Funding and Curatorial Future of the WAG’s Inuit Art Centre
After waiting more than a year for a final funding decision, Manitoba Sport, Culture and Heritage Minister Cathy Cox has confirmed the provincial government will provide $10 million to the Winnipeg Art Gallery’s (WAG) Inuit Art Centre over five years. These funds will support contributions already promised by the federal government and the City of Winnipeg
($20 million and $5 million, respectively). A first-of-its-kind cultural landmark, the 40,000-square-foot Inuit Art Centre will house the WAG’s collection of over 13,000 pieces of Inuit art as well as the substantial Government of Nunavut
Fine Art Collection, currently on loan to the gallery, and offer learning programs delivered by Indigenous instructors.
In 2015 the province committed
$15 million in funding to the construction of the Inuit Art Centre, but a change in government, in 2016, put that commitment in jeopardy. In August of last year, Premier Brian Pallister’s government told the WAG it would know by the end of the month whether or not the previous government’s pledge would be upheld. That date was then shifted to the end of December.
Although the allocated funds fall $5 million short of what Manitoba’s previous government promised, WAG Director and CEO Stephen Borys is pleased with the outcome.
“The Province of Manitoba’s commitment to the Inuit Art Centre is a major step forward,” Borys said in a statement. “We thank the province and look forward to working with the government and the community to ensure the WAG continues to serve all Manitobans using art to connect, inspire and inform.”
The confirmation of funding comes on the heels of the announcement of the guest curatorial team that will lead the inaugural exhibition calendar for the centre. Dr. Heather Igloliorte, Assistant Professor of Art History and University Research Chair in Indigenous Art History and Community Engagement at Concordia University, made