It keeps growing, and growing, and growing. At first, the Audain Art Museum, a gift to the Whistler community by Canadian real estate developer, philanthropist and art collector Michael Audain, was proposed to be around 25,000 square feet. Then it grew to 40,000. And now Audain, fearful that the gallery would outgrow that space "within a decade," has added another wing to the end of the building, bringing the proposed total square footage to a neat 56,000 square feet.
According to Pique, Audain doesn't think 40,000 square feet is enough room to accommodate both his massive personal collection, which includes lots of Canadian and First Nation art, as well as future traveling exhibits, and that it'd be better to blow the museum up now than build it out down the line. The permanent gallery will be about 14,000 square feet, with another 6,000 square feet available for the traveling exhibits. There will also be a tea room designed by Audain's wife. The museum will be the largest in British Columbia outside of the Vancouver Art Gallery (which also houses part of Audain's collection), is expected to cost the Audain family about $30 million to build (with a free 199-lease from the town), and is expected to be completed in 2015 once ground is broken this summer. The new addition will require some new permitting approvals, but by all accounts, Whistler is down for the cause.