Manitoba Children's Museum's funding from the City of Winnipeg cut (Google StreetView)
We understand these times of fiscal restraint, but at the same time the importance of keeping the community whole and intrinsically, culturally vibrant.
—William Dowie, chair of City of Winnipeg Museums Board
City of Winnipeg museums have learned their grants may be
reduced by 10 per cent, as outlined in the city's draft budget of last
A dozen museums would be affected including the Manitoba Museum, St. Boniface Museum, Dalnavert Museum, Western Canadian Aviation Museum and the Ukrainian Cultural and Education Centre. The cuts would save the city a total of $358,362.
The Manitoba Children's Museum was doubly hit, as city funding they were expecting for their recent renovations will not be coming through. "I thought it had to be a mistake," says Diane Doth, the museum's executive director. "I couldn't believe that our museums in this city were being targeted in that manner."
The Manitoba Children's Museum is asking people to sign an e-petition demanding the city stop the funding cuts to museums.
William Dowie, chair of the City of Winnipeg Museums Board, will be making a presentation before the executive policy committee outlining the impact such a cut would have and also explaining the economic benefits and how museums contribute to Winnipeg's vibrant community. "We understand these times of fiscal restraint, but at the same time the importance of keeping the community whole and intrinsically, culturally vibrant."
Councillor Paula Havixbeck believes this proposed cut to museums was a mistake. "I think in hindsight we were wrong," she says. She is asking the committee to support a motion to reinstate the funding.
Manitoba Theatre for Young People also received a cut to its grant from the city. Artistic director Leslee Silverman says the cut is less than 5 per cent, or $2500. While she couldn't say specifically what would be affected by this cut, she did say she is concerned for the Aboriginal arts program, the work they do in schools and classes they offer children.
This cut does not come at a good time as the organization still owes $438,000 on its facility.
"We bring theatre to 58,000 kids and I think I just would like to be the gentle reminder that this city is built on more than streets and hockey," she said. "The arts are a critical necessity. The money needs to be going in the other direction. This isn't trivial at all."