SFU receives significant gift to establish new arts and culture facility

November 24, 2018

Simon Fraser University has received a significant gift from the Marianne and Edward Gibson Trust and family to establish an SFU art museum, a 12,000-square-foot dynamic new arts and cultural facility at its Burnaby campus.

The SFU art museum will be a teaching museum, creating interdisciplinary learning and research opportunities for SFU students as well as offering important exhibitions, community outreach and partnership with other institutions and organizations.

“This new facility will be an exciting addition to the Burnaby campus and will enrich the cultural landscape of Metro Vancouver,” says SFU president Andrew Petter. “This visionary gift from the Marianne and Edward Gibson Trust and family will enable students, scholars and the public to gain an appreciation and understanding of modern and contemporary art, while enabling SFU to extend its commitment to be Canada’s engaged university.”

The SFU art museum will illustrate the cultural diversity of British Columbia and beyond. The museum will allow the SFU Art Collection to expand and will increase the SFU Galleries’ reach through progressive exhibitions and engaged public programming.

The late Edward Gibson joined the university as a charter faculty member in 1965 and later became director of the SFU Gallery from 1986 until his retirement in 1997. Gibson and his wife, Marianne, have been true patrons of both the arts and education. Under Gibson’s direction, collectors from across Canada donated large canvases that were installed throughout the university. Gibson authored a report that advocated developing an art museum, which planted the seed for his legacy today.

“Edward had a great passion in his teaching, research and life for a sense of place intersected with design and style,” says Walter Gibson, son of Marianne and Edward Gibson. “The art museum represents the culmination of his vision for arts both at SFU and within the Canadian landscape.”

The SFU art museum is slated for completion by 2022. As an important addition to the university, it will engage and benefit SFU students and the communities SFU serves.


  • The SFU art museum will feature a 12,000-square-foot facility with iconic architecture in UniverCity, a sustainable community located on top of Burnaby Mountain adjacent to SFU.
  • The SFU Art Collection includes more than 5,500 works of art. Approximately 1,000 pieces are displayed year-round on SFU campuses.
  • During Gibson’s tenure, the collection’s value rose from $387K to $2.5M.
  • Gibson also held the following positions while he was at SFU: director, Teck Gallery, associate geography professor and associate of the School for Contemporary Arts and of the Natural Resources Management Program.
  • The project is an excellent example of an academic land partnership that will develop a space for art, education and outreach.