The Audain Art Museum has officially been incorporated as a registered non-profit as part of efforts to establish the cultural facility in Whistler.
At the same time municipal officials are working on efforts in the resort to address land-related issues as part of the process to officially establish a public art museum near the Village.
Mayor Nancy Wilhelm-Morden said while only a month has passed since the Audain Art Museum project was officially proposed, both parties are hard at work.
“There is a whole list of tasks that we here in municipal hall have and they are almost exclusively related to the land itself,” she said. “Mr. (Michael) Audain and his team are working on the whole issue of the organization, which will hold the land.”
The proposed site is located between Day Lots 3 and 4 and is part of a larger parcel. The municipality, said the mayor, still has to review the size and value of the parcel, how it will be transferred to the museum and the issues of flood proofing.
She said because the site is located in the flood plain that issue will have to be addressed likely by relocate the dyke in the area. She added preliminary work was done leading up to the Olympics that will be applicable to this process.
Wilhelm-Morden said the market value of the land parcel has not yet been determined or whether it will be leased or sold to the museum.
But as for a public consultation process, she said because the site will require rezoning there will be a public hearing.
“There will obviously be public consultation through the rezoning process,” she said, adding the design review panel process also includes the public for the design of the building.
The mayor reiterated the proposed museum would be a huge draw for the destination and feature Audain’s significant art collection, which has “absolutely outstanding pieces of art.”
“This is a marvelous opportunity for Whistler and I think I described it when we made the announcement as a game changer for Whistler,” Wilhelm-Morden said. “For those of us who live here the opportunity to have our very own public art gallery, for a community our size, is really quite exceptional.
“It was something that was kind of on my dream wish list and for this opportunity to walk in the door so to speak at this time in our history is just outstanding.”
Audain Foundation board member Jim Moodie said establishing a museum is a huge undertaking and a lot of due diligence for both partners in the proposal is required.
“It has been a month since that announcement has been made and there has been a lot accomplished and a lot more to do,” Moodie said.
In addition to officially incorporating the Audain Art Museum, he said architects are being interviewed and efforts to establish a business plan are underway. Moodie added, that as a business man, Audain wants to ensure there is a business case to establish the museum in Whistler.
“It is one thing to build a facility and put art in the facility, but it is important to understand and have a business plan that shows people will come and see it,” he said. “At the end of the day I am hugely optimistic that this will result in an incredible facility for the community of Whistler.”