In one (or two) strokes of the pen to an oversized symbolic cheque, the Art Gallery of Lambton got what it needed most—a lead gift that took the collective breath away from those attending a special announcement Wednesday morning.
The project, which some might have said was in a state of uncertainty regarding its efforts to raise a total of $3.5 million from the community, is now $1.5 million closer to reaching that number, thanks to the generosity of Norman and Judith Alix.
Alix, who began his Steeplejack Services business in 1977 and has been an active philanthropist in the community for many years, put his wife Judith's name first when it came to securing naming rights for the Art Gallery project.
The announcement was made in the Gallery's temporary home adjacent to the food court at Bayside Centre in downtown Sarnia.
The Judith & Norman Alix Art Gallery now needs just $1 million of the total $9.1 million cost of construction.
The new building, which will preserve the façade of the Thom Building at the corner of Lochiel and Christina St. N., remains under construction but is expected to meet federal funding deadlines (or qualify for extensions), said outgoing Lambton County Warden Jim Burns, who Steve Arnold, the new warden, appointed as honourary fundraising chair.
Sylvia Foreman, who manages the local CAA office, is co-chairing the campaign.
Warden Arnold said the gift is humbling to all involved. "The Alix family has shown great vision and confidence in this important project. The entire community now, and long into the future, will certainly be appreciative of their generosity."