Celebrating 63 years of art and triumph: Margaret Morse
Earlier that day, the royal couple had toured through the Gallery, viewing the outstanding works of art on display. As the Princess was leaving the Gallery, Margaret Morse, a member of the Associates of the WAG, remembered her expressing her admiration for the Gallery. She said, “I have seldom seen a building more fit for the purpose, an exterior with a simple elegance, and inside a tremendous versatile place…”
This is just one of the many incredible experiences Margaret recalls from her 63 years as a WAG Associate. Since joining what was then called the Women’s Axillary, she has accumulated countless stories, made many long-lasting friendships, and keeps beautiful and precious memories with her.
Blessed with a curious mind and a passion for the arts, Margaret joined the WAG in 1956 and quickly became a very active volunteer.
Her volunteer work proved to be whole-heartedly fulfilling as she found herself surrounded by exciting opportunities in the arts community. From showcasing art from Canadian artists such as Norval Morrisseau and Jackson Beardy to assisting in executing exhibitions for iconic and historical artists, including Van Gogh, Margaret had a hand in making it all happen.
With the 1960s and 70s being a booming time for the arts community in Winnipeg, there were many major events, fundraisers, exhibitions, and projects to be worked on, and Margaret was part of it all.
She recalls helping secure the Manitoba Legislative Building in the 1960s as the perfect setting for historical and world-wide known treasures from Cairo, Egypt. Magnificent and incredible sculptures and carvings, ageing thousands of years old, stood proud alongside the infamous King Tutankhamen. As she stood and stared at the extraordinary artifacts, she found herself mesmerized by their beauty.
In the late 60s, Margaret sat at a Board of Governors meeting where an exciting plan was presented to members. The now recognizable WAG building that stands tall and robust on Memorial Boulevard was announced with an international design competition. Proposals from 97 different firms were submitted; only two featured triangular designs. The concept by a brilliant architect, Gustavo Da Rosa, was selected to be the new design that you know today. To celebrate the new WAG’s unveiling, a gala reception was hosted.
Many remarkable opportunities arose for Margaret during her time as a WAG Associate, and she continues to be part of the history of the arts community in Winnipeg. She experienced many triumphs and proud moments for the WAG. The friendship and connections she made, the history she was part of, and the successful execution of countless projects are all described as a labour of love.
On top of her involvement in the WAG Associates, Margaret was Manitoba’s first speech therapist, and pioneered speech clinics in hospitals, helping adults and children with communication disorders for several decades. She also has a long record of volunteerism with the Woman’s Musical Club of Winnipeg, where she currently serves on the Board of Directors, and the Manitoba Historical Society. Margaret received the Order of Manitoba in 2020.
After such a long association, Margaret is excited about the WAG’s future. She is thrilled to see Qaumajuq (the Inuit art centre) become an internationally recognized institution, showcasing the incredible work of Inuit artists.
The WAG is so grateful to Margaret for her long time support, and for sharing her amazing stories at the WAG.
Joining the WAG Associates means you too will get to take part in shaping the ongoing story of art in Winnipeg.