Every month, we ask different participants of our Leadership Winnipeg class to blog about their experience.
Yet again, our Leadership Winnipeg class had the privilege of getting a behind-the-scenes look into Winnipeg’s arts and culture sector. The organizations we had the pleasure of hearing from are long-standing pillars in our community, and do a fabulous job supporting Winnipeg’s international reputation for creativity.
Our day began at the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre (RMTC). Talent, hard work and creativity was present everywhere – even in the building itself, which is brutalist architecture at its finest.
We were able to live many actors’ dreams when we engaged in an intimate discussion with long-time RMTC Artistic Director Steven Schipper, who recently announced his upcoming retirement. Steven spoke of his climb to the top of the Canadian theatre world and described how his leadership style has evolved throughout his career.
We were taken into what felt like a different world as we entered RMTC’s prop room. It was intriguing to hear about creative-problem solving required to build props and sets for theatre. These issues would likely never arise in other types of construction, which speaks to the specialty skills the RMTC staff have honed.
Next, we heard from a performing, visual arts and culture panel, which consisted of local leaders from Manitoba Museum, Winnipeg Art Gallery, Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra and RMTC. These organizations are each in the midst of transformation, working to maintain the cultural gems Winnipeggers know and love, and simultaneously evolve with society and technology. It was very exciting to hear about visionary projects that will raise Winnipeg’s profile even further.
We finished with a panel of leaders in the music, film and television industries. It was eye-opening to hear their views on Winnipeg’s potential to rival other major Canadian cities, and learn what brought them here in the first place – and what keeps them here.
To summarize, the day was enlightening. As some forms of art become more accessible via technology, it can be easy to take for granted what truly connects us as a society.
Leadership Winnipeg is grateful for the support of our Vision Partners
Every month, we ask different participants of our Leadership Winnipeg class to blog about their experience.
Leadership Winnipeg dedicated its most recent session to exploring arts and culture in our city. The class was hosted at the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre, and we were lucky to get a behind-the-scenes tour of the building.
Elaborate set pieces are made on site, with unexpected materials used to make furniture lighter and easier to move. The prop room is filled with unique finds that can be reused for future shows. We even got to go below the stage and see the magic of how their trapdoors work!
The day began with a talk from Steven Schipper, Artistic Director of the Royal MTC. He is a down-to-earth leader who gave some exceptional advice. Steven recognizes there are many types of leaders and it is an evolving process. In his definition a leader is “someone who doesn’t sleep until all the people they are responsible for can sleep securely.”
A panel of local arts leaders filled us in on the current civic culture affairs and the importance of these organizations to our city. I spent a lot of time at the Manitoba Museum growing up, so I was excited to hear from Heather Laser, Director of Philanthropy, how they will be upgrading the exhibits to be more interactive and will include a new Winnipeg exhibit to reflect our city’s diversity. Similarly, the Winnipeg Art Gallery will be working on a new project in time for Manitoba’s 150th anniversary in 2020 with the opening of the Inuit Art Gallery. The arts and culture institutions work in partnership with each other with a common goal of elevating our society.
The day ended with a panel of participants in the music, film and TV sector in Winnipeg. It was exciting to hear all the talent that resides in Winnipeg. Leslea Mair of Zoot Pictures chose to relocate her company here from Saskatchewan, which I think speaks to the desirability of this city.
The theme of the day was that arts and culture is important to the well-being of a society. We are lucky to be living in a city that has so much to offer and continues to challenge itself to grow.
Leadership Winnipeg is grateful for the support of our Vision Partners
The Manitoba Museum is in the midst of a transformation. Our Chair, Johanna Hurme, visited the beloved cultural gem with CEO Claudette Leclerc to get an update and a sneak peek at their next steps...
Johanna Hurme: Great to be here and tour the Museum with you Claudette. What are we looking at here?
Claudette Leclerc: This image captures the three-step Capital Renewal Vision of the Manitoba Museum as it was envisioned in 2009 as result of extensive community consultations.
JH: I understand you’ve completed the first step of the plan?
CL: Yes, our expanded and renewed Alloway Hall opened in March 2017 and has already hosted our massive Manitoba Day celebrations, a number of special and travelling Canada 150 exhibitions, as well as the World’s Giant Dinosaurs exhibition, while also providing a rentals space for corporate events.
JH: That makes a lot of sense - a lot of NGOs need alternative revenue sources. That’s entrepreneurial and should be celebrated as a good way to be sustainable.
