The Honourable Janice Filmon, C.M., O.M.
Lieutenant Governor of Manitoba
Monday, November 5, 2018, 5:00 p.m.
Allies and aficionados of art, members of Canada’s arts funding community, welcome to Government House and this celebration of your role in nurturing creativity.
We are gathered on Treaty One land, on the traditional territory of the Anishinaabe and the homeland of the Metis people.
Here in Government House, we’re just a short walk from a meeting place, at the Forks of the Red and Assiniboine Rivers, where people have been sharing stories, songs, images and other creations for thousands of years.
In Manitoba, where the native tallgrass prairie extends roots three metres or more into the soil, the arts also have deep roots.
Here in Winnipeg we have the oldest permanently operating theatre company in Canada – Cercle Moliere – and the oldest civic art gallery – the Winnipeg Art Gallery. And it was in this city where representatives of Canada’s public arts funding bodies first formed your organization.
Throughout this city and province we have artists in all disciplines developing their talents and their practice, reaching new audiences and helping to inspire new generations to imagine and create.
As individual artists or as artists involved with established galleries, theatre or dance companies or music groups, many of these artists are sustained by public arts funding bodies.
So it is a great pleasure to welcome representatives of Canada’s public arts funding organizations to Manitoba, home of so many artists and so many lovers of the arts.
As stewards of cultural funding, you have a difficult and challenging task.
Public arts funding can provide stability to an organization. It can provide an individual artist with the chance to buy a little time to create.
It can provide artists with the encouragement that their ideas and experiences matter.
Because it means so much when you say Yes, it must also be very difficult at times to say No.
I have long thought of the power of the word “Yes.” Each of you said Yes to a big challenge when you took on your current position.
And your positive response to that leadership challenge creates new possibilities for our country’s artists.
Thank you for the leadership you provide and the inspiration you help to fuel. Merci. Meegwich.