Mendel Art Gallery
|Mendel Art Gallery and Civic Conservatory|
Mendel Art Gallery and Civic Conservatory
|Established||October 16, 1964|
|Location||Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada|
|Type||Art museum and conservatory|
|Director||Angela Larson, Acting Executive Director and CEO|
|Curator||Lisa Baldissera, Chief Curator|
The Mendel Art Gallery is a major creative cultural centre in City Park, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, opened in 1964. Housing a permanent collection of more than 7,500 works of local, regional and national significance, the largest public art collection in the province, the Mendel is also known for its public programs for all ages. It is one of two public art museums with provincial responsibilities. It and its sister institution the Saskatoon Civic Conservatory are located on the west bank of the South Saskatchewan River. As of 1999[update], it was the 16th largest public art gallery in Canada by budget size and had the sixth highest overall attendance in the country. In 2010, it had more than 180,000 visitors and one of the country's highest per capita attendance rates.
|“||We recognize our role and responsibility not merely as stewards of the art objects we collect, preserve, research, and present, but as a potent agent of social change, driven by the multiple social, cultural, and educational possibilities of an expanded vision for the public art museum.||”|
— Terry Graff, former director and CEO of the Mendel Art Gallery
The Mendel Art Gallery grew out of the Saskatoon Art Centre, which opened in 1944 in the Standard Trust Building and moved several times, the last time in 1963 to a back room on Fourth Avenue North. It was endowed by Frederick "Fred" Salomon Mendel, a refugee from Nazism who founded Intercontinental Packers (now Mitchell's Gourmet Foods, a unit of Maple Leaf Foods) and announced in 1960 that in celebration of his 20th anniversary in Saskatoon, he would give the city money to establish a public art museum. His gift was matched by the Province of Saskatchewan. In 1965 he also donated 15 works by the Group of Seven which became the nucleus of the permanent collection. The modernist building, which opened on October 16, 1964, was designed by Blankstein, Coop, Gillmor and Hanna of Winnipeg (now numberTEN architectural group), who won the design contest. The Civic Conservatory was built as part of the same project, at the suggestion of the then mayor, S. L. Buckwold. The building was extended in 1975.
On September 18, 2006, the gallery suffered smoke and water damage from an early morning fire in the loading dock area. It reopened nine weeks later with increased focus on national and international art.
In 2009, the Board of Trustees of the Mendel Art Gallery decided to replace the building, which had come to be too small and needed expensive upgrades, with a larger facility on a different site. The new Remai Art Gallery of Saskatchewan is due to open at River Landing, in south downtown Saskatoon, in 2014 or 2015, and will be named for the Frank and Ellen Remai Foundation, the major donors. The design, by Kuwabara Payne McKenna Blumberg Architects and Smith Carter Architects and Engineers, won the 2011 Canadian Architect Award of Excellence. The decision to close the Mendel Gallery and replace it, which superseded earlier plans for expansion, has been controversial, with a former mayor asking for a plebiscite.
- "History". Mendel Art Gallery. 2010. Retrieved 2013-02-04.
- Dan Ring (2006). "Mendel Art Gallery". The Encyclopedia of Saskatchewan. Canadian Plains Research Center, University of Regina. Retrieved 2013-02-04.
- "About the Mendel Art Gallery". Mendel Art Gallery. Retrieved 2013-02-04.
- Jean Swanson (1964-10-10). "The Mendel Art Gallery: A Civic Conservatory, Too". The Star-Phoenix.
- Kim Humphries (1984-10-02). "Mendel Art Gallery marks 20th anniversary". The Star-Phoenix.
- Bernard Flaman, Dan Ring and Jeff Howlett (2004). Character and controversy: the Mendel Art Gallery and modernist architecture in Saskatchewan. Saskatoon: Mendel Art Gallery. p. 9. ISBN 9781896359458.
- "Fire breaks out at Saskatoon art gallery". CBC News. 2006-09-16.
- "Saskatoon's Mendel Art Gallery reopens with a new focus". CBC news. 2006-11-17.
- "Future of Saskatoon's Mendel Art Gallery about to be unveiled". CBC news. 2009-04-03.
- "Saskatoon OKs art gallery plan". CBC news. 2009-12-01.
- "Saskatoon's new art gallery wins design award". CBC news. 2011-12-18. This report gives 2015 as the year of reopening at the new site.
- Vanese M. Ferguson (2006-09-16). "Mendel Art Gallery Expansion Delayed". Saskatoonhomepage.ca.
- David Giles (2012-03-11). "Dayday asks for Mendel Art Gallery plebiscite". Global News.
Further reading 
- Matthew Teitelbaum. The Mendel Art Gallery: twenty-five years of collecting. Saskatoon: Mendel Art Gallery, 1989. ISBN 9780919863460
Media related to Mendel Art Gallery & Civic Conservatory at Wikimedia Commons