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Doors Set to Open in One Year

“Everything has to be perfect,” Rick Chopp, the Inuit Art Centre project manager is describing the upcoming glass installation for the visible vault. The vault will be encased in two-storeys of glass, with glass shelving inside to display the Inuit carving collection. “There is little room for error when working with glass”, Rick adds.

With the Inuit Art Centre in its final year of construction and expected opening in Fall 2020, progress is happening everywhere: The floors on all four levels of the centre have been poured. The mezzanine steel is anchored to support the Mezzanine bridge that will offer a unique vantage point for viewing objects within the Visible Vault. The steel beams that support the curved outer frame of the gallery are complete and will eventually support the welcoming 5,000-square-foot glass atrium on the street level inviting the community in to experience the centre.

The Gallery Shop is being framed with a network of beams and columns as part of the renovation that will see the much-loved retail experience grow to meet the needs of the visitors. The expanded shop will feature street-facing windows that will provide another connection between the public and art.

The hard-working crew of about 65 will soon grow to 100 as the carpenters, plumbers, electricians begin work to create the inner workings and details to support the multi-dimensional centre.

“We’re anticipating the imminent arrival of the curtain wall framing that will wrap around the main floor, making the three-storey vault visible from the street,” Rick states. “And we expect to have the glass and main front entrance doors installed by mid-December.”

The fourth floor of the existing WAG building is being transformed into the new education and studio spaces by our construction crews. As the Inuit Art Centre will connect to the existing WAG building, the extensive renovation and redevelopment of the WAG continues. “We’ve already cut in three of the links between the addition and the existing WAG on the basement, main and fourth floors, and within a month or so we’ll start on the third floor gallery level with the mechanical, electrical and interior framing.”

“It’s an extraordinarily complicated structural steel building with the twisting angles and circles.” Rick notes regarding Michael Maltzan’s innovative design coming to life. Maltzan’s design is creating a progressive, transformative architectural space to engage the community. The curved line of the building comes with its construction challenges, but when complete will be a welcome and sweeping change to Winnipeg’s downtown. “It’s completely unique.”

Please click here to enjoy watching the construction time-lapse video in action.

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WAG-Qaumajuq recognizes that land acknowledgements are part of an ongoing dialogue with Indigenous Nations, and we are grateful to live and work on these lands and waters. Institutionally, WAG-Qaumajuq is committed to acknowledging our colonial history and we are actively working to interrogate the Gallery’s colonial ways of being.

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Winnipeg Art Gallery—Qaumajuq
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