Multi-Million Dollar Art Donation makes History

Multi-Million Dollar Art Donation makes History

Dr. Fred and Ann Wurlitzer’s extraordinary donation of multimillion-dollar art collection to the Cowichan Public Art Gallery transforms the cultural landscape in the Cowichan Valley

Dr. Fred and Ann Wurlitzer

In a landmark philanthropic gesture, Dr. Fred and Ann Wurlitzer have announced the donation of their awe-inspiring art collection to the Cowichan Public Art Gallery.

This magnificent gift has an appraised value of millions of dollars and will undoubtedly shape the future of the cultural and economic landscape of Cowichan Valley.

The Wurlitzer Collection, painstakingly curated over a lifetime, includes an exceptional selection of Canadian masterpieces, with a portion of the collection featuring 32 paintings by the renowned Canadian Group of Seven, valued at an astonishing $3 million. Notable Canadian artists such as Jean-Paul Riopelle also grace this remarkable collection, adding to its significance.

Jock Hildebrand, President of the Cowichan Public Art Gallery, expressed his enthusiasm for this transformative donation.

“The donation and the new gallery will change the economics of the Cowichan Valley by bringing cultural tourism in a major way. This collection of master Canadian works will draw national and international visitors, making it a major economic engine for the valley,”

The positive impact of this gift is not limited to the gallery alone but is poised to ripple through every aspect of the Cowichan Valley.

The Wurlitzer Collection Donation is set to be rolled out over a five-year period to the Cowichan Public Art Gallery, contingent upon meeting specific milestones, including the commencement of the construction of a new $35 million extension to the present gallery.

This expansion project will create a suitable home for the Wurlitzer Collection in Duncan on an adjacent vacant lot to the current gallery, an option the gallery holds from the city of Duncan.

Dr. Fred Wurlitzer, a retired surgeon, found his true passion in life through the love he shared with his wife Ann and their collective admiration for the Canadian masters. Their dedication to preserving and sharing this extraordinary collection is a testament to their commitment to the cultural enrichment of the region.

This monumental donation is poised to become one the largest art donations ever in Western Canada, solidifying Cowichan Valley’s reputation as a hub for the arts and culture.

The Cowichan Public Art Gallery plans to utilize this gift to bring sophistication and cultural enrichment not only to art enthusiasts but also to the public and the extensive community of artists living in the valley.

The far-reaching effects of this donation will touch every facet of the Cowichan Valley, with accommodation and hospitality sectors standing to gain substantially from the influx of cultural tourism.

The impact will be nothing short of transformative, as the Cowichan Valley evolves into a cultural epicenter for the entire region.

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Dr. Fred Wurlitzer and friends with Lawren Harris painting (untitled – 1950)

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For further information and media inquiries, please contact: 
Jock Hildebrand, President, Cowichan Public Art Gallery
: president@cowichangallery.ca

(250) 215 2823

. . .

About Cowichan Public Art Gallery
 The Cowichan Public Art Gallery, located and exhibiting in the heritage building, The Green Door, was founded seven years ago, and is committed to promoting and preserving the arts and culture of the Cowichan Valley.

The gallery provides a platform for artists and art lovers to come together, fostering creativity and enriching the community through its diverse exhibitions and programs.

The Wurlitzer Collection Donation is set to propel the gallery to new heights in its mission to bring art to the heart of Cowichan Valley.

. . .

In addition:

The City of Duncan Mayor and Council voted in Nov. 2023 to approve an option for CPAG to purchase 135 Kenneth Street.

This means the lot is “reserved” for CPAG for 5 years, giving us time to raise the estimated $35 million to create an international-calibre art gallery. There is no cost to taxpayers & the lot will continue to provide parking for the foreseeable future.

click on the map below to see a larger version

click on the image below to see a larger version (street view: May 2018…not much different today)

 

What happens now?

Fundraise. Fundraise. Fundraise. Won’t it be a great thing to see $35 million spent in our community? We’re working with our Project Champions, advocating for capital investment. Our Gallery Champions are: MP Alistair MacGregor, MLA Sonia Furstenau & MLA Doug Routley.

We so appreciate the generous support from our community – cash, sponsorship, in-kind & advocacy. That’s what made it possible for CPAG to reach this milestone & reserve a location for what will be the largest art gallery on Vancouver Island.

