Artist Joel Good at work on a design for a carving that will adorn the Nanaimo Art Gallery facade. (Photo courtesy Jesse Birch)

Artist Joel Good at work on a design for a carving that will adorn the Nanaimo Art Gallery facade. (Photo courtesy Jesse Birch)

Nanaimo Art Gallery passes $10K goal, raises $23K to add art to building front

Sculpture by local artists William and Joel Good to be installed in coming weeks

The Nanaimo Art Gallery has raised $23,400 to add art to the building’s exterior, more than doubling its original $10,000 goal.

The NAG launched its Project for the Heart of Nanaimo crowdfunding campaign on Aug. 2 with the goal of funding the creation and installation of an eight-by-eight-foot carving by local father-and-son artists William and Joel Good called Supernatural Eagle Returning the Sun to the World. The work will be the crown jewel of a complete renovation of the building’s front entrance and facade. By the end of August, the gallery had already passed the $10,000 mark.

“We’re really heartened by the success of this community fundraiser,” said NAG executive director Julie Bevan. “We haven’t undertaken campaigns like this in the past and so we weren’t sure how it would unfold, but we’re really delighted with the results and how widely this project has resonated.”

The 45-day campaign collected 78 individual donations and concluded on Sept. 15 with a final $10,000 gift from the Stanley de Vos Fund at the Nanaimo Foundation.

Bevan said the surplus funding will help the gallery expand the scope of its renovations, including making the building more accessible through automated doors. The gallery also commissioned a video on the sculpture project, featuring interviews with the artists.

“This is a tool that we’ll be able to share online and share in our school programs,” Bevan said. “We have lots of school classes that come and visit the gallery and so this will be a helpful resource to be able to share this work widely.”

Bevan said donations came in not only from Nanaimo residents, but from people across Vancouver Island, the Lower Mainland and as far as Edmonton, Ottawa and London, Ont.

“We feel honoured and delighted that people care about the work that’s going on here and value what art is bringing to our downtown and the possibilities of that,” she said.

Bevan said work has already begun on the renovation, with the installation of new automated front doors with custom fir door handles. She said the new facade and art work will be finished over the next few weeks and unveiled at a street party in front of the NAG on Oct. 13.

“The target date for completion is Oct. 12 so we can party on Oct. 13,” Bevan said.

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