In 1987, Jack and Doris Shadbolt established VIVA, a foundation granting awards to individual mid-career visual artists of demonstrated commitment and creative potential. Recipients are chosen by a panel drawn from the arts community.
Jack Shadbolt was a respected and loved artist, teacher and benefactor who made an outstanding contribution to the arts in Canada and particularly in British Columbia. He was born in England in 1909 and came to Canada with his parents in 1912. From 1928 to 1937, he taught in high schools in Duncan and Vancouver, B.C. while attending night classes under Frederick Varley at the Vancouver School of Art (V.S.A.). In 1938, he began teaching at the V.S.A. and was the Head of Painting and Drawing Section until 1966. During this time he also spent two years in the Canadian Army, all the while documenting his experience through sketches, followed by a year in study at the Art Student’s League in New York. Shadbolt wrote and published three books: In Search of Form, Mind’s I, and Act of Art.
Jack received the Guggenheim Award in 1957, the Molson Prize in 1977, and Gershon Iskowitz Award in 1990. He was awarded Honorary Degrees from four universities, and the Order of Canada. In 1989, he was made Freeman of the City of Vancouver. Shadbolt represented Canada in international exhibitions around the world, and exhibited in all major public galleries across Canada for 60 years. His works are represented in all major galleries across Canada, including the National Gallery of Canada, and in many private and corporate collections. During his lifetime Bau-Xi Gallery represented Shadbolt with 44 solo exhibitions in its Vancouver and Toronto locations since 1970. Jack Shadbolt died in 1998.
Doris Shadbolt was a Canadian art curator, writer and co-ordinator of exhibitions. Born in 1918 in Preston, Ontario, she received a Bachelor of Arts degree in fine arts from the University of Toronto in 1941. She had positions at the Art Gallery of Ontario (1942-1943), the National Gallery of Canada (1943-1945) and the Metropolitan Museum of Art (1948-1949). In 1950, she moved to Vancouver, British Columbia. In 1975, she wrote The Art of Emily Carr and Bill Reid in 1986. She married artist Jack Shadbolt in 1945. In 1973, she was made an Officer of the Order of Canada.
She joined the Vancouver Art Gallery in 1950 and for 25 years dedicated herself to its welfare. As Director of Education. then Curator, Senior Curator and Associate Director, Doris Shadbolt played an influential role in its development as a major gallery and meeting place for avant-garde artists, musicians, and writers of the sixties and early seventies. Her lifelong interest in Canadian art, and Northwest Coast art in particular, resulted in several groundbreaking exhibitions, including the Arts of the Raven, the first major exhibition of Native art in an aesthetic rather than anthropological context. Many more triumphs quickly followed, among them the Emily Carr: A Centennial Exhibition and The Art of Bill Reid. Always alert to the new, she curated several important exhibitions of modem art, including New York 13. Doris Shadbolt died in 2003.