Whistler’s Audain Art Museum

by Amanda Pataky

Whistler’s Audain Art Museum holds a spectacular collection of British Columbian artwork including paintings by Emily Carr and works by Indigenous artists.

Audain Art Museum in Whistler

The Audain Art Museum is a 56,000 square-foot museum located in Whistler. It houses Michael Audain’s private art collection which includes pieces ranging from early people’s art to modern works. Mr. Audain is a BC-based businessman connected with Polygon Homes Ltd. which is a large home construction company.

The museum’s unique architecture allows it to stand out from the natural forest surrounding it. The building is very modern and angular, but practical, with its triangular shape helping to combat Whistler’s large annual snowfall. Both the building itself and the art inside are impressive.

Where is the Audain Museum?

The museum can be found at 4350 Blackcomb Way near the centre of Whistler. It is located near the Whistler Olympic Plaza in the North Village across the street from parking lots #3 and #4.

Admission and Hours

The Audain Art Museum is open Thursday to Sunday from 11:00 am until 6:00 pm. Hours may vary on statutory holidays, so check the official website for full details. The museum is closed from Monday to Wednesday.

Costs for admission to the Museum are listed below. Note: Prices do not include taxes and are subject to change.

  • Adult (ages 26 to 64): $20
  • Senior (ages 65+): $18
  • Young Adult (ages 19 to 25): $10
  • Youth & Children (ages 18 and under): Free
  • Members: Free
  • Guests of Members: 10% off

Audain Art Gallery

What to Expect

The museum’s art is displayed in a striking, beautiful and very modern West Coast-style building. The architecture itself is stunning (which makes sense for an art museum founded by the owner of a construction company). Expect to see large windows and wood walls in the entrance hallway. The gallery rooms are large and spacious. The wide variety of art on display is impressive. Most of the permanent collection is of paintings, but there are also wood carvings, a few sculptures and some photographic art.

When you enter the museum you’ll see the ticket counter and the gift shop. After paying for your admission you’ll need to put any large bags in a locker. Backpacks of any kind are not permitted. There is also a coat check area, which is nice, especially when it’s cold outside but warm in the museum.

The following video should give you a good idea of what to expect during your visit. There are lots of pieces to admire at the Audain Art Museum!

 

Collections and Artwork

The Audain Art Museum houses a permanent collection of BC artwork. The permanent collection includes 19th century Northwest coast masks, a number of Emily Carr paintings and works by other notable artists including E.J. Hughes, Gordon Smith and Jack Shadbolt.

In addition to the museum’s permanent collection, up to three special exhibitions are displayed throughout the year. These exhibitions are either produced in-house or loaned from other museums. They also encompass a wide variety of art forms. For example, past exhibitions have included additional Emily Carr paintings, Australian Aboriginal art and photographs from Edward Burtynsky.

In the summer of 2020 the special exhibition at the Audain Art Museum was “The Extended Moment: Fifty Years of Collecting Photographs”. It included a variety of photographs from the 19th century until present day from artists in Europe, Asia, America and Canada.

 

 

Other Information

For further details visit the Audain Art Museum website.

A related museum in the Lower Mainland is the Polygon Gallery. Located in North Vancouver, its focus is primarily on photography. A much larger but unrelated art museum is the Vancouver Art Gallery.

The Audain Museum contains a fair amount of First Nations art. To see more Indigenous art, and to learn about the area’s local Indigenous people, be sure to also check out the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre. It’s just a 15-minute walk away (in Whistler’s Upper Village).

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