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758 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Location: Winnipeg, MB
Client: Winnipeg Art Gallery
Size: 40,000 sq. ft. Addition to existing art gallery facility
Completed: 2020 (targeted)
Budget: $65 M

The new Inuit Art Centre (IAC) at the Winnipeg Art Gallery (WAG) in Winnipeg, Manitoba will house the Gallery’s celebrated collection of contemporary Inuit art and provide new facilities for an expanded studio art and educational program. The 40,000 square-foot addition to the iconic existing building by Gustavo da Roza faces south toward the Manitoba Legislature building in downtown Winnipeg, and will include new galleries, a lecture theatre, research areas, and a visible art storage vault. With a collection of nearly 13,000 works of Inuit art, the WAG has had a long and continuous commitment to the research, exhibition, and publication of art by the Canadian Inuits. The IAC will be the largest exhibition gallery in Canada devoted to indigenous art.

40,000-square-foot cultural landmark

This world-class cultural landmark is designed by Michael Maltzan Architecture, one of North America’s leading firms, renowned for creating thriving spaces with virtual connections that shape how we experience the world. Maltzan was selected through an international architectural competition, which had 63 submissions from 13 countries, and is working with Manitoba’s Cibinel Architecture Ltd.

The WAG Inuit Art Centre will be connected to the main building by bridges on all levels.


The design centers on double-height visible Inuit Vault located immediately adjacent to the IAC entry on the corner of St. Mary’s Avenue and Memorial Boulevard. The vault’s curved glass walls extend from floor to ceiling and include shelving that follows the curvature of the enclosure. Additional vault storage, accessible by a stairwell connecting to the visible vault, is located in the building’s lower level. The vault interior will be accessible to curators and scholars while the public will be able to look into the storage room from the Inuit Vault Lobby. A new lecture room, café, and reading room will be adjacent to the lobby providing educational and research spaces in close proximity to the Visible Vault. The ground level design also includes minor modifications to the existing building that includes a new gallery shop.

LEVEL 1 & 2

In this dynamic theatre, live performers, educators, speakers and Elders will take the stage to share their knowledge and voices. Students will come face-to-face with exciting new learning possibilities as virtual technology connects them to classrooms across the North. From here, they can watch a carver working in Baker Lake and listen to stories being told by an Elder from Arviat.

From inside the theatre, visitors will look out to see collections and the carving porch, where artists will work in full view.


The expansive, light-filled Inuit Gallery on the building’s third level provides 8,500 square feet of open, flexible exhibition space dedicated to the display of Inuit art. The voluminous gallery is intended to reflect the natural environments of the North, the setting in which much of the art is created. The monumental, sculptural walls evoke the immense geographic features that are the background of many Inuit towns and inlets. Figural skylights in the ceiling suffuse the gallery with light from the broad spectrum of the sky creating an ethereal illumination that focuses the viewer on the Inuit Art in the gallery. An Indigenous Gallery on the upper roof level and open to the Inuit Gallery below, will honor the Inuit and other aboriginal peoples of the North providing an open space for exhibitions, public performances, private celebrations, or quiet meditation.


Education studios and classrooms are concentrated at the WAG’s penthouse level, providing students access to the large roof terrace. New education spaces include a dedicated education lobby and reception, clay studio, kiln room, and two exterior studios for summer and winter activities, such as stone carving and ice sculpting.


758 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 ·

Winnipeg’s Inuit Art Centre a world first
Myron Love June 28, 2018

Work has begun on a major new cultural development in downtown Winnipeg.

In late May, the ceremonial shovels hit the ground to launch construction of the Winnipeg Art Gallery’s (WAG) $65-million Inuit Art Centre.

The WAG has the world’s largest collection of Inuit art.

The new Inuit Art Centre, adjacent to the current WAG, which is located in the city’s downtown and just a stone’s throw away from the Manitoba Legislative Building, will allow the gallery to house all of its 14,000 pieces of Inuit Art in one location.

The 40,000-square-foot, four-storey centre will be the first building of its kind in the world.