CL: Thank you. We’ve balanced our budget for 25 years, and we’re the first museum in Canada to be accredited by Imagine Canada.
JH: You mentioned community consultations – what else came out of that?
CL: What we heard – and what we already knew - was that after nearly 50 years, the Museum Galleries are tired and the Manitoba story needs to be updated. We have 56,000 square feet of gallery space and its very costly to keep them up to date.
We also learned that Manitobans are really interested in science. One-third of our attendees come to the Science Gallery and its only 6,000 sq feet. We would like to establish a stand-alone Science Centre that celebrates the science-based innovative industries of this province.
JH: This was the first museum I visited as a high school international exchange student. I felt the whole history of Manitoba really came alive. I remember walking through and being surrounded by the history – the city, immersed in the First Nations history – it was really powerful.
CL: Indigenous people had a very successful society before Europeans arrived, and we want to do a better job of connecting with that past. Step 2 of our Renewal project, Bringing Our Stories Forward, will help us tell those stories better, and we want to tell the contemporary story of Indigenous people too.
JH: It just feels like it is about time the Indigenous story gets updated from all kinds of different parts of society. I’m glad you are taking the lead on that - providing a proper stage so people ‘get it.’
Which is the first Gallery slated for renewal?
CL: The first gallery we’re going to renew as part of the Stories Project is the Nonsuch Gallery. We’re turning the story around so that instead of the Nonsuch leaving Deptford England, the ship has just arrived back from Hudson Bay so the sailors can share stories of meeting and trading with Indigenous people.
JH: It’s amazing how the smell of the ship takes you back.
CL: Yes, and we will ensure that the senses are engage with scent, sounds and visuals using interactive digital media to help tell the stories of the sailors returning from the New World. The gallery will be closing January and reopening in June.
JH: It’s a very impressive schedule you’re planning.
CL: We’re on a schedule to complete the entire Renewal project in time for 2020 when the Hudson`s Bay Company celebrates 350, and this coincides with Manitoba’s 150 and the Museum’s 50th anniversary. It makes sense that we complete our renewal in time for these anniversaries. It’s a huge job.
JH: It’s so unique to see this kind of exhibit, a whole ship in a museum. You really should be so proud. What other galleries will be updated?
CL: Next up will be the Winnipeg Gallery which has two parts. Winnipeg is such an interesting and dynamic city. The Winnipeg Gallery will tell the story of Winnipeg as a meeting place and settlement for thousands of years. We will tell more contemporary stories with an immersive multi-media environment, and in the Urban Gallery we’ll have new approaches to storytelling while still placing authentic artifacts at the core of the experience.
JH: Is the Urban Gallery the little town?
CL: That’s right. It was always meant to be Winnipeg 1920 but the space has bit of an abandoned feel. We want to enliven it with people sounds, projections, audio - so it feels populated. We also want to include the women’s right to vote story, as well as the Winnipeg General Strike.
JH: So we have the Nonsuch and Winnipeg Galleries to look forward to, what else?
CL: The Grasslands Gallery opened in 1971 and while some exhibits have been renewed the entire 6,000 sq foot gallery is under review. While some exhibits like the log cabin and tipi will stay with enhanced interpretation, there will be many changes in this area. We have a lot of research and community consultation to complete over the next two years, talking with Indigenous communities and updating the immigration story.
JH: We’ve had so much immigration since 1945, it’s vital to tell more stories of more recent waves of immigration.
CL: Yes and we’re consulting with those groups to find ways to bring their stories into the Museum. With over 300,000 visitors and 80,000 student visits we have a diverse community to connect with.
JH: Perfect. I love that idea. I can’t wait to see how it all turns out. I feel any Winnipegger or Manitoban who has visited this museum will find their own story inside - hopefully even more so with these updates – so they can feel ‘I am connected to this place no matter where I come from.’ We all came from somewhere, and it’ll be really nice to see the Museum come to life again in a new way.
CL: Thank you. The Museum is a real jewel in our community and we hope it`s been a place of pride. With updating the Museum and the stories we tell, we can build more pride, especially with the Indigenous community and newcomers who can see their stories reflected here.
JH: In closing I have to say how important it is we have a Museum that expresses a general understanding and appreciation for how the human and natural worlds coexist. How important it is that we share other perspectives – the variety and diversity – that’s the beauty of Canada.
This is such a rich community. The quality of life you can afford to have here. It feels like anything is possible. You can, with a bit of sweat and effort, make almost anything happen and I think that’s what you guys are doing here every day.
