Federal Support of Inuit Art
This past summer proved to be a lucrative season for large-scale Inuit art projects. Both the Winnipeg Art Gallery (WAG) and the Kenojuak Cultural Centre and Print Shop (The Centre) received substantial financial commitments from the Department of Canadian Heritage to support initiatives that will increase the visibility of Inuit artists, as well as support the creation of new work and the preservation culture. In late June, The Centre, a partnership between the Municipality of Cape Dorset and the West Baffin Eskimo Co-operative, received $4.5 million in funding for their new arts facilities, slated to open in 2018. This is in addition to the $2 million already provided by the federal government. This announcement was quickly followed in early August by the department’s confirmed contribution of $15 million dollars towards the construction of the Inuit Art Centre at the WAG. Both projects are funded through the Canada Cultural Spaces Fund. When reached for comment the Department of Canadian Heritage expressed their belief that “both the Winnipeg
Art Gallery and the Kenojuak Cultural Centre and Print Shop projects will allow the Inuit community to showcase and preserve their art, language and culture.” These initiatives are in alignment with the Government of Canada’s 2016 Budget, which outlined an investment of $1.2 billion over five years in social infrastructure for Indigenous communities, including cultural and recreational assets and programming, as well as an additional $168 million, which is being invested in all types of cultural projects and organizations between 2016 and 2018.