The new facility will be connected to the main gallery by bridges and will be the largest single space devoted to Inuit art, culture and history.

Tammy Sawatzky, the WAG’s public relations co-ordinator, reports that PCL Constructors Canada Inc. is the contractor of record on the project.

Considering the project’s location, she points out there are “some significant challenges to the construction, starting with the site being very tight and the immediate adjacency to two very busy streets,” she says. “It will be critical that construction sequencing be planned so as to allow the maximum amount of trades to be onsite in a safe and productive manner at any given time.”

To meet those challenges, she reports, the construction management team has opted to use a tower crane and incorporating street lanes within the construction site to add to the flexibility of construction and lay down space for materials.

She notes mechanical, electrical and glazing subcontractors have been procured through a public design assist process and these subcontractors are included as partners in refining details.

“An example of this collaboration,” she points out, “is the stunning vertical vault located in the Inuit Hall for which there are no comparatives.”

The undulating two-storey curved glass structure is a design and construction challenge that not only is structurally complex but needs to maintain the strict environmental controls associated with a vault containing high value art objects.

“The team is working as a group with contributions from all partners in refining design details, utilizing the latest technology and searching worldwide for the best materials to ensure the architectural vision is met while maintaining the required elements of a working vault,” she explains.

A value add from the construction manager PCL, she adds, is their use of in-house technology.

“They have the ability through programs such as an Electronic Plan Room and BIM Field 360 to have instant access to building drawings and files that expedite the resolution of possible drawing conflicts or site challenges as they may arise,” she says.

The number of workers to be employed during the construction period is anticipated to be about 450 to 500 with a peak onsite at one time of about 150.

Some of the features of the new gallery are a 360-degree video transporting you to the breathtaking Arctic; being able to connect with and speak to a musher in Rankin Inlet while he harnesses his dog sled team; hear personal histories directly from Inuit elders; take a trip to the north through a virtual-reality headset; step inside an igloo and go back 1,000 years to experience the Arctic as it was then; sit side-by-side with a master Inuit carver and create from stone in an outdoor studio; and create stop animation or throw clay on a pottery wheel in new state-of-the-art studios.

Along with exhibition spaces, the centre will also include a glass enclosed visible art vault, a conservation facility, art studios, an interactive theatre, classrooms and a new cafe.

The WAG Inuit Art Centre will open its doors in 2020, coinciding with Manitoba’s 150th birthday.

Pauline Boldt (@26_merton_road) on Instagram: “What an amazing experience. Deeply honoured to be part of this day ������ ❤ #inuitartcentre

Lenard Monkman (@lenardmonkman) on Instagram
Shovels officially hit the ground today on the Winnipeg Art Gallery's Inuit Art Centre.
The Inuit Art Centre will feature over 14,000 pieces of artwork and will become home to the largest collection of Inuit art in the world.
The building is expected to open in 2020.

Jan Hewitt (@jan.hewitt) on Instagram: “Coming soon, the WAG’s Inuit Art Centre! @wag_ca #winnipegartgallery #wag #inuitartcentre

Darren Bernhardt on Instagram: “Tyndall stone cladding coming off side of Winnipeg Art Gallery in preparation for construction on addition that will house Inuit Art Centre.

39,900 Posts
Some of it is very pleasant like the Exchange District but large swaths of the downtown public realm need upgrading. It will happen as the core gets denser. Lane reduction to 6 would go a long way in this spot.

758 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
You can check out more Winnipeg here:

Hopefully more pedestrian activity is generated with another cafe (in the IAC) on this block and the new signature architecture of the Inuit Gallery and a new apartment complex coming to the lot next door.

39,900 Posts
Downtown Winnipeg is very close to that tipping point where people will start wanting to live there.

758 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·

(@kalabawtravels) on Instagram
View of Colony Square, Downtown Commons, Winnipeg Art Gallery and a little bit of The Bay. As you can see, Winnipeg loves beige! Hahaha! Under construction is the Inuit Art Centre of the WAG. Excited to see how it will turn out.

