Winnipeg Art Gallery’s Inuit Art Centre receives donation of $1 million

By Nik Kowalski

The Inuit Art Centre will become the largest public collection of contemporary Inuit art in the world. The site sits next to the Winnipeg Art Gallery on Oct. 18, 2018./ NIK KOWALSKI


A future innovative art exhibit that will provide educational experiences and cultural understanding to its consumers has received a generous gift.

On Oct.5, 2018, it was announced that the Winnipeg Art Gallery (WAG) would be receiving a $1 million donation toward the Inuit Art Centre (IAC) from Louise Leatherdale and her late husband, Doug Leatherdale.

“We are thrilled to see the Centre act as a catalyst for promoting and raising awareness of Inuit art, artists, and culture to a much wider national and global audience,” Leatherdale said in a WAG news release.

Construction began in May for the IAC, a 40,000-square-foot, four-storey building that is set to open in 2020, Manitoba’s 150th birthday.

Once finished, the building will stand at the northwest corner of the Osborne Street and St. Mary Avenue intersection and will connect to all four levels of the WAG through bridges.

The estimated $65 million project will become the largest public collection of contemporary Inuit art in the world and is aiming to elevate the art from object to experience.

Among those experiences will be features like Inuit elders directly offering personal stories, a two-level interactive theatre, visible glass art vault, a conservation facility, virtual reality exhibits and more.

The main level of the IAC — which is where the glass vault is located — offer free admission. For some Red River College students, this feature is intriguing.

“I think it’s cool. I’d be more inclined to go if I didn’t have to pay,” says 19-year-old Network Services Technician student, Zack Ward.

The IAC will also add to Winnipeg’s tourist attractions.

“I think it’s a good idea to have free access. Winnipeg needs more tourist attractions, especially downtown,” says Business Administration student, Chanel Elenbaas. “I would check out the main floor, and then see if I’d like to pay and go inside the whole building.”

Education for younger Manitobans about Indigenous history is increasing. The University of Winnipeg implemented a mandatory Indigenous studies course requirement for first-year students in 2016 and the IAC is planning to further that notion. They aim to use art as a voice to show those the history of Inuit art, as well as the contemporary art.

To fulfill the museum’s future plans, the WAG is asking for anyone to consider sending a donation to help out Canada’s Inuit Art Centre.


Donations are being accepted online at