On March 12, 2016, Canada’s newest art museum, the Audain Art Museum, opened in Whistler, BC. A building like no other, The Audain Museum transports you from the iconic ski town into a surreal space of ‘modern-forest’. The spectacular 5,203 m2 (56,000 sq ft) building was designed by Patkau Architects with the intention that, “The museum will be quietly inserted into a void within the forest,” explains architect John Patkau.

The walkway leading to the Audain Art Museum in Whistler A look at the modern architecture of the Audain Art Museum in Whistler. Photo: Caley VanularA long, narrow hallway in the Audain Art Museum in Whistler. Photo: Caley VanularA mask in the Audain Art Museum in Whistler. Photo: Caley Vanular

This objective is completely achieved with the build. The windows inside only expose forest and mountains, engulfing you in a quite and crisp atmosphere, ensuring you feel like you are outside of reality. Take some time and wander down the long hallways to experience the open rooms and flow throughout the museum with ease.

Admiring the art in the Audain Art Museum in Whistler. Photo: Caley VanularThe open spaces of the Audain Art Museum in Whistler. Photo: Caley VanularExploring art on the walls of the Audain Art Museum in Whistler. Photo: Caley Vanular

Explore the endless amounts of iconic art, as Canada’s newest ‘Class A’ art museum houses a large portion of the personal art collection that Michael Audain and his wife Yoshiko Karasawa have amassed over the past 40 years. This astonishing Northwest Coast art collection is on permanent display at the museum, while a temporary exhibition wing hosts a rotation of exhibitions featuring Canadian and international art.

A quaint sitting area in the Audain Art Museum in Whistler. Photo: Caley Vanular

If you are headed to the museum for the opening exhibition, plan on experiencing the art of BC through everything from traditional First Nations pieces, to the work of contemporary masters including Emily Carr, E.J. Hughes, Stan Douglas, Rodney Graham, Jeff Wall and Ian Wallace. While you are visiting, be sure not to miss the temporary collection of Mexican Modernist works by Diego Rivera, David Alfaro Siqueiros and José Clemente Orozco, known as Los Trés Grandes. Combined, the exhibitions create a unique cultural and education experience.

Emily Carr (1871-1945) The Crazy Stair (The Crooked Staircase), c. 1928-30 Oil on canvas 110.2 x 65.7 cm Audain Art Museum Collection, 2013.014. Photo courtesy of Heffel.com

The exterior of the Audain Art Museum in Whistler. Photo: Caley Vanular

Quick Facts about the Audain Art Museum:

  • Open from 10 am to 5 pm, six days a week. Closed on Tuesdays
  • 5,203 sq m (56,000 sq ft) building designed by Patkau Architects
  • One of Western Canada’s largest museums
  • Class A Art Museum
  • Home to Emily Carr’s 1928 painting The Crazy Stair, worth $3,393,000 (the highest paid dollar amount for a work by a Canadian woman artist and the fourth most expensive work of art at an art auction in Canada)
  • Endowment fund is $7.5 million, to-date, with the aim of it eventually reaching $25 million

How to Get There:

The Audain Art Museum is located at 4350 Blackcomb Way in Whistler. Parking is available in the day lots. For directions to the museum, click here.

To learn more about the Audain Art Museum, visit their website at www.audainartmuseum.com.

Related links:
Arts, Culture and History in Whistler, British Columbia

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