39,900 Posts

758 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·

758 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Mural brings northern inspiration to Inuit Art Centre construction site

Winnipeg centre will be the largest single gallery space in the world devoted to Inuit art, culture, history
CBC News · Posted: Sep 21, 2018

The Winnipeg Art Gallery's Inuit Art Centre isn't set to open until 2020 but there is already some artwork on display in downtown Winnipeg.

A mural by Winnipeg-based Inuit artist Kailey Sheppard was unveiled Friday on the covered pedestrian walkway adjacent to the construction site at the corner of Memorial Boulevard and St. Mary Avenue.

"They actually created this project specifically for me and that was very exciting because I've never done anything like this before, especially on this scale," said Sheppard.

"It's crazy. It's surreal," she said about her work being on display along such a busy street in the city.

The mural, painted on sheets of plywood, features northern sea creatures on colourful, serpentine waves which also echo the northern lights.

The work will be up for the next 1½ years, during construction of the $65-million centre.

The 40,000-square-foot, four-storey building will be connected to the main Winnipeg Art Gallery by bridges on all levels. It will be the largest single gallery space in the world devoted to Inuit art, culture and history, according to the WAG.

"Hopefully it will inspire a little bit of thinking about the North," Darlene Coward Wight, the WAG's curator of Inuit art, said about Sheppard's mural.

She said Sheppard approached the WAG a while back, introducing herself and looking for any opportunities to work with the gallery or the future Inuit Art Centre.

hen the walkway was going up, the idea for the mural just seemed right, said Coward Wight.

"She's never had her artwork out there at all. She's self-taught, totally unknown, and it just seemed like a really good mentoring situation," she said. "She's so talented. She just has natural talent.

"And we don't have a lot of Inuit artists living in Winnipeg so it's really exciting when you find someone."

Sheppard was also mentored during the creation of her piece by Graffiti Art Programming and Synonym Art Consultation as part of the 2018 Wall-to-Wall mural and culture festival.

Kailey Sheppard poses in front of her mural, which will remain on display for about a year and a half during construction of the Inuit Art Centre. (Gary Solilak/CBC)

The mural, painted on sheets of plywood, features northern sea creatures on colourful, serpentine waves which also echo the northern lights. (Gary Solilak/CBC)

New pic
Flurry of activity happening down there

758 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Building a legacy: Construction of the Inuit Art Centre
By: Mike Deal
Posted: 01/16/2019 7:19 PM

On Wednesday, Free Press photographer Mike Deal captured the construction progress to date on the Winnipeg Art Gallery’s ambitious Inuit Art Centre.

Construction on the complex, located directly south of the existing art gallery, began last May. When completed, the $65-million complex will house the largest public collection of contemporary Inuit art in the world.

The four-storey, 40,000-square-foot centre, which was designed by Michael Maltzan Architecture to evoke the northern landscape, will connect to the main gallery by bridges on all levels. It will feature exhibition spaces, a glass enclosed visible art vault, a conservation facility, art studios and interactive theatre.

The centre is scheduled to be completed in 2020, in time for the province’s 150th birthday.


758 Posts
Discussion Starter · #19 ·
'This is a game-changing museum': Winnipeg Art Gallery expansion promises to vault Inuit art to new heights

The WAG's $65M Inuit Art Centre will bring new stories to the forefront, say artists, curators

Bryce Hoye · CBC News · Posted: Mar 17, 2019 6:00 AM CT

Darlene Coward Wight holds up one of 7,500 sculptures in the WAG Inuit art vault. (Bryce Hoye/CBC)

Beneath the Winnipeg Art Gallery, Darlene Coward Wight unlocks and enters an underground vault full of treasures of the North that are destined to rise and take over the busy downtown street corner next year.

Above ground, bundled-up construction workers pour cement over lattices of rebar as two giant cranes extend into the sky, building the new Inuit Art Centre that will be home to some of the art currently hidden from public view in the vault.

