WAG Announces Surplus at Annual General Meeting

At its Annual General Meeting on June 27, the Winnipeg Art Gallery announced a surplus of $130,108 in its 2011/2012 fiscal year. The WAG also recorded the second highest visitors attendance for a special exhibition with the Norman Rockwell retrospective, which took place from March to May 2012.

Offering exhibitions and programs that appeal to a wide and diverse demographic, the WAG found kids to be one of the fast growing visitor groups in the galleries this past year. School tours are one of the most important ways the WAG reaches young people. Last year over 6,500 children, from kindergarten to grade 12, visited the Gallery for tours designed around WAG exhibitions which fit into the school curriculum. During the Rockwell exhibition run, the WAG opened its doors on Mondays (when it is normally closed) to accommodate the demand for school visits from across the city and province. Hundreds of university students also visited the WAG and many used the permanent collection displays in their research projects.

The WAG’s surplus, the largest in over 12 years, was in part due to the success of the exhibitions American Chronicles: The Art of Norman Rockwell and William Kurelek: The Messenger, according to WAG Executive Director Dr. Stephen Borys. “Almost 31,000 people visited the Rockwell exhibition. Interestingly, the bulk of these numbers was made up of non-Gallery members, many of them visiting the WAG for the first time. They came to see Rockwell but they also visited our other galleries filled with works from the permanent collection, ranging from historical European and North American art to contemporary Canadian to the finest collection of contemporary Inuit art in the world. They clearly liked what they saw because new memberships increased almost 300% over the same time the previous year.”

The innovative programs developed by WAG staff in support of this exhibition offered our visitors the opportunity to interact with the art on a more enhanced level. Guided tours, audio tours, tours for school children, films, guest speakers including Peter Rockwell, Art Eats were all very well received.

The WAG’s premiere fundraising events – the Gallery Ball and Art & Soul – had record attendance and profits for a combined gross of close to $300,000. And for the second year in a row, over 4,500 people came through the doors during our 6pm to 6am Nuit Blanche as part of Culture Days in September. 

The WAG continued to expand its partnerships with art and cultural institutions and groups across the city, including: The Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra and Groundswell for the New Music Festival, the University of Winnipeg for the Masters in Curatorial Practice program, and the Manitoba Society of Artists for their annual juried exhibition. We also entered into an agreement with the Winnipeg Fringe Festival to be their newest venue in 2012, their 25th season.

Board of Governors President Naomi Levine stated that much of the last fiscal year was spent planning and preparing for the WAG’s centennial, which officially begins on September 29 with a huge birthday bash, the opening of the first Centennial exhibition Winnipeg Now, followed by the all-night Nuit Blanche party. “We are Canada’s oldest civic art gallery. This is a remarkable achievement and we plan to celebrate in style with outstanding exhibitions and events – and you can find it all on our Centennial website:  wag100.ca.”




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