By Lola Augustine Brown
Those with a passion for visual arts will not be disappointed when visiting Winnipeg, as there are a number of galleries, spaces, and regular events that allow you to engage and get close to the city’s vibrant local art scene.
If you’re in the city on the first Friday of the month, you can take part in a monthly art gathering that takes place around the Exchange District, where many artists and craftspeople have studios and working galleries. First Fridays, as the event is aptly named, is a cool concept that many cities across North American have embraced, which gives a party atmosphere as studios and galleries stay open late into the evening and may also offer up food and drinks to keep you fueled up as you take in all that art. At some studios and galleries there may also be live music, which adds to the sense of fun.
Because you’re visiting working studios on the First Fridays events, you can also observe the artists at work and they may give demonstrations of whatever it is they create (such as throwing a piece of pottery or working on jewelry). If you’re looking to buy art or gifts, often you’ll be able to pick up interesting pieces at much lower prices than you’d find at a store or bigger gallery space. As part of the First Fridays events, there are also monthly art lectures and organized art walks to help people get deeper into the local scene, visit the website for details.
Winnipeg Art Gallery
Throughout the year you’ll also find exciting events held at the Winnipeg Art Gallery, including artistically themed dinners at their rooftop restaurant, evenings where music and visual arts are combined, and various lectures and interactive talks where you can discover works from everyone from internationally recognized artists like Dali to Inuit artists from Canada’s northern provinces.
Visitors to Winnipeg in September can enjoy Nuit Blanche, a free all night art event where contemporary artists take over public spaces to create amazing pieces for the public to enjoy, and there are always excellent events, dinners, and parties that are programmed to coincide with the event.
Winnipeg has lots of other great smaller scale arts events that happen throughout the year, so no matter when you visit there are lots of opportunities to explore and engage with the scene there. Check local media for details, or consult the Winnipeg Arts Council website which has a billboard showcasing events in the city.
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