PHOTOSInuit Art Centre to reveal beauty of the North in the south
Wight, the WAG's long-time curator of Inuit art, spends a lot of her time in the windowless basement Inuit art vault tending to 7,500 stone, bone, antler and ivory carvings from across the Arctic that line tall shelves.

"The big thrill of being a curator is that I get to touch stuff all the time and thoroughly enjoy it," she said after slipping on a pair of white handling gloves.

"Whalebone things, for example: you look at it, you think, 'Wow, that must be heavy.' And then you pick it up and it's light as a feather, because it's so porous and it's been in the ground for 200 years."

The Inuit Art Centre is under construction at the corner of St. Mary Avenue and Memorial Boulevard. It's projected to be finished in spring 2020. (Bryce Hoye/CBC)

That sense of texture is one thing that distinguishes a lot of Inuit art from the rest, and it won't be long before members of the public get a feel for some of the WAG's vast collection of nearly 14,000 pieces.

When complete, the gallery says the new centre will be home to a collection of contemporary Inuit art unlike any other in the world — and will bring new stories to the forefront.

"This is a game-changing museum," said WAG CEO and director Stephen Borys.

Construction begins on Winnipeg Art Gallery's Inuit Art Centre
Philanthropist 'astounded by the beauty' of WAG's collection makes $1M donation to Inuit Art Centre
Construction on the forthcoming $65-million Inuit Art Gallery is projected to finish in spring 2020, with the gallery opening to visitors that summer. Shovels hit the ground in May of last year, but only about $56 million in funding has been secured.

See the WAG's Inuit Art Centre promotional video:
Three levels of government have committed $35 million — $15 million each from the federal and provincial governments, and $5 million from the City of Winnipeg. Of the remaining $30 million needed, public and private partners have helped cover almost $21 million so far.

"This final year of the campaign is a critical year," said Borys.

"We're going to reach our goal, but it is important as the building goes up that not everyone thinks all the money is there."

Design inspired by land
Michael Maltzan Architecture's design for the gallery is inspired by northern landscapes.

Once done, passersby will see a building exterior that looks like a white wave of tundra snow undulating out toward at the corner of Memorial Boulevard and St. Mary Avenue.

The $65-million centre will house the largest collection of Inuit art in the world. (Michael Maltzan Architecture/Winnipeg Art Gallery)
The 40,000-square-foot centre, which will be connected to the WAG's existing space next door, will allow visitors to explore four levels, starting in the 5,000-square-foot glass atrium.

There, a three-storey-high glass vault will display the carvings that will be viewable from all sides, and visitors will be able to watch curators and museum staff work with the pieces.

The second level will include a 90-seat theatre capable of showcasing films and presentations from elders, performers and storytellers, but it will also have an interactive component.

A rendering of the visible vault of the Winnipeg Art Gallery's Inuit Art Centre. (Michael Maltzan Architecture/Winnipeg Art Gallery)

"We'll be able to connect a classroom in Winnipeg to a classroom in Rankin [Inlet] or Iqaluit," said Borys, overlooking the construction site from the WAG penthouse.

"We'll be able to kind of transport an elder carver right here for the kids to see."

That floor will also have a carving area, library and learning commons that will serve as an international education, development and research hub for curatorial internships and arts workers.

The third-floor will boast an 8,000-square-foot, 30-foot-high exhibition space for the largest Indigenous gallery in North America, Borys said.

Five indoor and two outdoor studios where students of all ages will learn about northern Indigenous culture will be located on the fourth floor.

Borys said the Inuit Art Centre will reflect the spirit of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission calls to action and help people understand the legacy of colonialism in the North.

"How do we tell that story? We tell it through the people who experienced that," said Borys.

For Inuk artists, that means reflecting on the legacy of the residential school system, forced relocation and more, he says.

"They're also documenting climate change," said Borys.

"They talk about the impact of mines and major developments going on. They talk about the shipping industry, tourism industry. They talk about it through their art."

Beginning of 'amazing phenomena'
The contemporary era of Inuit art began about 70 years ago.

