Million-dollar donation made to WAG’s Inuit Art Centre

Artist impression of planned Inuit Art Centre at the Winnipeg Art Gallery. WAG

A Winnipeg Art Gallery development received a big financial boost Friday, as a $1 million gift was made toward its Inuit Art Centre.

“The WAG’s Inuit Art Centre will be a true jewel in the crown of Winnipeg,” said Louise Leatherdale, who, with her late husband Doug, was responsible for the $1 million donation.

“With its remarkable and extensive collection of Inuit art and now with a building that will truly show the world this collection, we are thrilled to see the Centre act as a catalyst for promoting and raising awareness of Inuit art, artists, and culture to a much wider national and global audience.”

Leatherdale, who runs Leatherdale Farms, a premier Hanoverian horse farm near Minneapolis, has deep connections to Winnipeg. Doug, who died in 2015, was born in Morden and attended the University of Winnipeg before moving to Minnesota for a business career.

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The Leatherdale family has a long history of philanthropy on both sides of the border, including a donation to the Assiniboine Park Zoo’s polar bear conservation centre in 2015.

“The Winnipeg Art Gallery’s Inuit Art Centre wouldn’t be where it is today without the generosity of people like Doug and Louise Leatherdale,” said WAG director Dr. Stephen Borys. “They are champions of the Centre, stepping forward to create a platform for Inuit who use their voice and language to share their stories with the world.

READ MORE: Zoo’s polar bear conservation centre gets new name

The Inuit Art Centre, expected to open in 2020, will be a one-of-a-kind, 40,000-square foot collection of Inuit art, as well as offering education in Inuit history, culture and art.

The WAG, Canada’s oldest civic art gallery, currently holds in trust the world’s largest public collection of contemporary Inuit art.

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