The Honourable Janice Filmon, C.M., O.M.
Lieutenant Governor of Manitoba
Thursday, May 2, 2019 – 5:00 p.m.
Welcome, lovers and leaders in the Winnipeg art community.
We are gathered on Treaty One land, on the traditional territory of the Anishinaabe and the homeland of the Metis people.
For many of you, this celebration will be a reunion with old friends – and I’m not just talking about your fellow Associates of the Winnipeg Art Gallery.
For the last year, visitors to Government House have been delighted by 22 art works on loan from the WAG – including a stunning collection of Inuit sculptures.
As great art does, these works have provoked conversation, altered perceptions, and stimulated reflection among thousands of visitors to Government House.
I imagine more than a few of you enjoyed the opportunity to revisit these treasures tonight.
What these works of art do for Government House and the many Manitobans who attend events here, the Winnipeg Art Gallery does for all of Manitoba.
But as dedicated volunteers at the WAG, you hardly need to be convinced about the value of art. You see demonstrations of that every time you visit the gallery and every time you go to work as an ambassador for art. You see the delight and discovery on the faces of people encountering works of vision, curiosity, craft and courage.
So I would like to point out the value of the leadership you provide in our community.
We can try to express the value of your leadership in numbers: the nearly one million dollars that the Associates have raised for the Winnipeg Art Gallery over the years or the thousands of hours of volunteer time donated to special events, the 900 studio scholarships awarded, the more than 1,800 art works acquired.
Or we can try to imagine what things might look like without your leadership and that of previous Associates.
Without the work of volunteers who’ve been building a solid community of support for art in Winnipeg for 70 years, would that stunning gallery on Broadway have been built back in 1971?
And without the work of the current generation of Associates, would we now be watching with anticipation as the world’s most important Inuit Art Centre rises?
We may never know all the results of your leadership. What works of imagination will arise ten or twenty years from now as a result of encounters with art that you are making possible?
Your work as supporters and ambassadors of art allows Manitobans today and in the future to have bigger dreams.
Art is a voice! Powerful!
Thank you for your dedication to our province and to the human imagination.