CL: Thank you Johanna, I think that sums it up really well.
In September 2016, The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Canadian Heritage launched a cultural policy review to explore how to strengthen the creation, discovery and export of Canadian content in a digital world.
Approximately 30,000 Canadians demonstrated an interest in the Government of Canada's #DigiCanCon consultations, engaging through in-person events, a web portal and on social media – vital input that helped Canada launch its Creative Canada Policy Framework earlier this autumn.
The Winnipeg Chamber is an enthusiastic supporter of our city’s and country’s creative sectors. The arts, culture and heritage industries contribute almost $55 billion to the Canadian economy each year, and there are more than 630,000 people working in those sectors right now across Canada. To put that in perspective, that is roughly equivalent to the entire size of Manitoba’s economy, both in terms of economic output and in terms of workers.
Our Manitoba BOLD featured several recommendations on how to grow those sectors. One of those recommendations was for our province to join the federal government in reviewing and modernizing arts and culture policies – a move announced in late March 2017 that The Chamber engaged with a submission.
In our submission, we advocate for STEAM not STEM education in our schools. (STEAM standing for science, technology, engineering, arts and math). We encouraged the development of the West Exchange district as a creative cluster – a neighbourhood that has great potential to grow as a creative hub, especially as the federal government has indicated they will be increasing investments into creative hubs going forward as part of the Creative Canada Policy Framework.
The framework is quite comprehensive. In addition to creative hub funding, a new Creative Export Fund will be launched in 2018, joining Canada’s first cultural trade mission in an effort to export our cultural products to the world.
There is lots of change at the federal and provincial levels (not mention the City of Winnipeg) in regards to cultural policy and we urge Winnipeggers to join us on Tuesday, November 14 when Minister Joly comes to Winnipeg for a special luncheon and fireside chat to discuss Creative Canada: Vision for Canada's Creative Industries in the Digital Age. Now is the time for all three levels of government to work together so we can leverage our many strengths and build the creative economy here in Winnipeg.
For 70 years, the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra has been a leading voice for culture in our city; a champion of Winnipeg's artistic identity and soul in a rapidly changing world.
On September 29 we're thrilled to celebrate their leadership - as well as the individual leadership of Music Director Alexander Mickelthwate - at our first luncheon of our season Leading Teams to Harmony. We certainly expect engaging personal reflections on leadership from one of Winnipeg's most charismatic advocates, along with lessons for businesses that come when you thrive over seven decades of change.
Check out this brief timeline to see some of the highlights from your Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra. (This timeline first appeared on the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra 70th Anniversary Season website)
1948: The newly incorporated WSO performs its first concert on Thursday December 16.
1949: Winnipeg-born cellist Zara Nelsova performs as special guest with the WSO in November
1950: Initial Symphony Ball held at the Winnipeg Auditorium; attendance: over 2000, plus 100 musicians, largest number ever assembled for one social function in Winnipeg’s history, January 12
1951: Pops concerts added to WSO schedule; Walter Kaufmann marries Winnipeg pianist Freda Trepel, June 28
1952: Kaufmann starts a series of concerto workshops for young gifted local soloists, which gave the budding artists an opportunity to rehearse and perform informally with an orchestra
1954: Winnipeg-born cellist Zara Nelsova returns to perform as special guest with the WSO in December
1955: First Symphony Week: three half-hour noon concerts: two held at provincial legislature, third at city hall including Mayor George Sharpe, provincial treasurer Ron Turner and Barbara Mano Vieira, the reigning Miss Hawaii
1956: Pianist Glenn Gould performs as special guest with the WSO, January & December
1957: Walter Kaufmann’s final concert including Schubert’s Rosamunde Overture, Mozart’s Oboe Concerto and Mendelssohn’s Symphony No. 5, January 17
1958: Victor Feldbrill starts as Music Director; WSO more than doubled its annual performances from 17 to 37
1959: Pianist Glenn Gould returns to perform as special guest with WSO, October (his first ever performance of Brahms’s Piano Concerto No. 1, of which a CD of this performance was recently released).
