RBC donates $500K for new Inuit Art Centre in Winnipeg

The RBC Foundation said it is thrilled to donate $500,000 to help build the new Inuit Art Centre in Winnipeg.

Construction of $65-million gallery to begin next year

The proposed Inuit Art Centre at the WAG is seen in this artist's rendering. (Rendering by Michael Maltzan Architecture)

The RBC Foundation said it is thrilled to donate $500,000 to help build the new Inuit Art Centre in Winnipeg.

"We're incredibly honoured and proud to partner with the Winnipeg Art Gallery and the Inuit Art Centre," said Kim Ulmer, Royal Bank of Canada regional president for Manitoba, Saskatchewan and northwestern Ontario.

The facility will help bring the north and the south together, she said.

"The RBC gift is amazing," said WAG director and CEO Stephen Borys.

"It hits at the heart of this project which is supporting the artists, the Inuit artists, who create the work for the new Inuit art centre."

The new four-floor, 40,000-square-foot facility is estimated to cost $65 million — with $5 million coming from the City of Winnipeg and $15 million from the federal government.

The provincial government is still reviewing whether it will match federal funds and provide $15 million. The previous NDP government had pledged to contribute the money.

"We recognize the valuable economic and social contributions that cultural projects make to our community," said Indigenous and Municipal Relations Minister Eileen Clarke on Tuesday.

"Our government is developing a return on investment calculation by which infrastructure projects will be assessed. This tool will provide a comprehensive evaluation of all infrastructure projects through a financial, social and economic assessment."

The rest of fundraising for the WAG's new centre will come from private-sector donors.

When it's completed, the Inuit Art Centre will house the world's largest collection of Inuit art, including: 7,600 sculptures, dozens of hand-sewn wall hangings and more than 3,000 drawings and prints.

Groundbreaking is expected to begin in 2017.

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