Mount Allison University is pleased to announce a major gift from the family of the late Canadian artist Alex Colville — the donation of the artist’s studio, to be permanently housed at Colville House on the University campus.
The gift of the artist’s studio, including his paints, brushes, easels, work tables, and other studio materials, rounds out an extraordinary and unique set of resources at Mount Allison University on the life, work, and legacy of one of Canada's best-known artists.
“Seen together, these resources explore the ideas and contribution of Alex Colville as an internationally-recognized artist,” says Gemey Kelly, director-curator of the Owens Art Gallery at Mount Allison University. “They also provide new opportunities for inquiry into the themes of place, home, and the human condition that absorbed Colville over a lifetime of art making.”
The gift was announced during the official opening of The Colville Gallery at the Owens Art Gallery on Sunday, Oct. 2. The studio will open on July 1, 2017.
“This is a unique and consequential gift,” says Mount Allison President and Vice-Chancellor Dr. Robert Campbell. “Visitors, admirers of Colville’s work, and those who wish to make a study of it, will be able to come to Mount Allison, step into his studio, visit his home, view his pieces, and literally walk in his footsteps around the community. We deeply appreciate the Colville family’s extraordinary and thoughtful contribution.”
The Government of Canada is also supporting the project with a $98,700 grant through the Canada 150 Fund. The grant will support the installation of the studio in Colville House and provide funds for the development of a Colville website, as well as education and community outreach programs on Colville’s life and work. The grant was announced by The Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, Member of Parliament for Beauséjour and Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard.
Alex Colville lived in in Sackville, New Brunswick for more than 30 years as a student and a teacher at Mount Allison University, and then as a full-time artist. The house where Colville and his family lived from 1949 to 1973 — Colville House — is on the University campus and is now open to the public during the summer months.
Mount Allison University also owns the only two extant murals Alex Colville completed during his lifetime. The Owens Art Gallery holds over 200 of his artworks, many of them donated over the years by the artist and the Colville family, including the complete set of his serigraphs and all the preparatory drawings for both murals. The Owens Art Gallery has also dedicated one of its spaces as The Colville Gallery, which will provide year-round access to Colville artwork, including his newly restored mural Athletes.
Ann Kitz, daughter of the late Alex Colville
From left, with Colville's mural Athletes, are Gemey Kelly, director-curator of the Owens; Mount Allison President and Vice-Chancellor, Dr. Robert Campbell; Ann Kitz, daughter of Alex Colville; celebrated Canadian artist Christopher Pratt ('57); and Fine Arts Department Head Thaddeus Holownia