Of course, no need to wait for the campaign, you can DONATE NOW. CPAG is a registered charity, contributions are tax deductible.

 

What’s the next big thing?

CPAG has developed an intimate art gallery in the Green Door Heritage Building in Downtown Duncan. Watch for news, dates & times for the upcoming exhibitions!!

Want to know more?  Click on the image below to see our latest Cowichan Gallery promo video


Multi-Million Dollar Art Donation makes History

Exhibition – Eloquent Silence

Nov. 9th until January 20th, 2024

Tuesdays to Saturdays – 10am – 4pm

** The CPAG gallery will be closed from
December 25 until January 2nd **

In January it will be open from 11 am to 3 pm, Tuesday through Saturday

Cowichan Public Art Gallery, 126 Ingram Street, Duncan

contact: info@cowichangallery.ca

. . .

Eloquent Silence: subtle subversion in Soviet-era Poland

In the 1960’s, Polish artists had to follow the dictates of Soviet Realism, bolstering a totalitarian regime, or be excluded and virtually silenced. Several artists circumvented Soviet restrictions by creating posters for motion pictures that were haunting, surreal, sad, sometimes funny, but always outrageous. Their silence was eloquent.

After Poland regained independence, these posters became popular with collectors, including Norm and Peggy Aylsworth Levine. Norm described how they found these gems:

In Los Angeles, my wife Peggy and I noticed a photo of the poster for the film, Chinatown. We were taken by the curl of a smoking cigarette which became the hair of the female lead.

In Toronto a short time later, we sought out a shop which carried movie posters. The owner referred us to a man whose collection of Polish posters were his astonishing ware. We were enthralled by these images.

During the communist era some of Poland’s finest artists were either pressed into service or gravitated toward public art. It became an artform through which to express a full range of release, from rage to satire. The constraints of the state fell away. The images rendered are shockingly bold and inventive.

Our favorite artist was Andrzej Pagowski. Candles emerge from the top of a head, birds nest in the hair, stairs climb from the nose and eyes become keyholes.

Many were recognizably American movies; others European cinema. The art spoke volumes.

A totalitarian regime engenders either sheepish compliance or an underground of subversion. Art is necessarily oppositional. It challenges the margins set down by a society that has settled for a conforming order.

The posters were of a moment in time, oppressive yet a crucible for a new artistic expression.

In a time when books are being banned, art is being cut from curriculums, and libraries as well as teachers are being directed to limit what they can provide, these posters are poignant reminders that even in difficult times, artists always find new avenues of expression.

– Rebecca Hazell

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Video collection

Polish School of Posters
Poland: Official trailer
Top 10 places to visit
Best things about Poland

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Exhibition Gallery

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Reception Gallery

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About the Cowichan Public Art Gallery (CPAG)

Founded in 2017, CPAG is working to build a world-class art gallery in the town of Duncan in the Cowichan Valley. Once completed, the Gallery will welcome exhibitions from British Columbia, Canada and the world — including engagement and educational events for the public. In the meantime, CPAG has an annual exhibition program enhancing and expanding arts and cultural opportunities for everyone. More than 400 individuals have signed our petition in favour of the project and it enjoys support from all levels of government. CPAG is a registered charity.


Multi-Million Dollar Art Donation makes History

Sailing on a sunlit sea

Sailing on a sunlit sea

. . .

One day, while sailing on a sunlit sea,
a storm sprang up and captured me.

Faster and faster my little boat went,
but that mighty wind would not relent.

It took me farther than ever before…
all the way to a mysterious shore.

A land of odd things I ‘d never seen,
like red foxes wearing all shades of green.

Where books (like bats) live under the shelf.
How can this be? I said to myself.

“Anything’s possible…” whispered a cup,
“just close your eyes and dream something up.”

I lay down and rested my head…
…when I woke up; I was at home in my bed!
 
– DM

. . .

Everything comes from somewhere

The image that illustrates this rhyme took over 30 years to arrive at its final destination.

In 1990, while living in Vancouver, I spent my summer holiday traveling around the coastline of Southern Vancouver Island sketching and taking photographs in some of the many small marinas in the area.

