If you were asked which city is nicknamed the “cultural cradle of Canada” your first guess likely wouldn’t be Winnipeg; yet this prairie capital is home to one of the most vibrant art and culture scenes in the country. From contemporary urban murals to traditional First Nations art, Winnipeg’s art galleries showcase countless prominent international artists and ground-breaking emerging artists, many of whom can be counted among the city’s significant homegrown talent.
A mainstay in Winnipeg’s art community for more than 30 years, Warehouse Artworks showcases the work of local and regional artists. The gallery represents about 40 Manitoba artists, whose genres range from realist to abstract, using media including paintings, clay work, posters, prints and reproductions. In addition to exhibitions, this gallery is well-known for its exceptional framing services, with more than 1000 samples on-site to choose from. Warehouse Artworks is also a regular participant in Winnipeg’s First Fridays in the Exchange program, which features a new show opening on the first Friday of every month.
Urban Shaman is a national leader in Aboriginal art programming in Canada, exhibiting contemporary Aboriginal art in a variety of media. Previous exhibitors have included Lisa Myers, who used maps, sound, video, and other media to retrace the steps her grandfather took when he ran away from a residential school; and Keesic Douglas, whose mixed media installation examined the relationship between First Nations people and Canada’s fur trade. Aside from exhibitions, the gallery fosters the Aboriginal art community through workshops, residencies, curatorial initiatives and other programming.
La Maison Des Artistes Visuels Francophones (MDA) is an artist center that highlights the work of the local and regional francophone community. Set in the old City Hall, the gallery showcases works in a variety of media, including paintings, photography, drawings, sculptures and engravings. Aside from the main gallery, the MDA’s galerie communautaire (community gallery) is a space where MDA members can exhibit their work rent-free, helping them to gain exhibition experience, raise their profile in the artistic community, and sell their pieces to the public. The gallery also features an outdoor sculpture garden which is home to both permanent and temporary installations.
Established more than 30 years ago, Aceartinc is an artist-run centre dedicated to showcasing the work of emerging contemporary artists. The gallery features both solo and group exhibitions in media ranging from sculpture to photography. Previous exhibitions have included a video installation by Chantel Mierau which explored the conflicting comfort and discomfort of habits through imagery of weekly chores and insect life cycles, and a series by Dong Kyoon Nam which examined themes of consumption and waste through the incorporation of domestic electrical appliances.
Graffiti Gallery began as a safe place for Winnipeg’s youth to express themselves creatively, and grew into a youth community art center where young artists can work, learn, exchange ideas, and showcase their pieces. The works exhibited by the gallery are created by local and international artists of all ages, ranging from traditional art and Aboriginal art, to urban art and performance art. In addition to hosting exhibitions, the gallery offers numerous free community programmes for youth and their families. The gallery is part of the larger Graffiti Art Programming Inc., with several associated galleries found around Winnipeg, of which Graffiti Gallery is the main exhibition space.
Gurevich Fine Art focuses on exhibiting unique, original art in a range of media, created by local and international contemporary artists. Representing a diverse collection of styles and periods, the works showcased in this family-run gallery are chosen for their appeal to both experienced collectors and amateur art enthusiasts. The gallery presents new work from temporary exhibits, along with select works from their artists’ catalogues. More than 30 artists are represented by Gurevich Fine Art, including graffiti artist Cyrus Smith and digital artist Buffy Sainte-Marie.
Founded in 1972, Plug In began as an artist-run gallery that was, at the time, one of the first organizations in western Canada to focus on contemporary art. The gallery has gained world-wide recognition in the years since it first opened, now showcasing the work of both local and international artists. Through exhibitions in diverse media, lectures, and other events, the gallery aims to foster Manitoba’s unique artistic voice, as well as share some of the world’s best contemporary art works locally. The gallery frequently showcases interdisciplinary projects that blend television, sound and new media, architecture, film, and photography.
Opened in 1972, Loch Gallery specializes in 19th and 20th century fine art with an emphasis on Canadian, American, and European paintings and sculpture. Although the gallery focuses on historic and collectible art work, its collection spans all genres, time periods, and media. Loch Gallery represents several prominent Canada-based artists, including Anna Wiechec, Leo Mol and Peter Sawatzky. The gallery also offers art restoration, leasing and appraisals, and recently opened additional branches in Toronto and Calgary following its decades of success in Winnipeg.
Platform Gallery is an artist-run centre dedicated to the exhibition and study of photo-based and digital art. Opened in 1981, the gallery emphasises the fundamental traditions of this medium, while also promoting innovation that pushes the boundaries of contemporary photographic standards. It features both solo and group exhibitions, with some past exhibitions including a collection of photographic works by internationally-renowned artist Garry Neill Kennedy; and a group exhibition of photography and video/film work created by advanced students from the School of Art at the University of Manitoba.
Located in a heritage building in the historic Exchange District, Martha Street Studio focuses on print art produced by emerging, mid-career and established artists. Operated by the Manitoba Printmakers’ Association, the centre also offers rental space, equipment and public art classes in traditional and digital printing processes. Original print art is for sale in the building’s second-floor gallery, which also hosts six contemporary art exhibitions each year. Past exhibitions have included abstract print works by Shawn Reynar and photographs of Pripyat, a city in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone by David McMillan.