Message from the Director & CEO

The end of the year often brings with it reflections on the past year as well as what’s ahead. Looking back on 2018, I am filled with gratitude and wonder as we see the impact of the beauty and power of art. For me it confirms once again that art can to make a difference in our community and in people’s lives. So it’s truly a privilege and an honour to be leading the WAG—Canada’s oldest civic art gallery—at this time.

It’s really been an amazing year at the WAG—and it’s hard to even narrow it down to a few shining moments. In the late spring we closed the INSURGENCE/RESURGENCE exhibition, the largest contemporary Indigenous show in the WAG’s history. And before its closing, over 10,000 Manitoba school children visited the exhibition and learned a little more about the power of art.

Later this year we announced the Winnipeg Indigenous Biennial, supported by BMO Bank of Montreal, which will be launched in 2020—another first for the WAG, and another chance to do something great and lasting in our city.

Partnerships abound at the WAG with The Forks, Assiniboine Park Conservancy, and the Government of Nunavut, to name just a few. One of our new partnerships—Art to Inspire—with the Alzheimer Society of Manitoba and the University of Manitoba, has brought the WAG many new friends as we use art to encourage and empower people living with dementia.

Marking what have become annual events at the WAG, this fall we saw thousands of people come through our doors for Nuit Blanche and CRAFTED. But they didn’t just come and go—they stayed, spent time in the galleries, and learned a little more about the power of art.

There were many new faces and experiences on these visits, which reminds me there are so many more people we want to welcome and engage with at the WAG. Whether it’s an exhibition, film screening, gallery tour, pop-up rooftop performance, MakerLab, or lecture—there is something at the WAG for you. And if you can’t find that connection—let us know how we can make it happen. We are here to serve the whole community, and that includes you!

Next door to the WAG, a magnificent structure is rising up—the Inuit Art Centre, the first of its kind in the world—and right here in Winnipeg. It will open in 2020, coinciding with Manitoba’s 150th anniversary, giving us the opportunity to reach even further with our mission of using art to connect, inspire, and inform.

We have much to celebrate and lots to be thankful for at the WAG, in our city, and across the country. I have a fantastic team at the Gallery—staff, board, and volunteers—working every day to keep the WAG welcoming and relevant. And at this time of the year, we feel especially close to you, our members and supporters, because none of it would be possible without you. My warmest wishes of the season!

Stephen Borys, PhD, MBA
Director & CEO
Twitter: @stephenborys
Instagram: @stephenborys_wag

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