Government of Canada Provides Major Support for WAG’s ART EXPRESS’D/ART EXPRIMÉ

September 16, 2016

Cross-Canada Art Adventure Celebrates Canada 150

The Winnipeg Art Gallery is marking Canada’s 150th anniversary with ART EXPRESS’D/ART EXPRIMÉ, a coast-to-coast-to-coast artistic journey in summer 2017. The Government of Canada is providing $300,000 in funding for the project, which has been selected as a Canada 150 Signature Initiative, the only one to date organized by a major art gallery, and one of just two from Manitoba.

ART EXPRESS’D/ART EXPRIMÉ will see three 20-foot metal shipping containers transformed into mobile art studios traversing every province and territory via train, truck, and cargo ship over three months next summer. A nationwide search is currently on to find three contemporary artists to travel each of the three routes—southward, eastward, and westward—stopping in 15 communities, ultimately converging in Winnipeg, the heart of the country. Each artist will lead a collaborative art-making project designed to inspire the public to explore their visions of Canada.

“The 150th anniversary of Confederation will create many opportunities to celebrate Canada’s identity; its linguistic and cultural diversity; and the wealth of its history and heritage,” said the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Canadian Heritage. “In 2017, the Winnipeg Art Gallery’s project ART EXPRESS’D/ART EXPRIMÉ will call upon the arts to provide us with an original portrait of Canadian diversity. Thanks to these mobile art studios, 15 communities all across the country will be able to take part in unique activities as part of the 150th anniversary.”

The project highlights Canada’s unique natural geography and its linguistic and cultural diversity through artistic and digital experiences, while speaking to the country’s deeply-rooted history of travel, transport, exploration, and communication. The movement of people, goods, and information over vast distances and challenging terrain continues to define Canada today.

“ART EXPRESS’D/ART EXPRIMÉ will unite Canadians from across the country through the art of today,” states Dr. Stephen Borys, WAG Director & CEO. “Canada’s geography has been integral to its national narrative and the WAG is grateful to the Government of Canada for supporting this ambitious project celebrating our nation’s 150 birthday.”

The deadline to apply for the call for artists is September 30. 2016. Submissions can take shape in any medium, including painting, drawing, sculpture, film, textile, and multimedia, with a plan to create a collaborative, cumulative art piece. See for submission details.

Before starting their voyages, the exteriors of the three mobile art studios will be designed and painted in partnership with Graffiti Art Programming (GAP) and Art City. Today the public got a taste of what is to come with a pop-up work by Nereo II, a Winnipeg artist associated with Synonym Art Consultation Wall-to-Wall and GAP.

Building further excitement in the countdown to Canada’s 150th year, the Maplewish Mosaic project will be unveiled October 1 in time for the WAG’s Nuit Blanche celebration. A collaboration between the WAG and TakingITGlobal, the project identified 13 youth artists from each province and territory to create art representing their community. When combined, the pieces will form a large mosaic of the Canada 150 logo.

The WAG is grateful to its project partners to date: Government of Canada, Locher Evers International, and TakingITGlobal.