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The Art Gallery of Nova Scotia Announces Major Gifts to Its Collection and Programming Sponsorship from BMO Financial Group

- AGNS adds major installation by Attila Richard Lukacs and video art from Tom Sherman to permanent collection

- BMO Free Access Thursday Nights Widens Audience

HALIFAX, NOVA SCOTIA--(Marketwire - March 19, 2012) - The Art Gallery of Nova Scotia (AGNS) is delighted to announce a series of major gifts and a programming sponsorship from BMO Financial Group. BMO will be gifting a major installation by artist Attila Richard Lukacs, as well as a collection of video art representing a career retrospective from artist Tom Sherman to the AGNS collection.

BMO has also announced its financial support for Free Public Access on Thursday Nights, making it the first corporate partner to support this important program in its eight year history.

Bill Downe, President and Chief Executive Officer, BMO Financial Group, announced the gifts and sponsorship at a reception in Halifax celebrating the holding of the company's annual meeting in the city. This gift, totalling in excess of $150,000, represents the largest one-day contribution to the AGNS since its capital campaign began in 1998.

"The AGNS is thrilled to see these works by two of Canada's leading contemporary artists enter the Collection. Attila Lukacs is one of the most important Canadian painters of his generation and we are delighted to be the first major art museum in Canada to receive a large scale installation from his new body of abstract work," said Ray Cronin, Director & CEO of the AGNS. "Tom Sherman is a long-term resident of the South Shore of Nova Scotia, whose work reflects on and documents that region. A career retrospective of his most important work fills a major gap in our collection. On behalf of the Gallery and its staff I would like to thank BMO for these incredible contributions to the people of Nova Scotia's collection."

"Nova Scotians have given us so much over the decades, and all of us at BMO have looked forward to this opportunity to give back to the people of the province with this historic gift," said Bill Downe, President and Chief Executive Officer of BMO Financial Group. "Nova Scotians will have the opportunity to experience these important works from renowned contemporary Canadian artists."

"BMO Financial Group has long been a leader in Nova Scotia, and across Canada, not just because of its significant contributions to the economy but for its work to improve the communities of which it is a part of," said Nova Scotia Premier Darrell Dexter. "The gifts and support for the Art Gallery announced today are yet another example of that. I want to thank the company for this generous donation that will enrich the arts and culture of our province, and help make them more accessible for all Nova Scotians."

"We are very pleased to ensure the ongoing success of Free Access Thursday Nights," said Steve Murphy, Senior Vice-President, Atlantic Provinces Division, BMO Bank of Montreal. "The AGNS is one of Atlantic Canada's jewels and we encourage Canadians from coast to coast to coast to come visit Nova Scotia and the AGNS this summer."

"On behalf of the Board of Governors of the AGNS, I would like to express our sincere gratitude to BMO Financial Group for supporting us in bringing exhibitions and programming to as wide an audience as possible," said Mark Bursey, Chair of the Board of Governors of the AGNS. "BMO Free Access Thursday Nights will enable the Gallery to continue to provide free access and educational programs to the public at large as well as to under-serviced community organizations from across Nova Scotia."

For further information:
For further information and images contact:
Art Gallery of Nova Scotia
Bernard Doucet, Director of Advancement
Cell 902.223.7246 or Office 902.424.0073

BMO Financial Group
Paul Deegan