Speaker

Suzanne Sauvage Suzanne Sauvage

President and Chief Executive Officer
McCord Stewart Museum

Suzanne Sauvage, President and Chief Executive Officer of the McCord Stewart Museum, has always had a passion for the arts and culture and this enthusiasm has informed and inspired her entire career.

With extensive experience in the field of communications, notably as President of Cossette Canada, she is a true cultural entrepreneur, bringing both management skills and vision to her work with the McCord Stewart Museum.

Under her leadership, the Museum has evolved from a well-kept secret into one of Montreal's most influential and dynamic museums. In 2013, she successfully carried out the merger with the Stewart Museum, thus creating one of the largest historical collections in the country and in Quebec, including an exceptional Indigenous Cultures collection. She also oversaw the merger with the Fashion Museum in 2017.

Since her arrival in 2010, the McCord Stewart Museum has quadrupled its attendance and now attracts a younger clientele. It has hosted a number of major international exhibitions that have attracted tens of thousands of visitors, such as From Philadelphia to Monaco: Grace Kelly – Beyond the Icon, Horst: Photographer of Style, Eleganza: Italian Fashion From 1945 to Today, Balenciaga: Master of Couture, and Shame and Prejudice: A Story of Resilience by Kent Monkman, the preeminent Indigenous artist. It has also organized exhibitions from its own collection, such as Notman, A Visionary Photographer and Illusions: The Art of Magic, which are touring museums across the country.

The Museum’s educational mission is another of Suzanne Sauvage's priorities. Its educational programs are welcoming more school groups than ever before from all social and cultural backgrounds so they may understand their city and its history and become engaged citizens, open to the world.

Understanding the importance of inclusion, especially in a city like Montreal, she has implemented programs for new immigrants to help them learn about their adopted city as well as give them an opportunity to share their own culture and stories with other Montrealers.

With the help of the McCord Stewart Museum's exceptional Indigenous Cultures collection, Suzanne Sauvage has sought to involve the institution in the process of reconciliation with Aboriginal communities, as recommended by the Canadian government’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission. In this spirit, the Museum gives First Peoples a voice and presents exhibitions that shine a spotlight on their cultures. It also invites contemporary Indigenous artists to work with the Museum’s collections as part of its Artist in Residence program, another of her initiatives.

In an effort to bring the Museum into the streets, she began transforming Victoria Street, which borders the Museum, into a welcoming pedestrian zone during the summer. The McCord Museum’s Urban Forest is a social space where Montrealers and visitors can enjoy concerts, meet artists, take a yoga class, and sample the lunchtime offerings of food trucks. This initiative attracts more than 200,000 visitors every summer.

Throughout her career, Suzanne Sauvage has been a member of many boards of directors, including those of the Women’s Y Foundation, the Foundation of Greater Montreal, Concordia University, the Orchestre Métropolitain, the Marie Chouinard dance company, the Montréal en Lumière winter festival and the Théâtre de Quat’Sous.

Update: May 2019