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Queen’s receives largest donation ever to revitalize Agnes Etherington Arts Centre

Click to play video 'Bader family donates $54 M for Agnes Etherington Art Centre rejuvenation' Bader family donates $54 M for Agnes Etherington Art Centre rejuvenation
Bader family donates $54 M to Queen's University for Agnes Etherington Art Centre.

An American philanthropic organization has announced a multi-million dollar donation to Queen’s University, slated to revitalize the Agnes Etherington Art Centre.

Bader Philanthropies will be giving roughly $54 million to the university for a new and improved museum that will house the Bader Collection. This is the largest donation the university has ever received, according to Queen’s principal Patrick Deane.

Along with the museum, the new building will house the graduate program in Art Conservation, and both graduate and undergraduate programs of Art History.

Read more: Bader family donates 4th Rembrandt to Queen’s University

“It’s bringing together exhibition space for arts and costumes, visible storage for arts and costumes an outdoor art square, the art history department and the art conservation department,” Daniel Bader, president and CEO of Bader Philanthropies.

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The Bader collection includes 500 paintings and sculptures including four Rembrandts, making the Agnes Etherington Arts Centre a top draw for art education, scholars and art enthusiasts from across the country and internationally.

“The benefits to the city are incalculable, in terms of their ability to attract visitors who will stay in this community, enjoy the other amenities that this community has to offer,” said Deane.

The Bader family’s affiliation with the university stems back to the late Alfred Bader, who was accepted as a student in the 1940s. Bader had previously been rejected by other universities in Canada because he was Jewish, but made a career as a distinguished chemist following his time at Queen’s University.

Click to play video 'Queen’s remembers Dr. Alfred Bader' Queen’s remembers Dr. Alfred Bader
Queen’s remembers Dr. Alfred Bader

“He believed that — it’s true of course — that it completely changed his life, he was welcomed, when he was released from what had been a prisoner of war camp when other universities would not take him,” said Isabel Bader, advisor to Bader Philanthropies and the late Alfred’s wife.

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The Bader family has been a frequent Queen’s University benefactor, and in fact donated to the art centre’s last expansion in 2000.

When it comes to revamping the centre, much work still needs to be done including visioning exercises and designing the new buidling, but Queen’s has set an ambitious goal of completing the rejuvenation at some point in 2024.

— With files from Global News’ Darryn Davis.