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Local Galleries and Museums you can Visit Virtually

Museums and galleries were among the first to respond to the COVID-19 crisis, closing their doors to audiences and visitors to promote physical distancing. However, a look at Winnipeg’s arts and culture offering reveals a few fun ways we can enjoy art and learn about Manitoba’s local artists at the same time—all without leaving the couch.

Virtual tours

It’s almost like being there: take a virtual stroll through these local museums with these interactive online tours.

Inside a painstakingly restored 1895 mansion with period appropriate furnishings, Dalnavert Museum shows what life was like at the turn of the 20th century. With the help of decidedly 21st-century technology, you can take a virtual tour of the historical house from the comfort of your own home. Presented as an explore-able 360-degree experience, the virtual tour lets you click through the entire mansion. Stop when you see a pin, and learn more about the items in the home and the family who would have lived there. The tour can also be viewed using your phone in a VR headset.

winnipeg-art-galleryDuring the gallery’s temporary closure, Winnipeg Art Gallery CEO and director Stephen Borys has hand-picked and posted one piece of “My Daily Art” from the museum’s collection every day. The posts function like an exhibit curated in real time, each complete with a write-up from Borys on the piece’s significance. Follow along with the posts on the WAG Instagram page, or on the website. On the site, you’ll also find WAG@Home activities like colouring pages and DIY art projects, and videos of past exhibits.

History and nature converge at the Manitoba Museum, and while the galleries are closed, kids (and curious adults!) can still learn about nature in our prairie province with an online exhibit and prairie tour. Created by the museum for the Virtual Museum of Canada program, Prairie Pollination is a virtual tour of the Tall Grass Prairie Preserve. Learn about the plants and insects in our own backyard from the scientists who study them, and take a video tour of the Manitoba Museum’s collection vault to see how butterflies, plants and other natural specimen are stored.

The first national museum built outside of Ottawa, the Canadian Museum for Human Rights is dedicated to telling stories about human rights and those who fight for justice. While the physical gallery may be closed, the museum has several ways to experience it remotely. Follow a museum guide through a 20-minute video tour of two galleries, and hear about Indigenous perspectives and stories of Canadians standing up for justice. You can also download the CMHR mobile app to travel through the exhibitions in a virtual tour, complete with behind the scenes information from curators and program developers.

Artist talks

Learn from artists and hear the secrets of their craft. 

Alootook Ipellie illustration from an upcoming exhibition at Gallery 1C03.

Gallery 1C03, the University of Winnipeg art gallery, has a robust archive of filmed artist talks and panels from past exhibitions stretching back to 2013 available on its website. In the most recent, filmed Feb 4, 2020, centres around the exhibit Yearning for Comfort, Not Cure. Exhibitors Yvette Cenerini, Bram Keast, melannie monoceros and Jesse Turner discuss creative practices and their work’s intersection with disability and chronic illness with curator Adele Ruhdorfer.

Artist talks given in the past two years at Plug In ICA are available in video on the gallery’s website. Hear about the artistic process and rigorous research behind each of Beijing-based Chen Zhe’s photographs, the stories behind Winnipeg-raised artist Przemek Pyszczek’s first solo exhibition, or an exploration of curation practices from assistant curator Nasrin Himada. Also find videos from the gallery’s respondent series, stages speaker series, and 2017 Summer Institute, including a reading by writer Chris Kraus.

Learn a new craft with Mentoring Artists for Women’s Art (MAWA), an artist-run centre that provides education and support for local women visual artists. On the MAWA website, find tutorials on two-needle Metis beading and the Japanese art of woven slippers. There is also a video archive of past artist talks on topics like the politics of craft, diasporic Asian women artists, and contemporary Indigenous beading.

Check out the list of past artist talks on the Platform Centre for Photographic and Visual Arts website, where you’ll see a handful of video offerings from the past four years. Learn about the artist behind the camera with talks from Luis Jacob, Chantel Mierau, Jillian McDonald and more.

Online galleries 

Peruse your favourite galleries’ collections from home with photo collections of past and current exhibitions available online.

Piece by Yisa Akinbolaji featured in a Canadian Mennonite Heritage Gallery exhibit.

The Mennonite Heritage Centre Gallery website offers a 360-degree tour as well as an image archive of exhibited works. Go remote antiquing with The Old House Revival Company. See the sweet and kooky collection of antique furniture, architectural salvaged items and lighting here. Commercial gallery Loch Gallery offers an expansive, search-able online catalogue of sculpture and art. If you find a piece you love, order it with free, no-contact delivery. Browse work by artist on the Warehouse ArtWorks site, and find gorgeous contemporary paintings from Winnipeg artists. See the beautiful, light-catching offerings from Prairie Studio Glass online, from decorative stained glass to functional pieces of home decor, like furniture and lighting. The C2 Centre for Craft online shop offers a covet-able selection of handmade artisan pieces from local artists in ceramic, mixed media, textiles and glass. Contemporary gallery Cre8ery offers an in-depth look at the artists it exhibits on its website. Look through stunning photos of work from the artists that make up the Stoneware Gallery’s co-operative, from vases and sculpture to diningware. Woodlands Gallery remains open by appointment, and shoppers can browse portfolios of its colourful local artists onlineSoul Gallery’s contemporary collection is browse-able on their comprehensive site, complete with video gallery tour.  Search the collection of top-tier contemporary Canadian artists on Mayberry Fine Art’s website. Prints and originals are on display in the Birchwood Art Gallery 360-degree view. Also browse photography of the full collection.