WAG’s 100 Masters Exhibition Wins National and Regional Awards

The Winnipeg Art Gallery’s blockbuster exhibition 100 Masters: Only in Canada, which ran from May 11 to September 2, 2013, has recently won two major awards and was runner up for two other awards. The historic centennial exhibition, featuring 100 artworks borrowed from 30 galleries across the country, was the most successful exhibition in the WAG’s 100-year history. Spanning five centuries, the exhibition included works by artists such as Rembrandt, van Gogh, Monet, Matisse, and Picasso, as well as significant Canadian, American, and Indigenous artists, attracting over 60,000 visitors.

On April 9 in Toronto, WAG Director & CEO, Dr. Stephen Borys, accepted the Canadian Museum Association’s (CMA) national award for Outstanding Achievement in Marketing for the 100 Masters exhibition.  In a release the CMA said: “The selection committee was impressed with the use of all available resources … the effectiveness of the branding, and particular success of the use of a campaign which unfolded step by step which created a momentum and a sense of curiosity, awe, and urgency. . . From the teaser ads to the imperative ‘last chance, extended hours’ campaign of the final weekend, the WAG campaign was a case of New York’s Madison Avenue coming to Winnipeg’s Memorial Blvd.” 

The 275-page illustrated publication accompanying the 100 Masters exhibition also received the Manitoba Book Award’s Manuela Dias Book Design of the Year Award. Written by Stephen Borys with Andrew Kear, Curator of Canadian Historical Art, the book was designed by Frank Reimer, the award-winning Winnipeg graphic designer and instructor at Red River College.  

At a gala luncheon on May 1, the WAG exhibition was announced as the runner-up for a Winnipeg Tourism Award of Distinction in Marketing.

100 Masters was also the runner-up for the Winnipeg Free Press Entertainment Story of the Year, as voted by WFP readers, coming in second to the Paul McCartney concert at the new stadium in Winnipeg.

WAG Director & CEO, Dr. Stephen Borys, notes:  “Beyond the record attendance, school outreach, membership growth, huge revenues, and national media attention for 100 Masters, what was most rewarding for me was to see how the public responded to seeing and experiencing the original works of art. In an era filled with reproductions and replicas of all kinds in all places, it is a powerful reminder that people still want to see the real thing – masterworks created by men and women over the ages.  This visitor engagement confirmed again the vital role the WAG plays in the life, well-being, and development of healthy communities.”

100 Masters was the largest exhibition project undertaken by the WAG in over a century, and it was by the most extensive outreach into the community and across the country.  In addition to unprecedented local and regional media coverage, on the national stage, the exhibition was featured in the National Post, CBC’s The National, Canadian Art magazine, Enroute magazine, and other media outlets and publications.

“Our Marketing Department did an amazing job of promoting this exhibition,” says Tammy Sawatzky, WAG Public Relations Coordinator. “Transit bus signs, billboards, print and electronic media, a special website—it all combined to bring in over 60,000 visitors, exceeding all previous attendance records. During the four-month run of the show, WAG new and returning memberships increased by over 50%; thousands of students visited on school tours, including hundreds from inner city schools and community organizations with free passes.”

The Winnipeg Art Gallery is a cultural advocate – a lens and forum – helping people see and experience more through art. Playing a vital role in the community, engaging and enriching people of all ages and backgrounds through art and culture, the Winnipeg Art Gallery thrives as a creative, innovative, and accessible place for learning, discovery, and inspiration.

For more information, please contact:
Tammy Sawatzky
Public Relations Coordinator



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