Art Gallery of Greater Victoria Receives $1.1M Donation From Art Collector, Philanthropist

Late Victoria art lover and philanthropist Rosita LeSueur Tovell has bequeathed $1.1 million to the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria (AGGV) to support the Gallery’s continuing exhibitions and programming. 

The bequest, announced on February 17, is the largest in the AGGV's history. Rosita was the wife of the late Freeman Massey Tovell, a Canadian diplomat, and was a passionate advocate of the visual arts, a discerning collector, and supporter of artists in many communities in which she lived. In Ottawa, she was a founder of the National Gallery Association and a member of the Board of Trustees of the National Museums of Canada. She made donations to the National Gallery and established a fund to purchase work by contemporary First Nations artists. Following the couple's move to Victoria in 1978, Rosita became involved with the AGGV as a member of the Board and a member of the Art Acquisition Committee. 

“My mother loved [the Gallery's] staff, its intimate size, and appreciated its efforts at contributing towards the life of Victoria," Rosita's daughter, Rosemarie Tovell said in a press release. "It was the perfect fit for her. Here at the AGGV Mum felt she could make – and indeed did make - a positive difference.”

Tovell passed away in 2014, and, as directed by her will, the bequest to the AGGV will be used for collections and exhibitions. “Rosita’s philanthropic leadership will allow us to develop incredible new exhibitions for the AGGV both now and in our new building,” said Jon Tupper, AGGV director. “We hope to reflect Rosita’s interests in South American art as well as British Columbia First Nations art as we develop the exhibitions and programming supported by her gift.” 

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