Patsy and David Heffel: Passionate About Supporting Art History Students

Canada’s leading fine art auction house, Heffel, takes great pride in supporting UBC students.

From helping co-op students and interns learn the industry ropes to hiring alumni, Patsy and David Heffel have shared their love of Canadian art with students at every turn.

“We want students to learn the A to Z of the art business,” says Mr. Heffel who hopes these opportunities will bridge the gap between academia and the art industry. For 12 years, students have developed a strong foundation in Canadian art by contributing to the online art index, developing catalogue content and assisting with auctions. “The students we have hired from UBC have been professional, knowledgeable and reliable. It has been a win-win for everyone.”

In addition to hiring students and alumni, the Heffels recently established the Patsy and David Heffel Award in Art History at UBC. This $3,500 award will help promising undergraduate students, who might not otherwise have the means, to focus on their studies and academic training.

“Our family has been so privileged to be involved in the art world,” says Mr. Heffel who studied art history at UBC before taking over the family business with his brother Robert Heffel (BA’87) in 1987. “I hope this award encourages young students to consider a career in the art business and to help them to get through those tough early years.”

The Heffels presented the inaugural award to fourth-year student Clara Wong during a UBC alumni event at their Vancouver gallery on October 10, 2012.

“This award means more to me than I can express. I am so thankful for the donors’ financial assistance and I am grateful that they saw something in me worth recognizing,” says Wong who studies art history and anthropology. “This is a wonderful way to end my final year at university and it gives me the confidence to pursue my career goals in the fine arts.”

To learn more about recruiting students for co-op placements or internships, please contact Christine Lee or 604-822-9359.

To learn more about establishing a student award in the Department of Art History, Visual Art and Theory, please contact Laura Quilici at or 604-827-4284.