1961: Cellist Leonard Rose performs as special guest, February
1962: WSO now playing 12 subscription concerts (there are nearly as many Sunday afternoon Pops, and four times as many school concerts)
1963: WSO makes first visit to Saskatchewan with Feldbrill conducting, January
1966: Arthur Polson becomes concertmaster of the WSO; WSO returns to Saskatchewan on tour
1967: WSO Celebrates 20 years; Cellist Jacqueline du Pré performs as special guest, March; Violinist David Oistrakh performs as special guest with Arthur Fielder conducting, December
1968: Last season in the Winnipeg Auditorium; The WSO performs first concert in the Centennial Concert Hall led by Feldbrill, March 27; George Cleve starts as Music Director
1969: Manitoba Planetarium synchronized moon-landing footage with the WSO’s performance of Gustav Holst’s suite The Planets, November
1970: Piero Gamba leads the WSO on tour in Ottawa and Toronto, November
1971: Piero Gamba officially starts as Music Director
1972: WSO launches its season with the first of many Concerts in the Park and drew 15,000 people, the largest audience to attend an arts presentation in the province’s history to date, Labour Day weekend. Cellist Mstislav Rostropovich performs as special guest, February
1973: WSO begins “An Evening in Old Vienna”
1974: Comedy legend Victor Borge performs as special Pops guest, February
1975: Violinist Itzhak Perlman performs as special guest, May
1976: Kirill Kondrashin appears as special guest conductor, April; Free Dominion Day concert at Manitoba legislature with Gamba conducting, July 1
1978: WSO tours in Cornwall, Kingston, Barrie, Niagra Falls, Kitchener and Ottawa, March-April
1979: WSO performs at Carnegie Hall, New York City, March 3
1981: Violinist Yehudi Menuhin performs as special guest, March
1982: Barry Tuckwell performs as special guest conductor and horn player, November
1983: Kazuhiro Koizumi starts as Music Director
1984: Pianist Mark Zeltser performs as special guest, September
1985: Robert Shaw performs as special guest conductor, January
1986: Violinist Midori performs as special guest, December
1987: WSO Concertmaster Gwen Hoebig appointed
1988: Violinist James Ehnes makes his WSO debut as special guest, October
1989: Bramwell Tovey starts as Music Director
1991: WSO tests the waters for the feasibility of a New Music Festival with a pair of events called A Portrait of Sophie-Carmen Eckhardt-Grammatté, Jan & Feb
1992: The WSO’s New Music Festival debuts in January with Artistic Director Bramwell Tovey & first WSO Composer-in-Residence Glenn Buhr
1993: Henry Mancini performs as special Pops guest, November
1994: During a New Music Festival concert, the stage lights burned out and left dancers in the dark. They didn’t stop the performance and Hugh Conacher, technical director, fixed the problem in a matter of two or three minutes.
1995: WSO’s morning concert series at the MB Cancer Treatment & Research Foundation began during the Christmas season. A similar program is now known as Artists in Healthcare.
1996: Piero Gamba returns for special guest conductor appearance, May; Randolph Peters becomes second composer-in-residence.
1997: WSO Celebrates 50 years; Robert Shaw returns as special guest conductor, February
1999: WSO had its first “Summer Season” including a concert at The Forks and in Kenora, the first time it performed outside the province in 20 years
2001: WSO makes debut at Winnipeg Folk Festival with conductor Michael Hall, violinist Mark O’Connor, erhu soloist George Gao, folk group Oregon & guitarist Oscar Lopez, July;
2002: Andrey Boreyko starts as Music Director; Return to Manitoba legislature for a gala concert celebrating a visit by Queen Elizabeth II, October; WSO’s New Music Festival celebrates 10 years
2004: WSO goes on a northern tour to The Pas, Flin Flon, Thompson, Gillam and Churchill with Boreyko
2006: WSO welcomes current Music Director Alexander Mickelthwate; Violist Elsie Chrunyk retires after a remarkable 52-year term that has been matched by few musicians anywhere
2010: WSO’s New Music Festival celebrates 20 years; Boreyko returns to conduct the WSO, February
2011: Sistema Winnipeg, a revolutionary music program based on the El Sistema model in Venezuela, begins, October; WSO travels to Ottawa for Prairie Scene Festival
2012: WSO celebrates its 65th Anniversary
2013: Julian Pellicano is appointed Resident Conductor
2014: The WSO travels to New York to perform at Carnegie Hall for a second time in the Spring for Music Festival, May
2015: Mayor Brian Bowman tries his hand at conducting the WSO in Beethoven’s 5th Symphony, January
2016: The Winnipeg New Music Festival celebrates 25 years, featured composer is David Lang. WSO transforms Pan Am Pool into a concert venue, January
2016: Harry Stafylakis is appointed Composer-in-Residence and WNMF Festival Curator
2016: Violin super star Joshua Bell opens the 2016-2017 Season
2017: The WSO celebrates its 70th Anniversary