foundation’s generous gift will enable our staff to uphold this commitment in a 21st century facility – in an environment that is welcoming, soothing, and comfortable for all visitors. The beautiful and meaningful artwork that will populate the new hospital as a result of this gift will greatly benefit our patients and their families, as well as the many dedicated health care workers who will come to work at the hospital every day,” says Fiona Dalton, PHC’s president and CEO.

The Audain Foundation’s commitment to supporting arts and culture stems from its Board Chair Michael Audain, Chairman of Polygon Homes Ltd. and a renowned art collector and philanthropist. Through the Audain Foundation, Mr. Audain has helped to transform the arts and culture landscape in Canada, supporting many capital projects and exhibitions at major public art galleries and educational institutions.

“Our foundation is pleased to support a strong public art program at the new St. Paul’s Hospital. As a not infrequent patient of St. Paul’s I have long believed the hospital needs a new physical plant. So I view this as a unique opportunity to combine my interest in visual art with my respect for one of Canada’s leading medical centres,” says Michael Audain, Board Chair, Audain Foundation.

Within a health care setting, arts engagement has proven to play a significant role in improving the psychological, social, and spiritual well-being of patients. Prevailing studies show a direct connection between the hospital environment and healing, with a distinct correlation between art and wellness.

Respecting the territory in which the new St. Paul’s Hospital will be located, planning for the hospital’s public art project will be done in partnership with the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh, as well as informed by Indigenous patients and urban Indigenous peoples, to ensure an inclusive art selection process.

Public art at the new St. Paul’s is expected to reflect Providence Health Care’s mission of service to all, its inclusive Catholic identity, and specifically its commitment to reconciliation. Among the possibilities include the use of Indigenous interior and exterior design characteristics; artwork that reflects the natural environment, such as mountains, water, forests, and animals; and the inclusion of natural elements such as wood and greenery.

“The new St. Paul’s Hospital will provide world-class health care to British Columbians for generations to come. This leadership gift from the Audain Foundation will ensure that the hospital looks after not only patients’ physical needs, but also their emotional and mental well-being.  We are grateful to Michael Audain and the Audain Foundation for their visionary gift. It is taking us one step closer to realizing our vision of creating a hospital that is truly purpose built to put people first,” says Dick Vollet, SPF president & CEO.

With close to 10,000 people expected to work at the new St. Paul’s Hospital and the broader health campus, and thousands of patients visiting to receive care on a daily basis, public art installations at the new St. Paul’s will foster social connection, dialogue, interest, and curiosity among the hospital’s diverse visitors.

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Established in 1997 to support the visual arts in British Columbia, the Audain Foundation has made over $133 million in grants to registered charities operating within this focus. Learn more about the Foundation at audainartmuseum.com/aam-foundation.

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