The Print House chain duo of Earl and Janice O’Born is known for their philanthropy in the Arts and Sciences and Saturday it was made official that the couple has pledged $10-million to the Ottawa’s National Arts Centre. In 2016, the couple donated $1.5M to the Centre, “inspired by the NAC’s focus on investing in Canadian creators,” a news release said at the time.
The latest pledge is “the largest single gift to the NAC that will help sustain artistic excellence at the NAC as it celebrates 50 years of producing and presenting the best in the performing arts in Canada,” stated officials at the building that received federal funding approval from the Lester B. Pearson government as part of the country’s centenary at a cost of $46M. In 2014, the Harper government approved a $110M facelift that was completed in time for Canada’s 150th anniversary, on July 1, 2017.
“We believe that Canadian performing artists are among the best in the world. We are honoured to be able to make this gift to invest in the NAC and all performing artists,” NAC Foundation Board Chair Mrs. O’Born said in an official statement, adding that “the NAC is the national leader in supporting, developing and featuring excellence in the performing arts in Canada."
That same Saturday, the NAC was host to a big-ticket golden anniversary gala that attracted a sold-out audience, glammed up, as described by Postmedia scribe Lynn Saxberg, “in tuxedos, gowns of all lengths and what appears to be the latest trend in formal wear for women, jumpsuits.”
The first half of the gala, as described by Saxberg, offered a timeline of some of the most memorable performances of the past 50 years, projecting the event poster on a big screen as a character from the show took a bow.
Saxberg added that the second half of the night belonged to Sarah McLachlan, “who kept things lively between songs with her commentary on songwriting, relationships, parenting teenagers and the vital role that music has played in her life.”
The concert capped off an elegant multidisciplinary night of music, dance and theatre designed to celebrate the National Arts Centre’s 50th anniversary and raise money for the institution’s National Youth and Education Trust, which supports youth and education programming across the country. About $765,000 was raised from the event, Saxberg reported.
Noteworthy is the Slaight Music Saturdays Series that monthly showcases "emerging Canadian" talent on the Centre's Fourth Stage. Slaight Music is the principal financial backer of FYIMusicNews.