Manitoba Commits $15 Million for first-of-its-kind Inuit Art Centre at WAG

The Manitoba government will invest $15 million in the creation of a unique Inuit Art Centre at the Winnipeg Art Gallery (WAG), Premier Greg Selinger and Tourism, Culture, Heritage, Sport and Consumer Protection Minister Ron Lemieux announced today.

“With major attractions like Journey to Churchill, the Canadian Museum for Human Rights and Investors Group Field, Manitoba continues to grow as a top notch tourist destination,” said Premier Selinger.  “The first-of-its-kind Inuit Art Centre will help cement that reputation, creating hundreds of good jobs and protecting these cultural treasures for future generations.”

Manitoba and Nunavut recently renewed an agreement that will see thousands of pieces of Inuit art moved to the WAG for documentation, study and display.  The centre will significantly build on the engaging and inspiring role the WAG plays in introducing students to art and culture, while creating more opportunities for post-secondary research, the premier said.  As the first centre of its kind dedicated to Inuit art and culture, the centre will bring national and international attention to this Indigenous art form, he added.

“Our province is a national hub for arts and culture.  The Inuit Art Centre builds on our government’s firm commitment to supporting and growing the arts in Manitoba,” said Minister Lemieux. “National Geographic just listed Winnipeg as one of the top 20 places in the world to visit and this new centre will build on that reputation showing everyone that Manitoba really is where Canada’s Heart Beats.”

“The Winnipeg Art Gallery is grateful to the government of Manitoba for its commitment to the building of the Inuit Art Centre,” said Dr. Stephen Borys, director and CEO, WAG.  “This is a game-changing contribution for a game-changing endeavour, adding even more momentum to the project.  We applaud the province for stepping forward to champion this initiative that hits at the heart of Indigenous art and culture in Manitoba and across the country.  Bridging Canada’s north and south, the Inuit Art Centre will allow the WAG to share its world-renowned collection of Inuit art to its full potential.”

Construction of the centre is estimated to create 305 direct and indirect jobs for Manitobans as well as many research and learning opportunities as the only Inuit Art Centre in the world, the premier said. 

The centre will also include programming, exhibitions, internships, artist exchanges and interactive online tools and content that will ensure these works of art are available to people across the globe, Minister Lemiuex noted, adding this showcase of traditional art and culture also addresses recommendations from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and highlights Manitoba’s commitment to heritage preservation.

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