A cute little sailboat docked in Cowichan Bay caught my eye and I took the photograph that resulted in an ink drawing in 1996 and spawned a series of evolving sketches in 1997.

The images remained tucked away in a small sketchbook for another 23 years until they emerged at last as a large acrylic painting on board in the summer of 2021 at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Two years later, as I was sitting contemplating the painting on the wall of my living room; it seemed to call for a story and the first line suggested itself.

I have written only a few lines of poetry in my lifetime, but over the next few days I could not stop playing with words, sounds and images until the story was complete. I was surprised at how joyful it can feel to find just the right word or a phrase that fits snugly into its proper place.

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Evolution of an image

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All stories come to an end at some point

It is possible that the cute little sailboat that caught my eye that summer of 1990 may have finished its days in Maple Bay in 2019, but you just never know…it might still be out there happily scooting over the local waters.


Multi-Million Dollar Art Donation makes History

Exibition – Plan B

Sept. 13th until Oct. 25th

Tuesdays to Saturdays – 10am – 4pm

Cowichan Public Art Gallery, 126 Ingram Street, Duncan

contact: info@cowichangallery.ca

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Plan B: the Exhibition: A Showcase of Artistic Vision and Community Dedication

The Cowichan Public Art Gallery (CPAG) has emerged as a testament to the confluence of artistic vision and unwavering community dedication. In the heart of the Cowichan Valley, amateur and professional artists, art enthusiasts, collectors, and an indomitable group of individuals have orchestrated the creation of a thriving cultural haven. Their collective energy and relentless efforts have materialized in the form of the “Plan B” exhibition, which offers a captivating window into the diverse world of artistry that defines CPAG.

The Tale of “Plan B”
“Plan B” got its name from the quick change of plans required due to technical challenges that prevented the scheduled opening of the “Educated by a Basket” exhibition. While the “Basket” show has been rescheduled for the coming year, “Plan B” stands on its own as an innovative interim showcase of artistic prowess and creative resilience.

The Essence of Motivation
Embedded within the “Plan B” exhibition is an implicit narrative of profound motivation. It reflects the unyielding ambition that underpins the creation of a public art gallery in the Cowichan Valley—a vision driven by individuals who believe in the transformative power of art. CPAG, as an entity, owes its existence to the remarkable work of its board and various committees, a collective force that has turned dreams into tangible cultural contributions.

A Kaleidoscope of Artistry
“Plan B” is an eclectic assemblage that mirrors the multifaceted personalities of its creators. It captures the essence of artistic diversity, ranging from the meticulous strokes of professionals to the unbridled creativity of amateurs. The canvases speak in a variety of tongues, from the vast expanses of landscapes to the intimate portrayals of figurative and nude subjects.

Board Members as Artists
At the heart of CPAG’s artistic journey are its Board members and CPAG’s volunteer chairs and volunteers who have not only championed its cause but have also contributed their own creative endeavors to “Plan B.” These individuals embody a cross-section of the artistic spectrum, each offering a unique perspective.

President Jock Hildebrand, Sculptor: Hildebrand’s sculptural prowess breathes life into the exhibition, adding three-dimensional elements to the artistic discourse.
Hildebrand’s works are paintings and bronzes. They are a painting entitled “Nude” and three bronze sculptures entitled: “Hoof”, “Reclining Venus”, and “Herd”,

Director at Large – Dorian Melton, Artist: Melton’s creative range adds depth and colour to the exhibition, demonstrating the Board’s commitment to hands-on artistic expression. Melton’s drawings, and altered photos are: “Bather”, “Gillnetters 2″,”Nanaimo Tugboat”. “Rock Face”, “Rock Face 2”, and “Circle Rock”.

Director at Large – Becky Hazell, Painter: Hazell’s contribution speaks to the subtleties and nuances of watercolours, providing a rich contrast to other forms within the exhibition.

Programming Committee – Janine Duns, Printmaker: Duns is an accomplished and sophisticated printmaker with works in many private and public collections. Here she presents “Train Station One” and “Train Station Two”.

Director at Large – Chris Warren, Painter: Warren’s new adventure into the world of painting is illustrated by her two works in the collection: “Mandarin Duck” and “Blue and Green”.

Maite Urzua – Programming Chair, Painter: Urzua’s painterly landscape vision evokes emotion and narrative, weaving a compelling tale through brushstrokes and pigments. Maitea also contributed a painting from her collection: “Thaw”.

