New art at the U of R

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Jacqui Schumiatcher donates her personal art collection to the U of R

[2A]Laura Billet

Such a nice lady / Laura Billett

More than 1,000 pieces of art will call the University of Regina, MacKenzie Art Gallery, and revitalized College Avenue Campus home.

Schumiatcher is a name known throughout the province for philanthropy that has sustained and invigorated the community. As a young girl, I remember seeing the Schumiatcher name around the city and wondering who these incredible people were who gave so much. Grown up, I understood how essential Jacqui and Morris Schumiatcher are to the community. They have given extensively over the years, making everything possible in the art world.

On Sept. 25, Jacqui Schumiatcher made another donation that will allow for the growth and celebration of artists in Saskatchewan for generations to come. She has given the University of Regina more than 1,000 pieces of her and her late husband’s personal art collection, valued at about 3 million dollars.

“It’s very heart-warming to see Jacqui Schumiatcher give this amount of work because this is her stuff, this is from her place, and she’s letting go of it for us,” Luanne Drake, URSU VP of Student Affairs says.

“I think we have an amazing Fine Arts program already. We pull students from across the country, and the ability to have access to stuff like this, both for the professors that want to teach about it, as well as for the students that will be inspired by a collection like this, the significance is enormous. I am tearing up because it’s so phenomenal. It’s such an act of generosity; it’s amazing,” says Devon Peters, URSU President.

Schumiatcher also teared up while speaking at the Press Release, but she says that she is only happy that the University is accepting her and her late husband’s art collection. It is the passion for the University that President Vianne Timmons and Schumiatcher share, as well as the fantastic relationship between the MacKenzie Art Gallery and the U of R that made up her mind.

“We are very, very happy with the University accepting the gift with enthusiasm, and [the] support of Vianne is really fantastic for us. It puts my mind at ease that the art will be looked well after…It’s not bittersweet at all,” Schumiatcher says.

When asked what her donations over the years really mean to her, Schumiatcher responded with humility:

“I’ve never thought of it that way. As a kid…if I had some candies, I would give them and I wouldn’t have any left for myself. That started way, way back, so I’ve never thought of it like that. I get involved with the emotional part of what they are trying do. The rewards are always to see the effects of what that donation is, whether it’s Osteoporosis or the students at the Universities of Saskatchewan [and] Regina.”

Schumiatcher went on to remember the first Sidewalk Art Gallery that she and her husband initiated, stating, “A lot people had never dared to go into a gallery because they said that they would be thought of as being stupid for knowing nothing about art, and that they would be expected to buy something. I said that’s not the way a gallery works; you can just go in and look, and that’s it. And, so, some of them became collectors and got involved. So that’s the thank you, the dividends. It really hit people. It was just fantastic.”

The Schumiatchers are responsible for the thriving art community that we have in Regina today, and Mrs. Schumiatcher has once again exceeded expectations and provided future students with incredible and beautiful art.

“She is a woman that I admire so much. Almost from the moment I became president, I felt her support. She often sends me hand-written notes,” says Timmons. “She is a woman of such integrity and warmth, and I am just in awe of her. I admire her totally.”

Part of the collection will be displayed permanently on the College Avenue Campus after its revitalization.

“As you walk down the halls, it will have glass cases with her art in it, and it will be beautiful; it will be like walking in an art gallery,” explains Timmons.

The rest of the art will be held at the MacKenzie Art Gallery and the main U of R campus. The MacKenzie Art Gallery will be holding an exhibit in the fall of 2015, showcasing the Inuit art and other select works from the Schumiatcher personal collection.

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