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SMART | city

Te Winnipeg Art Gallery embraces the North

New Centre will enable southern and northern peoples to learn and work together.

Exterior Aerial Rendering of what the Inuit Art Centre (IAC) will look like. Rendering by Michael Maltzan Architecture. T

he Winnipeg Art Gallery houses the world’s largest public collection of contemporary Inuit art with over 13,000 carvings, drawings, prints, textiles and new

media. Te WAG began collecting Inuit art in the 1950s, when this art form was largely unknown in Canada’s south. Supported by an unparalleled record of exhibitions, publi- cations, research and outreach, this collection represents Inuit identity, culture and history. To celebrate the art and to honour the people who have

created these works, the WAG is building an Inuit Art Centre, the first of its kind in the world. Te IAC will be a centre for exhibitions and programs, research and learning, studio practice and artmaking. It will be a bridge, enabling peoples from the North and South to meet, learn and work together. It will be a gathering place—a community hub for exploration and advancement—with the art serving as a lens on Canada’s Arctic. It will also, over the years, attract gifts of some important art and craft pieces from private collectors, as the gallery’s collection continues to grow in stature. Centre for creativity and innovation Built on the strengths of the WAG’s Inuit art collection

and its global reputation in the field, the Inuit Art Centre will embolden the Gallery’s critical role in presenting Indig- enous art and culture. An architectural ideas competition for the new Centre attracted submissions by 65 architects from 13 countries. Michael Maltzan Architecture of Los Angeles, in con-

junction with Cibinel Architecture of Winnipeg, was the unanimous choice of the selection committee. An Arctic expedition in the summer of 2013 offered the architects a compelling vision for the IAC. Te game-changing sche- matic design reflects the Arctic landscape—the natural

materials, colours, light and the people. Situated next to the existing WAG building, the IAC will

celebrate the power and beauty of the North. Exhibition gal- leries, visible vaults, classrooms and studios, plus research and community spaces will offer visitors the opportunity to explore, learn and create. A place for learning and transformation Inspired by the landscape and people of the North, the

four-level 40,000-square-foot Inuit Art Centre will be con- nected by glass bridges to the existing WAG building, and will feature: • A “visible vault”, a cylindrical glass-walled art storage

and conservation facility, displaying thousands of art- works, situated within a 6,000-square-foot atrium. • Studios and classrooms for students, scholars and

participants of all disciplines and ages to share in Inuit art, culture and history. • A two-level, interactive theatre for new media, pres-

entations, performances and art installations, with a live link to the North. • The Inuit Gallery, the single largest gallery in North

America dedicated to Indigenous art, featuring an 8,000-square-foot, 34-foot-high exhibition space. • The Contemporary Indigenous Gallery, a community

gallery and ceremony space, showcasing new First Nations, Inuit and Métis art. • An artists- and curators-in-residence area, offering

creative and educational spaces for artists, curators, teach- ers and students, focused on Indigenous art and artmaking. Te power of the art Art is a living and dynamic force in the world. It is able to

impart ideas and perspectives which shape public thought. In a similar way, the Inuit Art Centre will be a transforma-

tive place led by the images and stories from Inuit art, its people and its land. Linking northern and southern Canada is at the heart of the Centre’s mission. Community supporters Oct. 14: The Winnipeg Foundation announced their

$950,000 contribution to the Inuit Art Centre project. It is the largest gift in the foundation’s history. Nov. 19: Te premiers of Manitoba and Nunavut signed

a memorandum of understanding, which includes a part- nership between Nunavut and the WAG. Nunavut’s fine art collections, numbering more than 7,000 works, will be transferred to the WAG for a five-year loan. Nov. 20: Premier Greg Selinger announced the province

will contribute $15 million to the IAC building project. Dec. 8: BMO Financial Group committed $1 million to

support the IAC. Stephen Borys, director and CEO of the Winnipeg Art

Gallery, received the Downtown Winnipeg BIZ’s award for leadership in the arts, receiving a tribute for his con- tribution to Winnipeg’s vitality through his work in spear- heading WAG’s most successful exhibitions, including: 100 Masters: only in Canada, Dali Up Close and currently the year-long Olympus exhibit, as well as Winnipeg’s Nuit Blanche and other major events. December 16: Te Manitoba government and the WAG

announced an expansion to their relationship with France through a special touring exhibition of Inuit art from the WAG collection and the government of Nunavut collection, which is currently on loan to the WAG. “We are pleased to honour Dr. Stephen Borys for his

creativity and ingenuity in making WAG relevant to all Winnipeggers…,” Stefano Grande, the Downtown BIZ ex- ecutive director said in delivering the achievement award.

IAC-View of gallery from south. Rendering by Michael Maltzan Architecture. 6 Smart Biz

February 2016

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