Riverbank receives major donation for Sawatzky Garden project

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Brandon Riverbank received a major boost in the form of a $100,000 donation from the family of the late Keay Dobson-Golletz, which will go towards the Sawatzky Sculpture Gardens.

The new year will see placement of the first life-size bronze sculpture works of Manitoba born and world-renowned artist, Peter Sawatzky. Riverbank is already home to two of Mr. Sawatzky’s pieces, the “Tranquility” Blue Herons as well as the “Doe and Fawn.” The ultimate goal is to add 14 more pieces that will stretch in a park-like setting from the Riverbank Discovery Centre to the corner of 18th Street and Kirkcaldy Drive.

Peter Sawatzky Sculpture Garden Project | Riverbank Discovery Centre Keay was extremely passionate about the possibility of a world-class sculpture garden being located in our city and on the Riverbank grounds. She made it her mission to make these sculptures a reality and she involved herself early on during the initial planning stages. Keay worked tirelessly for this project as a fundraiser, as a design consultant, as a grant writer and as an advocate to all levels of government. She was actively involved in this project right up until her passing in May of this year.

“Keay worked with the Riverbank Discovery Centre board for a decade before she collaborated within a committee on the world class project of the Peter Sawatzky Sculpture Park,” said Richard Golletz. “The project represents a beautiful commitment to nature and animals, a sharing space for families to stay active, play and learn, and a way to give back to a city that had given our family so much. The sculpture park will provide our city with an exquisite artistic statement to be enjoyed for generations. It is my honor to provide funds for the project in memory of Keay.”

“The idea of the Peter Sawatzky Sculpture Garden encapsulated much of what our friend Keay represented,” said Brandon Mayor Jeff Fawcett. “It is art in a language everyone understands, it is outside, it is in a natural greenspace setting, and most important, it is of no cost to anyone to enjoy, any time of year, any time of day. This contribution from Richard connects Keay to the city, and the outdoors that she loved, for perpetuity. Thank you for sharing this with our community.”

“It was shortly after the announcement of the Peter Sawatzky Sculpture Garden at the Riverbank Discovery Centre in Brandon that I first met Keay”, said Peter Sawatzky. “Her enthusiasm for this sculpture garden was incredible. I’ve never met anyone who dedicated themselves so wholly to a project like this. Keay worked hard and tirelessly to promote this project and she was a joy to work with. Her knowledge and insights into the design of the garden were extremely helpful in creating the final layout. When this garden is finally complete, I will look back and say that without the work of Keay Dobson-Golletz, this
sculpture garden might not have been completed. I honour her STRENGTH and DEDICATION.”

Landscape planning is currently underway for the gardens and the placement of the first pieces will occur in 2024. Riverbank staff and the Peter Sawatzky Sculpture Gardens team will work closely with the Golletz family to ensure that Keay’s contributions will be recognized as a permanent part of the sculptures park.