From the Collections of Board members and Committee chairs:

Secretary, Treasurer-Anne Brunet: Anne, and husband, Al’s collection includes the painting entitled “Dusk” and the print, “Journey to the Gathering”.

Building Chair – David Coulson has two paintings from his collection in this exhibition: “Pinot Grigio” and “Morning Walk”.

Mark and Becky Hazell collection: The Hazells have a fine collection accumulated over the years. Their pieces here are: “Al Caer La Tarde” (At Dusk or Twilight) and two untitled pieces by artists Peter Di Gesu and Don Li-Leger.

Volunteer Co-chair, Stella Cockett: Cockett’s collection includes the wonderful painting entitled “Slip”, a multimedia piece.

The “Plan B” exhibition at the Cowichan Public Art Gallery stands as a testament to the transformative potential of art, the indomitable spirit of dedicated individuals, and the profound impact of a cultural initiative.

The gallery is a collective endeavor that transcends technical setbacks and challenges, emerging as a testament to the power of artistic vision in shaping and enriching a community.

Visitors to this exhibition are invited to delve deep into the artistry on display, seeking insights into the motivation and inspiration of the people who have brought CPAG and “Plan B” to life, forever altering the cultural landscape of the Cowichan Valley.

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Exhibition Gallery

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Opening Reception Gallery

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About the Cowichan Public Art Gallery (CPAG)

Founded in 2017, CPAG is working to build a world-class art gallery in the town of Duncan in the Cowichan Valley. Once completed, the Gallery will welcome exhibitions from British Columbia, Canada and the world — including engagement and educational events for the public. In the meantime, CPAG has an annual exhibition program enhancing and expanding arts and cultural opportunities for everyone. More than 400 individuals have signed our petition in favour of the project and it enjoys support from all levels of government. CPAG is a registered charity.


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Multi-Million Dollar Art Donation makes History

Exhibition: Educated by a Basket

. . .

Exhibition postponed

Due to technical reasons, the Cowichan Public art Gallery was unfortunately forced to postpone this exhibition.

We look forward to presenting this important exhibition
at some point in the near future. 

. . .

What will replace it, you ask?

. . .

Sept. 13th until Oct. 25th

Tuesdays to Saturdays – 10am – 4pm

Cowichan Public Art Gallery, 126 Ingram Street, Duncan

contact: info@cowichangallery.ca

We are delighted to present this special exhibition: “Plan B”.

This extraordinary show spotlights both the original art of a group of very dedicated volunteers who make our gallery thrive as well as select works from their personal art collections.

The Cowichan Public Art Gallery is more than just a space for showcasing art; it’s a community that thrives on creativity, collaboration, and passion. Our awesome volunteers are at the heart of this community, and this exhibition is a tribute to their artistic talents and interests.

. . .

 

Exhibition photos coming soon

. . .

 

About the Cowichan Public Art Gallery (CPAG)

Founded in 2017, CPAG is working to build a world-class art gallery in the town of Duncan in the Cowichan Valley. Once completed, the Gallery will welcome exhibitions from British Columbia, Canada and the world — including engagement and educational events for the public. In the meantime, CPAG has an annual exhibition program enhancing and expanding arts and cultural opportunities for everyone. More than 400 individuals have signed our petition in favour of the project and it enjoys support from all levels of government. CPAG is a registered charity.


Multi-Million Dollar Art Donation makes History

Meeting with Ministers – August 3, 2023

Ministers meet with CPAG
August 3, 2023

Members of the Cowichan Public Art Gallery Society had an important meeting with Lana Popham (Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport), Doug Routley (Parliamentary Secretary for Forests) and Michelle Staples (Mayor of the City of Duncan) regarding potential sources of funding for the Gallery.

Also in attendance: Jock Hildebrand (President of CPAG), Russell Wintersgill (Vice President of CPAG), David Coulson (CPAG Director), Anne Brunet (CPAG Secretary/Treasurer) and Stella Cockett (CPAG Volunteer Docent)

The meeting was reported to be very positive and is expected to bear fruit.

More about Lana Popham – MLA
More about Doug Routley, MLA
More about MIchelle Staples, Mayor of the City of Duncan