Traditional nomadic living and subsistence hunting practices were changing amid the ongoing pressures of colonization. More and more Inuit people were forced to settle in permanent communities, losing their language and parts of their cultural heritage in the process. Many were confronted with a new reality.

"There was really nothing to do to make money," said Wight. "Arts and crafts just filled that gap in just such an amazing way."

Carvings currently in the WAG's Inuit art vault. The new art centre will let the gallery bring pieces like this to the public. (Bryce Hoye/CBC)
Carvings of shamans, mythical creatures, polar bears, seals, muskox, caribou, walruses and other northern wildlife dominated much of the era.

It was a successful Inuit exhibit in Montreal in 1949 that really thrust the art into the spotlight around the world, said Wight.

"It was really the beginning of an amazing phenomenon," Wight said. "The media and collectors just went crazy over these stone pieces."

Inuit art curator wants to bring traditional art back to Nunavut
National collection enriched by close to 1,000 works of Inuit art
Living in harmony with the land remains a common theme, though the body of Inuit artwork continues to expand beyond carvings. About 6,000 prints, drawings, ceramics, textiles and dolls will also be displayed when the centre opens.

Increasingly northern artists are also experimenting with film, writing, sound, photography, performance and a variety of mediums to reflect how life in the North has changed.

Hand-crafted dolls sport clothing made of caribou skin and fur. (Gary Solilak/CBC)
"There are a number of artists that are really interested in showing not just the romantic side of living in the Arctic but some of the darker sides, some of the social problems like suicide, substance abuse," said Wight.

"You're still seeing the traditional stories being told, but they're being told in very modern ways."

All-Inuit team of curators
Four Inuk guest curators will put on the Inuit Art Centre's inaugural exhibit, titled INUA, that will explore the future of Inuit art.

The lead guest curator is Heather Igloliorte, co-chair of the WAG's Indigenous advisory circle, and an associate professor at Concordia University who holds the school's research chair in Indigenous art history and community engagement.

Winnipeg Art Gallery names 4 curators for Inuit Art Centre's 1st exhibitions
Emerging curators and artists Kablusiak (also known as Jade Nasogaluak Carpenter), Krista Ulujuk Zawadski and Asinnajaq round out the group.

In what the WAG calls a first for any exhibit, each of the curators is from one of the four different regions of the Canadian Arctic.

"In lots of things that we consume, we're looking for little pieces of truth of the world, and I think that it's really honest to have more than one curator," said Asinnajaq.

"It means more than one perspective, taking in more than one view of the world."

She produced the 2017 short film Three Thousand, which chronicles how quickly Western institutions and value systems rendered traditional life in the North almost unrecognizable.

But there's a challenge in the new art centre too, she says. Winnipeg isn't the home territory of the art that will fill the centre, which will require both the gallery and Inuk artists to work to ensure they're maintaining relationships with each other over time.

'Towards that path of reconciliation'
Igloliorte is excited about the leadership opportunities the Inuit Art Centre will provide to a new generation of Inuit curators so they have more of a say in the interpretation of that work.

She said museums have long been complicit in colonization, from displaying human remains to questions over theft of cultural objects.

"There have also been long histories of many diverse voices not getting the opportunity to be represented in institutions that collect mostly European art, mostly historical art, mostly white male work from Europe," she said.

The head of a muskox figurine made of bone peeks out from one of the many tall shelves in the vault that contains 7,500 pieces of art. (Bryce Hoye/CBC)

She's confident the Inuit Art Centre will be a step in the right direction.

"In Canada, especially in the post-TRC world that we are in, we have an obligation to do better, and to be more representative and to be more welcoming," she said.

"If the Winnipeg Art Gallery has the world's largest collection of Inuit art, then the Inuit Art Center goes a long way towards that path of reconciliation."

It's no secret the art world runs on trends, and Asinnajaq said she feels there is a revived interest in Inuit art right now.

"It always feels like there's a clock ticking, and you wonder, 'When will we go out of trend again?'" she asked.

"But knowing that we're going to have this centre means we know we'll have somewhere as long as that building is standing to share and showcase our voice."
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