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News in Brief: Inuit Art Centre Secures $10 Million and More

After two years of uncertainty, the Winnipeg Art Gallery's Inuit Art Centre finally secures promised funding from the provincial government

The Winnipeg Art Gallery’s Inuit Art Centre will receive $10 million over five years from the Government of Manitoba. Premier Brian Pallister’s decision, which is not yet public, alleviates two years of “anxious uncertainty” for the gallery, according to the Winnipeg Free Press. Sources told the publication that the premier’s decision was based on recognizing that the province’s investment “made the WAG’s project too good to pass up.” So far $50 million committed towards funding the $65 million gallery has come from a combination of private donations and funding from the City of Winnipeg. The former NDP government promised provincial funding in 2015, but “no money changed hands.” Ground-breaking is pending for a 2020 completion, according to a WAG press release, which coincides with Manitoba’s 150th birthday. The 40,000-square-foot building will house the WAG’s 13,000-piece strong collection of contemporary Inuit art, the world’s largest. (Winnipeg Free Press)

Can the old Royal Alberta Museum building be saved? “Back in March 2016, Alberta Infrastructure put out an RFP, a request for proposals, to tear down the magnificent modernist structure in the heart of Old Glenora, and turn it into green space,” writes Paula Simons in the Edmonton Journal. “The building is a truly important piece of heritage architecture, crafted of marble and Tyndall stone and granite, brass and solid oak. It’s home to a remarkable collection of mid-century modern statuary, much of which is literally part of the building itself. But it’s also full of asbestos. And lead. And mould. The roof leaks. It needs a new HVAC system and new elevators.” A public consultation is now in process. (Edmonton Journal)

December 22 is the final day to see the CBC Museum in Toronto; after that, it will be shuttered. “The CBC Museum in the network’s broadcasting centre in Toronto will be shutting down on Friday and converted into a new studio for kids programming,” says CBC News. “Many of the hundred-plus items on display — microphones, cameras and other equipment — will be relocated to Ottawa. A small theatre which shows old CBC programming will also be closed.” (CBC Toronto)

Toronto’s Gardiner Museum announced it will host a Yoko Ono exhibition in February 2018. The Fluxus and conceptual artist’s exhibition “The Riverbed” will be “a quietly poetic call to action from the audience,” and a “living, evolving document of collective action,” according to the Toronto Star. It will feature works like Mend Piece, which invites viewers to literally string pieces of broken tableware back together, and Line Piece, which invites viewers to string twine through the gallery. (Toronto Star)

A group of Canadian artists and cultural workers is circulating a petition and solidarity statement with Palestinian artists in response to the US decision to recognize the city of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. The group said in an email that the US decision is illegal, since it violates “multiple resolutions by the United Nations Security Council and General Assembly on Jerusalem as part of occupied Palestinian and Arab lands.” Though the group welcomes the Canadian government’s decision to keep its embassy in Tel Aviv (rather than move it to Jerusalem), it’s disappointed in other ways. “In the wake of Canada’s 150 reckoning, when our government and nation have begun the hard work of confronting our own violent practices of colonization, Trudeau must summon the courage to show leadership on the international stage and integrity at home by supporting sanctions against Israel until it complies with international law,” the letter states. Some of the signatories so far include Rehab Nazzal, Richard Fung, John Greyson, Jamelie Hassan, Jayce Salloum and Wanda Nanibush. (via email)

The Toronto Media Arts Centre continues to be in legal limbo over its battle with a condo developer. “A judge has ruled against the City of Toronto’s efforts to block a media arts organization from occupying a space in a condo building, granting an injunction to the Toronto Media Arts Centre,” the Toronto Star reports. “Since 2015, the centre has been locked in a fight with the city to greenlight its agreement of purchase and sale of the 36,000-square-foot facility.” Groups involved include Charles Street Video and the Canadian Filmmakers Distribution Centre. The city says TMAC hasn’t raised anything in charitable donations towards the project, while TMAC says it has put more than $800,000 into the project so far. (Toronto Star)

The Exposure Festival has announced its 2018 dates and a program highlight. The Southern Alberta photography festival is slated to run more than 40 exhibitions from February 1 to 28, with a major public installation coming from Brooklyn: The Fence. (press release)

BlackFlash announced that its managing editor, Travis Cole, has stepped down after four years. He will be the new executive director at Paved Arts in Saskatoon. The Saskatoon-based photography- and new media–focused publication was founded in 1983, and is now seeking a new managing editor. (press release)

And case you missed it: Craft artists are concerned about a crisis in their largest Ontario service organization. (Canadian Art)

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