Supporters of the Ottawa Art Gallery got together Thursday to celebrate a new partnership with local developer David Choo in the upscale, chic sales centre for his new boutique luxury condominium project, Monocle Westboro.
The reception was exactly one week away from the OAG’s signature fundraiser, LE PARTY. This will be the first year OAG is hosting its popular silent auction and cocktail bash at its gorgeous and expanded new downtown digs at 50 Mackenzie King Bridge. For years, the annual benefit was somewhat of a squishy affair, with hundreds of people packed inside the gallery’s former space, located in an old courthouse.
“If you want to know what the Ottawa art scene is you come to this event,” the Ottawa Art Gallery’s director and CEO, Alexandra Badzak, told the room Thursday. “It is the event to check it out.”
The new and improved OAG reopened last April. “In so many ways the Ottawa Art Gallery was a coming-of-age for Ottawa,” said Badzak. “We have amazing national institutions within the city but now was time to build our own institution, and we did so with all of your support.”
LE PARTY will feature works by more than 68 artworks by regional artists, ranging from emerging to established. The artists have the option of receiving a commission of 45 per cent or donating their commission to the cause, in exchange for a tax receipt.
The gallery is hoping to raise $150,000 in order to keep offering free educational programs, tours, events and free admission to the gallery. Ashcroft has joined on as a gold sponsor with Le Germain Hôtels.
While there was no sales pitch made by Choo, he did remind everyone about the importance of acting quickly when buying real estate. Opportunities don’t last forever. The same applies to art, he said inside the sale centre at 98 Richmond Rd. The condo project is marketed under Choo's new parent company, Choo Communities.
“When you have something that is rare and special, you've got to recognize it,” he said. “There have been times when I’ve seen something at the galleries that I liked but didn’t buy and, two days later, it was gone.”
During the reception, a name was randomly drawn for $500-worth of “art dollars” to be spent at next week’s silent art auction, courtesy of Choo. The winner was Judith Nolte, whose late husband was Canadian artist Gunter Nolte. She told OBJ.social she has her eye on one piece of art in particular, a framed print by Ottawa photographer Jamie Kronick.
Kronick’s art was on display at the reception, along with works by Erin Robertson, Cheryl Pagurek, Norman Takeuchi and Stephen Frew, the latter of whom was in attendance. He told OBJ.social how fun and exciting he finds LE PARTY. His art does well in the auction.
“I’m also really into all the other art,” he added. “There are a few times when I’ve tried to bid but I don’t have a lot of money; I’m an artist.”
Spotted at the reception were retired Canada Council Art Bank director Victoria Henry, chair of The Hnatyshyn Foundation; OAG co-founder Glenn McInnes; Brenda Firestone, whose parents' priceless Firestone Collection of Canadian Art, including works by the Group of Seven, is at the OAG; and former Canadian journalist Tom Clark, now with public affairs and communications firm Global Public Affairs. His wife, Jane Clark, is on the board of the OAG.
LE PARTY is taking place Thursday, November 8. There’s an Art Lover’s reception from 5:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. for special ticket holders, with a Buy It Now option. The main reception runs from 6:30 to 9:30 and is $100 a ticket. The event features cocktails and hors d’oeuvres. There's also free childcare available.