WHO WE ARE?
The Art Gallery of Southwestern Manitoba is a community engaged contemporary art gallery that celebrates artistic excellence and diversity within our region and beyond. We believe that art is an essential element of what defines community, culture, and nation. As such, we are committed to the artists and deep art history of this land as we collectively work to understand the complexities and wonders of our lives and circumstances in this shared community.
The AGSM has been proudly serving Brandon and its surrounding region for 111 years. Founded in 1907 as the Brandon Art Club, the AGSM is Manitoba’s oldest centre for visual art and one of Canada’s first. From its beginning, the people of Brandon have seen the value of having art and creativity in their lives and their city, and we continuously work to earn that support in our mission to lead community transformation through contemporary art, education, and events.
The AGSM offers year round exhibitions in our Main and Community galleries featuring artwork from leading local, provincial, and national artists that often addresses the specifics of this place and encourages new understandings of our community. We also produce regular public events and offer a robust art education program offering tours, workshops and classes for children, teens, and adults at all skill levels.
As a not-for-profit, registered charitable organization, all of our main public programs are offered free of charge to the public, and our education programs operate on a cost-recovery basis (with 100% funded scholarships for youth facing financial barriers).
The Art Gallery of Southwestern Manitoba leads and inspires community engagement through contemporary art exhibitions, education, and events.
We are on Treaty 2 territory. The AGSM would like to acknowledge and honour the fact that we are on the traditional shared land of Cree, Oji-Cree, Anishinaabeg, Dakota, and Dene Peoples, and the homeland of the Métis Nation.
Strategic Direction 2017-2022
Statement of Responsibility as Future Ancestors
This plan is focused on our immediate goals, but it is also intended to honour the contribution of our ancestors and the history of hands that have guided this institution over the past one-hundred and ten years.
These words are offered as a seed. We believe that the choices we make today will continue to reverberate throughout our community for the next one-hundred and ten years. We acknowledge our responsibility as future ancestors to the culture and community we are a part of. This belief influences our choice of action. These guiding forces of connections, thoughtfulness, and support have built the pillars on which this institution stands, and we accept our ethical responsibility to help open a future of inclusion, belonging, strength, and creativity through the practice and support of contemporary art.
We recognize that these choices affect our future communities and future artists who will/have/had access to this space of art and culture.
This seed is offered for our future decisions, actions, and ancestors.
Over the next five years we will approach our programs with a spirit of radical experimentation. Experimentation that honours our current strengths and offers opportunities to strive towards innovative imaginings. We will continue to push the boundaries and definitions of art through our ongoing programs while also developing new opportunities for people to engage with contemporary art.
- Our priorities for new programs will be:
- Increasing leadership and representation from diverse artistic traditions
- Encouraging unexpected, radical, and/or new understandings of art
- New media programs and classes
- Skill building workshops for local artists
- Community led events
- Youth-directed and youth-led programs/classes
- Artist residencies
Over the next five years we will approach our community engagement through reciprocal exchange with the purpose of developing and maintaining long-term relationships. Art is an essential element of what defines community, culture, and nation. We are committed to the artists and deep art history of this land as we collectively work towards the betterment of our shared communities. The AGSM acknowledges the 94 calls to action brought forward by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. We will honour these calls to action by developing strategies for reconciliation with our own communities.
- Our goals and priorities in this area will be:
- To become a catalyst for rebuilding and strengthening relationships between Indigenous communities and the many diverse peoples who now make up Southwestern Manitoba
- To build new relationships with communities that are currently underserved by us (cultural, geographic, youth, and non-artists)
- To engage these communities in the development of our programs and outreach activities
- To extend our programming outside of the gallery through residencies and greater participation in community events and spaces
Over the next five years we will be undertaking a phased approach to facilities improvement with the aim of ushering in an era of transformation. This plan begins with a bold new entrance to the AGSM on Rosser Avenue. With a renewed exterior we will act as a beacon for cultural activity in downtown Brandon, provide street level access, increase awareness and visibility, and generate new opportunities for our programs to move fluidly between the exterior and interior of the Gallery. We will then conduct a needs assessment before renovating the interior of the gallery to ensure that we have the most functional and inspiring environment that we can.
The AGSM is powered by a collection of people who work with the shared purpose of advancing contemporary art. We have a responsibility to work with and nurture those individuals to expand our leadership in the downtown, in Brandon, in Manitoba, and in Canada. As the gallery continues to expand and excel we will invest in our staff as much as they invest in us. We will take a strategic approach to HR planning to ensure that our staff has the skills and support necessary to continue their path of excellence. This investment includes: compensation, professional development, and increased support for program delivery.
In order to achieve the goals outlined in this plan, we understand we will need to expand our community support and investment. Over the next five years, we will increase awareness of the vital role the AGSM plays in the municipal, provincial, and national landscape and will be seeking increased levels of support. We will target increases from government funders to support ongoing expenses associated with operating activities and capacity building. We will target increased support from foundations, project grants, and private donors for facilities improvements and experimental programs.