Michael Snow
Clothed Woman (In Memory of my Father) 1963
oil and lucite on canvas
152 x 386.2 cm
Purchased 1966
National Gallery of Canada

The National Gallery of Canada celebrates the 20th anniversary of its building

Ottawa - May 14, 2008

Special events are planned to celebrate on International Museums Day

This year, the National Gallery of Canada (NGC) is celebrating the twentieth birthday of its building located at 380 Sussex Drive, Ottawa. To mark this anniversary, the NGC is inviting the public to a party on Sunday, May 18, from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., on the NGC’s Plaza and in the Concourse and Auditorium. The program includes dancing, shows, concerts, guided tours on the building’s architecture, raffles, fanfare and confetti, and a giant birthday cake, all in a very festive ambience! To find out more about the activities, go to www.gallery.ca/anniversary or call 613-990-1985 or the toll-free number 1-800-319-ARTS.

International Museums Day
This day of celebration coincides with International Museums Day. On this occasion, the NGC is offering visitors free admission to its collection, including the collections of Canadian art, Aboriginal art, European and American art, Asian art, drawings, prints, and photographs, and contemporary art. Visitors will also be able to use Bell audioguides free of charge, but subject to availability, to guide them on their visit. Bell audioguides, available in French, English, Spanish, German, and Mandarin, will help visitors explore the key works in the NGC collection.

The National Gallery of Canada: A temple of art
The new building was inaugurated on 21 May 1988. Designed by Israeli-born Canadian architect Moshe Safdie, the building that houses the NGC is a unique and imposing structure of granite and glass which offers a stunning panoramic view of the Ottawa River and Parliament Hill. Filled with light through the use of innovative skylights – previously unknown in museum architecture at the time of its construction – the building comprises galleries, a cloistered garden courtyard, a glass pool, and a reconstructed 19th-century chapel.

The exhibition galleries, on two levels, are much larger than those in the building that the NGC had previously occupied, and their ceilings are impressively high. These facilities enable NGC to do justice to the works of art that it displays, and visitors a better opportunity to admire them.

"When the National Gallery of Canada’s building was completed in 1988, it was described as a temple for art. Thus it remains, two decades on," said the Director of the NGC, Pierre Théberge. "The public art gallery must be grand and intimate in equal measure. It is where we gather to celebrate our culture; it’s also where we contemplate individual artworks."

Come to the party!
On Sunday, May 18, lovers of art and architecture are invited to enjoy a panoply of activities offered by the NGC:

10 am to 1 pm
Brunch at the Restaurant des Beaux-Arts. A special Anniversary menu is featured.

11 am to 2 pm
Music on the Plaza with CHUM radio.

11:15 am and 2:15 pm
Guided tours on the buidling’s architecture

12:30 pm and 13 :30 pm
Performance of Rumpelstiltskin by Opera Lyra, Ottawa’s Operantics ! In the Great Hall.

2 pm (ticketed event)
Concert presented by the NAC, at the Auditorium. Discover James Thompson, trumpet, with ensembles of the National Arts Centre Orchestra. Cost: $29, students $14.50. Tickets on sale at NAC via TicketMaster at 613-755-1111, or at the door.

2 pm
20th anniversary celebration – Fanfare, confetti canons and anniversary cake. In the Great Hall. 

3 pm
Junkyard Symphony Performance, on the Plaza. Enjoy Junkyard Symphony’s most popular show: the Junkyard Jam. The group jams with the audience along to the beat of the junk, as you get to drum on buckets, dance the Macarena, shake shakers, and do the limbo!

Throughout the day, visitors will be able to drop in at the NGC Bookstore to purchase a souvenir or a book about their favourite artist; buy food and beverages at the Cafétéria des Beaux-Arts, Café l’Entrée, the Sketches Bistro, and on the Plaza; and have a chance to win an NGC family membership.

About the National Gallery of Canada
The National Gallery of Canada is home to the most important collection of historical and contemporary Canadian art in the world. In addition, it has pre-eminent collections of Inuit, Western and European Art from the 14th to the 21st century, as well as American and Asian Art. Created in 1880, it is amongst the oldest of Canada’s national, cultural institutions. For more information, visit http://www.gallery.ca.

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For more information, please contact:
Josée-Britanie Mallet
Senior Media and Public Relations Officer
National Gallery of Canada

Claire Schofield
Manager, Communications and Public Relations
National Gallery of Canada