Michael Audain, Edmund C. Bovey Award, 2004

On June 21st the Chairman of Polygon Homes Ltd., Michael Audain, presented the Vancouver Art Gallery with an unprecedented $2 million gift to endow the position of Audain Curator of British Columbia Art. On June 22nd, The Council for Business and the Arts in Canada announced that Audain has been named the 2004 winner of the prestigious national Edmund C. Bovey Award for Leadership Support of the Arts.

“Michael Audain’s most recent gift aptly demonstrates the reason that he has been singled out for national recognition as the 14th winner of the Edmund C. Bovey Award,” said Sarah Iley, President and CEO of CBAC. “It tops a quarter of a century of giving and volunteering in support of BC’s visual arts – and exemplifies Michael Audain’s willingness to provide leadership.”

As Chairman of Polygon Homes Ltd., Michael Audain has built over 10,000 homes in Greater Vancouver and Seattle over the past 24 years. The respect of the business community has earned him the position of Chair of the Business Council of British Columbia. The respect of the arts community comes from his dedication as a donor and volunteer director. In addition to the endowment fund announced yesterday, he has given over $2 million to the arts in British Columbia, funding, in particular, exhibitions of painting and sculpture at public art galleries. This past spring he created the Audain Prize for the Visual Arts, an annual $25,000 award for lifetime achievement as a visual artist. He has also provided time and expertise as Chair of the Vancouver Art Gallery, and of its Foundation, as well as serving as a director of the Bill Reid Foundation.

The nomination by the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, seconded by CBAC Member Investors Group, impressed this year’s jury because of the broad range of organizations that Audain supports, and the number of ringing endorsements his candidacy received. “Michael’s level of personal commitment to the arts is clear”, said jury member Jake Kerr, C.M., Chairman and CEO of Riverside Forest Products.

Kerr was one of five judges appointed by CBAC to adjudicate the 2004 Edmund C. Bovey Award. Serving with him were Xerox Canada’s Maggie Schofield, who is Chair of Theatre Calgary; L’Opéra de Montréal Director General David Moss; Bernard Riordon, Director and CEO of the Beaverbrook Art Gallery, Fredericton; and the 2003 Edmund C. Bovey Award Winner, Jim Fleck, O.C., of Toronto.

The nominees for this year’s Edmund C. Bovey Award were an extraordinary group of philanthropic leaders. Nevertheless, Michael Audain rose quickly to the top as the obvious winner of the 2004 Award. He is the third arts philanthropist from British Columbia to win this prestigious national honour which has, to date, recognized the achievements of a baker’s dozen of outstanding Canadians.

The Edmund C. Bovey Award is unique: it honours individuals from the business community for outstanding support of the arts. In so doing, it underscores the mission of The Council for Business and the Arts in Canada (CBAC), which is to encourage increased private sector support of the organizations that create Canadian culture.
The annual prize consist of two parts: a specially-commissioned sculpture by the late William McElcheran as well as a $20,000 to direct from the Bovey Award fund to the arts organization(s) of his or her choice. The prize money is drawn from interest on a fund to which donations were made by 20 Award Founders in 1990, in tribute to Ed Bovey. The founding Chairman of CBAC, Bovey was an entrepreneurial business CEO, effective board volunteer and generous arts patron, who exemplified the qualities honoured by the award

The 2004 Edmund C. Bovey Award was presented to Mr. Audain by the CBAC at a special celebration held at the Vancouver Art Gallery on November 2nd.