Framed paintings line a wall of the Audain Art Museum.

If you’ve been to Whistler in the last three years, you’ve witnessed the space between parking lots 4 and 3 slowly transform into a beautiful building. That mysterious structure is the Audain Art Museum and it’s about it open! We were able to sneak inside for a media tour and info session and we want to spill the beans!

Grand Opening Details

The public opening is on March 12th, 2016. You can pre-purchase tickets online from Tourism Whistler. The museum is going to keep crowds to a minimum to ensure an enjoyable experience for all with a pre-set maximum capacity. By pre-purchasing your ticket you will be assigned a time slot to view the museum so you can avoid waiting in line all together! Adult tickets are $18 and those sixteen and under are free.

The Audain permanent collection contains one of the world’s finest collections of Northwest Coast First Nations masks.

Environmentally Conscious Architecture

The museum is nestled into the surrounding forest and neatly camouflages into the space. John Patkau, the architect for the Audain Art Museum humbly stated that it is a “simple building” (an understatement if you ask me!) built in beautiful and complex terrain. Amazingly enough, the project only required the removal of one tree. Its environmentally conscious placement and design is elevated above the forest’s natural floor, which serves as the Fitzsimons Creek flood plain, making as minimalistic of a footprint as possible. At night, the Audain Art Museum intentionally looks like a large lantern lighting up the forest.

The stunning architecture of the Audain Art Museum.

The Audain Art Museum – A gift to Whistler

Mayor Nancy Wilhelm-Morden thanks Michael Audain for bringing “this magnificent museum to Whistler.” Ian M. Thom, a senior curator at the Vancouver Art Gallery also stated that it is an “extraordinary gift to the people of Whistler and Canada.”

We think they are spot on. It’s an incredible space inside and out and hosts a collection that shows “who we are on the west coast as people,” according to Michael Audain. Audain also mentioned that he was “delighted to see the public coming through in the next couple of days” and especially excited to see children’s reaction to the art as he hopes to educate and inspire them through the pieces in the collection.

Michael Audain speaking at the museum press conference.

There are currently 183 pieces of art on display at the Audain Art Museum. The permanent art on display is all by BC artists. The current featured art collection is from Michael Audain’s personal collection featuring the “Mexican Modernists,” but we don’t want to give away all the details, go see it for yourself!

Abby Cooper

A lover of all things outdoors, Abby Cooper is a splitboarder, hiker, adventurer, year-round snow seeker, photographer and writer.