Saskatoon entrepreneur and philanthropist Ellen Remai is Remai Modern’s lead patron. We are extremely grateful for her vision and her legendary generosity.
Since 2011, Remai has pledged $103 million to Remai Modern. The contribution is one of the largest donations to the arts in Canadian history.
On the eve of Remai Modern’s grand opening in October 2017, Remai announced two significant new gifts to ensure the museum’s successful future. The funds from the Frank and Ellen Remai Foundation include $1 million a year for the next 25 years to support art purchases. The foundation will also match eligible donations up to $1 million a year for 25 years.
“We value the arts for enriching our lives, and strengthening our sense of community. In planning for the matching donation, my hope is to get more people involved in the artistic community than otherwise would be,” she said. “I believe we all need to do more to support and celebrate the arts.”
Remai’s first gift to Remai Modern came before any sod was turned at its River Landing site, and before the space was named in her honour after a unanimous vote by Saskatoon City Council. Her unprecedented pledge of $31 million provided $16 million toward construction and $15 million — $500,000 a year for 30 years — to support international exhibitions programs.
The Frank and Ellen Remai Foundation also donated 405 linocuts by Pablo Picasso to Remai Modern in 2012. It is the most comprehensive collection of its kind in the world.
Remai’s explanation of the gift was simple and sincere. “A great city deserves great art,” she said.