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News / July 15, 2013

Winnipeg Art Gallery Makes Surplus & Attendance Gains

A view of the Winnipeg Art Gallery / photo A.J. Batak under Creative Commons A view of the Winnipeg Art Gallery / photo A.J. Batak under Creative Commons

The Winnipeg Art Gallery is marking its 100th anniversary year with the announcement of its second-highest exhibition attendance ever and the third-largest surplus in its history.

The near-record attendance of some 30,000 visitors was set during the Norman Rockwell exhibition “American Chronicles”, which ran from March 2 to May 27, 2012. The WAG’s highest-ever exhibition attendance remains held by “Art in the Age of Van Gogh: Dutch Paintings from the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam,” which attracted nearly 40,000 visitors between May 16 and July 11, 1999.

The 2012/2013 surplus is $162,419, bested only by the 1998/1999 and 1999/2000 surpluses, which were $255,267 and $317,817 respectively—also related, at least in part, to the aforementioned Van Gogh exhibition.

WAG director and CEO Stephen Borys said in a release that he hopes the gallery’s current blockbuster “100 Masters: Only in Canada” will break the Van Gogh record. Between May 11 and June 26, or roughly the first five weeks of the show, “100 Masters” saw 17,000 people visit. The show, which features works by Rembrandt, Warhol and Picasso alongside canvases by Canadians Emily Carr, Wanda Koop and Tom Thomson, runs until August 18.

“Our school tours sold out even before the exhibition opened,” Borys said in the release. “This exhibition was a tremendously ambitious project for the WAG to undertake, and we couldn’t be happier with the response from the community.”

Leah Sandals

Leah Sandals is a writer and editor based in Toronto. Her arts journalism has appeared in the Toronto Star, National Post and Globe and Mail, among other publications, and her creative work has been published in Prism, Room and Freefall. She can be reached via