Countdown Begins to WAG Centennial Celebrations

Today the Winnipeg Art Gallery started its 100-day countdown to the official kick-off of its Centenary on Saturday, September 29. It will be an exciting year of groundbreaking exhibitions and signature events, fit for the 100th Anniversary of Canada’s oldest civic art gallery.

Special Centennial exhibitions will feature an extraordinary selection of art including masters like Rembrandt, Van Gogh, Matisse and Monet; modern giants Picasso and Warhol; new works by Winnipeg’s best and brightest visual artists; and pieces from the WAG’s contemporary Inuit art collection, the finest in the world.  The year will feature a symposium and film festival, special events, gala parties, and more.

“The Winnipeg Art Gallery is the first civic art gallery in Canada to reach its one hundredth year. That’s something we can all be proud of,” says Executive Director Stephen Borys. “In 1912, the WAG was founded because the people of Winnipeg valued visual art. From two rooms in the Industrial Bureau on Main Street, the WAG has grown to become one of Canada’s leading galleries, playing a vital role in enriching, inspiring, and engaging people with the world of art.”

The Anniversary launches on Saturday, September 29 with the opening of Winnipeg Now, an exhibition that brings together 13 Winnipeg artists chosen by a national selection committee, whose work represents a variety of disciplines—painting, sculpture, drawing, film, video installation, and storytelling. A free, all-day Birthday Party will add to the day’s festivities with gallery tours, art-making workshops, artist demonstrations, entertainment and refreshments. When the sun goes down, Nuit Blanche lights up, an all-night contemporary art and entertainment festival. 

Borys has also programmed other special Centennial shows, including Creation and Transformation: Defining Moments in Inuit Art (opens January 24, 2013), showcasing the Gallery’s world-renowned collection of contemporary Inuit art, and Only in Canada: 100 International Masterworks for the WAG Centennial (opens May 9, 2013) which will see the country’s most treasured pieces of art brought to Winnipeg. “From coast-to-coast, 26 galleries across Canada are loaning us their most prized international masterworks to mark this historic year. With works by Rembrandt, Matisse, Van Gogh, Monet, Picasso, Warhol, and major Canadian artists like Tom Thomson, Emily Carr, Bill Reid, and Jean-Paul Riopelle, it’s a show unlike anything offered by the WAG before.”

To learn more about the WAG’s Centennial celebrations, visit, a new website dedicated to the 100th Anniversary, just launched today and made possible through the generous support of the Department of Canadian Heritage. Later this summer, an interactive timeline will be unveiled on the site, covering all the key WAG events from 1912 to 2012 - and they want you to be part of it. “We want our visitors to share their WAG stories with us, and help us bring our timeline to life,” states Borys. “To share your WAG story, go to” 

Centennial Committee Co-Chair Lila Goodspeed announced plans for the Anniversary Soirée on December 16, 2012, exactly 100 years after the official opening of the Gallery. The WAG’s annual fundraising events will be themed to the Anniversary, including the Centennial Ball on October 20, 2012, and Art & Soul on February 23, 2013.  The public can learn more about the Centennial Ball at, a micro-website also launched today. “More than 100 volunteers have spent the past two years exploring ways to promote the power of art in life throughout the Centennial year,” explains Goodspeed. “This exciting series of events and activities will ignite the community’s passion for creative engagement.”
This will be the biggest year in the WAG’s history, with activities for the entire community. For more information or to share your WAG story, go to and click on Timeline. To learn more about the Centennial Ball, visit For the latest updates, follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

Sponsors for the WAG's Centennial year as of June 21, 2012 are the Department of Canadian Heritage, MTS Allstream, RBC Royal Bank of Canada, Great-West Life Assurance Company, Investors Group Inc., Manitoba Culture, Heritage and Tourism, Volunteer Associates of the Winnipeg Art Gallery, Manitoba Lotteries Corporation, Ernst & Young, KPMG LLP, Lawton Partners, Loewen, Parrish & Heimbecker Ltd, AON Reed Stenhouse, Cambrian Credit Union, CP Loewen Family Foundation, Manitoba Blue Cross, Hotel Fort Garry, Conviron, Assiniboine Credit Union, Wawanesa Insurance. Media sponsors: Winnipeg Free Press, CTV, Pattison Outdoor Advertising, Canadian Broadcasting Company, HOT 103, 99.9 BOB FM, Visual Lizard, Doowah Design, Esdale Printing, Tourism Winnipeg, and Travel Manitoba.

Winnipeg Art Gallery Centennial Exhibitions

The WAG Century • August 13, 2012-September 2013
This evolving, interactive exhibition charts the WAG’s history, from 1912 to the present, through the use of archival materials, videos, photographs, architectural blueprints, and works of art. It looks at the communities and individuals whose contributions helped write the WAG’s history and realize the key events that have shaped the Gallery. It also looks to the future, pointing to ways in which the WAG remains a vital place for art for all Manitobans. 

Winnipeg Now • September 29-December 31, 2012
Winnipeg is the hottest art making city in Canada and the WAG is about to show you why. Ranging from painting and drawing, film and video installation, sculpture and storytelling, each artist will present a new body of work not previously seen by Winnipeg audiences. The artists all have one thing in common: they have all, at one time or another, called Winnipeg “home.” This distinguished, award-winning group of contemporary artists includes KC Adams, Daniel Barrow, Paul Butler, Shawna Dempsey and Lorri Millan, Michael Dudeck, Marcel Dzama, Sarah Anne Johnson, Rodney LaTourelle, Guy Maddin, Kent Monkman, Dominique Rey, and Jennifer Stillwell. Guest-curated by Meeka Walsh and Robert Enright, the participating artists were chosen by a national selection committee. The exhibition will be accompanied by an extensive publication with essays by international critics and interviews with all 13 artists.

Creation & Transformation: Defining Moments in Inuit Art • January 24-April 15, 2013
This exhibition celebrates the WAG’s collection of contemporary Inuit art, the finest in the world. Featuring approximately 250 works, the exhibition provides a new historical narrative, beginning with stone carvings in 1949, through the many transformations of scale and media that have taken place since. Culminating with art by today’s third generation artists, the exhibition includes works from every region of the Arctic in a variety of media including sculpture, prints, drawings, and textiles. Curated by Darlene Coward Wight, WAG Curator of Inuit Art, and supported by a publication sponsored by Douglas & MacIntyre, Creation & Transformation includes the work of such iconic artists as Abraham Anghik Ruben, Davidialuk Alasua Amittu, and John Tiktak.

Only in Canada: 100 International Masterworks for the WAG Centennial • May 9-August 19, 2013
This groundbreaking exhibition brings together 100 masterworks from galleries across the country. Curated by WAG Executive Director Dr. Stephen Borys the works featured in Only in Canada are some of the most celebrated international artworks in Canadian public collections, spanning centuries, cultures and media. Complemented by a supporting publication, this historic exhibition includes masterworks by Rembrandt van Rijn, Peter Paul Rubens, Henri Matisse, J.M.W. Turner, Claude Monet, Vincent Van Gogh, Pablo Picasso, Francis Bacon, and Andy Warhol. Major Canadian artists such as Cornelius Krieghoff, Tom Thomson, Emily Carr, Jean-Paul Riopelle, Bill Reid, and Jeff Wall, will also be featured.



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