Scotiabank’s artistic partnership

The bank teams up with the National Gallery of Canada for the largest donation in its history.

Scotiabank has partnered with the National Gallery of Canada to create the Canadian Photography Institute following what both organizations are calling a “historic” donation.

The Institute, housed within the Ottawa gallery, will provide education, research opportunities and a prestigious exhibition space dedicated to the art of photography. The Institute will also expand on its existing collections of photography, in part thanks to contributions from David Thomson, chairman of the Thomson Reuters Corporation. Thomson, already a patron of the gallery, will have donated over 12,000 photos, books and other related items from his own collection to the gallery by the end of the year in the hopes it will attract further donations and support.

Also as a result of the donation, the National Gallery’s Great Hall will now be known as the Scotiabank Great Hall.

The bank says the $10 million donation, the largest the gallery has ever received from a single financial corporate donor, is also the largest donation Scotiabank has made in its history. Scotiabank has previously said its donations to community events in the GTA alone in 2014 were over $25 million.

The news of the partnership comes after it was announced earlier this fall that Scotiabank would no longer be partnering with several GTA events, including Nuit Blanche, Toronto Caribbean Carnival and Buskerfest.

Scotiabank has maintained a number of other high-profile arts and culture sponsorships, namely the Scotiabank Giller Prize – one of the biggest literary awards in the country – the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and the Hot Docs film festival. Outside of the arts, the bank also has a robust sports sponsorship pillar with hockey teams at all levels, including the NHL.

John Doig, SVP and CMO at Scotiabank, says the decisions to exit its other partnerships, many of which were made close to the beginning of the year, are unrelated to this new venture. Instead, it’s more of an effort to connect the gallery’s status as an icon and institution with the bank’s overall support of photography, which Doig calls the key component of its arts sponsorships. Since it first hosted its own photography exhibition at its head offices in the early 2000s, Scotiabank has been keen on supporting photography, becoming the title sponsor for the Scotiabank Contact Photography Festival and establishing the Scotiabank Photography Award in 2011.

In addition to a commitment to photography, Doig says the new partnership aligns with its broader goals when it comes to art sponsorships, namely bringing arts and culture to the communities it operates in and celebrating Canada’s role within that.

Image courtesy meunierd/Shutterstock