The WAG is home to the largest public collection of contemporary Inuit art anywhere. To celebrate the art and to honour the Inuit, the WAG is building an Inuit Art Centre, the first of its kind in the world. The Inuit Art Centre will be a transformative place led by the images and stories from the art, the people, and the land.
Breaking ground in 2017, the Inuit Art Centre will be a link, connecting people from the North and South to meet, learn, and create together. It will be a community hub for exhibitions and programs, research and learning, studio practice and art-making. The Centre will offer a unique opportunity to learn about Inuit and Canadian history and culture.
MESSAGE FROM THE DIRECTOR
Artists have been called the urban cartographers – telling the stories of their communities. The Inuit Art Centre gives mapmaking a whole new meaning as we endeavour to bring the power and beauty of the Arctic to Winnipeg. The Centre will be much more than a home for the largest public collection of contemporary Inuit art on earth. It is about rethinking the role of the art museum while providing cultural and historical context for Inuit art and people.
The WAG, along with our Inuit partners and stakeholders, is at the forefront of a timely cultural renaissance as Canadian society increasingly recognizes the magnitude of Indigenous art and its role in understanding. Everyone has a role to play in reconciliation and the Inuit Art Centre is a way the WAG is contributing to this healing process regionally and nationally. With this in mind, there is perhaps no better moment than now to critically analyze, document, and exhibit Indigenous contemporary art in Canada.
The support and buzz for the Inuit Art Centre is growing. Each day we are closer to the project becoming a reality! Thank you for your ongoing support of this game-changing initiative.
Stephen D. Borys, PhD, MBA
Director & CEO
CHANGE THROUGH ART
The WAG began collecting Inuit art in the 1950s when this art form was largely unknown in Canada’s south. With over 13,000 carvings, drawings, prints, textiles, and new media, this amazing collection is supported by an unparalleled record of exhibitions, publications, and research.
Inuit art is a dynamic force in our world, conveying ideas and perspectives. With its exhibitions and programs, the Inuit Art Centre will celebrate a greater understanding and appreciation of the North and its people. Canada is searching for roads to meaningful reconciliation and the Inuit Art Centre will provide another pathway to healing.
The Inuit Art Centre will bring the Arctic to you, inviting you to experience the stories communicated through carvings, drawings, prints, textiles, video, and new media, enriched by visiting Inuit artists and storytellers.
Educational initiatives are being led and supported by Inuit communities, allowing you to see art and culture from different perspectives. The Centre will be a space for Indigenous inclusion, research, and innovative ideas shared by scholars from around the globe.
This international tourist attraction will be a vibrant downtown arts destination. Whether you are in Canada’s North, Manitoba, or beyond, the Centre’s constantly changing programming will be a forum for all ages to learn about and engage with Inuit art and culture.
WHAT YOU WILL SEE:
- The largest public collection of contemporary Inuit art in the world with video installations, carvings, prints, drawings, and performing arts. Collaborative apps will bring the art to life.
- Exhibitions that provide cultural and historical context shared by Inuit partners through art, oral histories, and film.
- Accessible and tactile interpretive zones inspiring your family to explore art together through playful, hands-on activities.
Inuit stakeholders are actively developing programs as a way to bring global attention to their people, art, history, and communities. The WAG will collaborate and facilitate teaching, training, and program sessions that grow the Inuit art sector. These programs will not only spur economic development, but also make the Inuit Art Centre an international destination.
A key partnership that is already flourishing is between the WAG and the Governments of Manitoba and Nunavut that brought Nunavut’s art collection to the WAG for a five-year period. Most of the collection has not been widely displayed since before Nunavut became a territory in 1999. Signed in November 2015, this partnership allows the WAG and the Government of Nunavut to jointly produce in-house and touring exhibitions for the Arctic, Canada, and the world. Now on site at the WAG, this rarely seen Inuit art collection will be housed, documented, and digitized, making it available for all to experience.
- Curatorial internships and job training programs that develop hands-on curatorial and museum skills.
- Fine arts and curatorial education and mentorship programs.
- Artist residencies allowing artists from the North and South to share knowledge and create together. The public will learn from visiting artists.
- Visiting Elder programs enabling communities to connect with their art and facilitating a deeper cultural understanding.
- Support for emerging Inuit artists.
- Inuktitut publishing projects working with Northern partners such as Arctic College.
- Art-making classes through WAG Studio featuring guest artists.
Beyond WAG Walls:
- Dynamic Kindergarten to Grade 12 educational initiatives offer children and youth interactive and unconventional learning opportunities. Leaving textbooks and classrooms behind, students will experience the North firsthand through the stories behind the art.
- Special exhibitions that tour nationally and internationally, showcasing outstanding Inuit art and bringing Canada’s history to life.
- Travelling exhibitions for artists and their families to reconnect with works within the context of a large collection.
- Interactive online programming enabling you to learn about the North and Inuit art anywhere, any time.
- Community education programs bringing guest speakers, classes, and film festivals to highlight Inuit art, culture, and current issues.
- University research programs that study Inuit art, culture, and history, which will attract students from around the globe.
- Programming across the country strengthening national connections and building appreciation and understanding of the North. This will expand education, business, and training partnerships as well as economic opportunities.
The Inuit Art Centre design is inspired by the landscape and people of the North. The Centre will be situated next to the existing WAG building at the corner of Memorial Blvd and St. Mary Ave and will be connected to the Gallery on all levels.
An architectural ideas competition for the new Centre attracted submissions by 65 architects from 13 countries. Michael Maltzan Architecture (Los Angeles) was selected and is working in conjunction with Cibinel Architecture (Winnipeg) on the four-level 40,000-square-foot building. The Centre will include:
- Visible Vault: a cylindrical glass-walled art storage and conservation facility, displaying thousands of artworks, will place stone carvings on view at all times. This art-filled atrium will be visible to passers-by, completely changing the streetscape at the corner of Memorial Blvd and St. Mary Ave.
- Studios and Classrooms: for students, scholars, and participants of all disciplines and ages to share in Inuit art, culture, and history.
- Interactive Theatre: a two-level theatre will feature films, new media, guest speakers, music and other performing arts, and art installations. It will provide a live link to the North, digitally connecting classrooms and communities to activities in the Theatre.
- Inuit Gallery: the single largest gallery in North America dedicated to Indigenous art with an 8,000-square-foot, 34-foot-high exhibition space. This Gallery will place you in the North, with its vast landscapes.
- Contemporary Indigenous Gallery: a community gallery and ceremony space showcasing new First Nations, Inuit, and Métis art, including opportunities for emerging artists.
- Artists- and Curators-in-Residence: creative and educational spaces for artists, curators, teachers, and students will focus on Indigenous art and art-making.
The campaign team is comprised of exceptional community volunteers who are lending their leadership, generosity, and community experience to the Inuit Art Centre initiative.
Capital Campaign Executive
- Arthur Mauro, Honorary Chair
- Barry Rempel, Chair
- Doneta A. Brotchie
- Dr. Ernest Cholakis, Chair, WAG Board of Governors
- Lila Goodspeed
- Nick Logan
- John C. MacAulay
- Richard L. Yaffe
Winnipeg Art Gallery
As Canada’s oldest civic art gallery and Manitoba’s leading art museum, the WAG holds over 27,000 works spanning centuries and media, including the world’s largest public collection of contemporary Inuit art. The WAG is a cultural advocate – a lens and forum – helping people see and experience more through art. Playing a vital role in the community, engaging and enriching people of all ages and backgrounds through art and culture, the WAG thrives as a creative, innovative, and accessible place for learning, discovery and inspiration.