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Party photos of the week: Donald R. Sobey Family Gallery opening and The Salah Bachir show

Opening of the Donald R. Sobey Family Gallery at the National Gallery, Ottawa

In any leading museum today you would be hard-pressed to find a door handle, step on a staircase or support beam that doesn’t feature the name of an established family or leader of industry and finance. Naming rights have become a necessary aspect of philanthropy, and it’s this private sector support that maintains prized artworks and keeps exciting exhibitions on the horizon for the public to enjoy. The exception until now has been the National Gallery, which has dodged the often politically charged, ego-filled naming rights game.

Recently, a generous gift of $2-million from the Donald R. Sobey Family Foundation was announced in Ottawa and, to mark the occasion, the National Gallery of Canada Foundation is breaking tradition: For the first-time ever, it has named a major space in the gallery after a donor family. The gift will establish the Canadian Artists in Venice Endowment, providing financial backing for Canadian artists at the Venice Biennale, the iconic international biennial art exhibition in Italy where in 2013 Shary Boyle’s Music For Silence represented Canada and, this year, the Quebec City based artist-collective BGL is set to appear.

The National Gallery and Sobey expect this latest gift to inspire other philanthropists to give as well, in hopes of raising $15-million for the endowment in the coming years. “We loved the idea of partnering with other philanthropists from across the country to establish sustainable support for Canada in Venice. Our sincere hope is that this endowment will enhance the National Gallery’s operational capacity of the Canadian Pavillion and, in so doing, will have a transformative impact on the place of Canadian artists in the international art community,” Sobey said at the ribbon cutting, which was held February 24 in Ottawa.

Among those out to witness this historic moment for our gallery of note: National Gallery director and CEO Marc Mayer, National Gallery of Canada Foundation chair and former president of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives Thomas d’Aquino, CEO Peters & Co. Equities Inc. and National Gallery chair Michael Tims, Harriet Walker, president of the firm Harriet Walker & Affiliates and vice-chair of the National Gallery of Canada, the National Gallery’s senior curator of contemporary art Josée Drouin-Brisebois, Karen Colby-Stothart, CEO of the National Gallery of Canada Foundation and Rob Sobey.

(Photos by Andrew Van Beek)

Donald Sobey, right, and Rob Sobey overlooking the Donald R. Sobey Family Gallery.

From left: Donald Sobey, National Gallery of Canada Foundation chair Thomas d’Aquino and Michael Tims, chair of the National Gallery of Canada.

The Salah Bachir show, an evening to benefit the new Bachir Yerex Family Dialysis Centre at St. Joseph’s Health Centre, at the Ritz Carlton ballroom, Toronto

Recently in Toronto, uber-philanthropist Salah Bachir, president of Cineplex Media (known as “Gala Salah” by night for his role in countless extravagant fundraisers) welcomed a bevy of well-heeled guests to The Salah Bachir show, an evening to benefit the new Bachir Yerex Family Dialysis Centre at St. Joseph’s Health Centre in Toronto.

The Ritz Carlton ballroom was transformed into an Ed Sullivan-variety– style spectacle featuring The Toronto All-Star Big Band and a roster of familiar musical and comedic talent from across the country, including Billy Newton-Davis, musical theatre doyenne Louise Pitre (who revived her admired role as Edith Piaf for the occasion), Parachute Club member Lorraine Segato, comic Gavin Crawford and gospel/jazz/blues legend Jackie Richardson, who encouraged gala-goers to join in with her rendition of Jeannie Cheatham’s cheeky track Meet Me With Your Black Drawers On.

Among those out to raise funds for the state-of-the-art addition to the current Dialysis Unit at St. Joseph’s: Chris Bratty, president of land development and investments at Remington Group and his wife, Tamara, St. Joseph’s Health Centre president and CEO Elizabeth Buller and board chair Larry Chapman, decorators Margie Doyle White and Glenn Dixon, fashion designers Mark Belford, Chris Tyrell and Jim Searle, fashion plate Sylvia Mantella (in a red velvet suit by Pucci), Trivial Pursuit co-founder John Haney and his wife, author Velvet, plus Wade Oosterman, president of Bell Mobility and Bell residential services and his wife, Wendy Adams.

(Photos by George Pimentel)

Sylvia Mantella

John and Velvet Haney

Arlene Dickinson

Salah Bachir, Jackie Richardson and Kate Alexander Daniels

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