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20th Anniversary Celebration for Winnipeg’s MHC Gallery
October 12, 2018 @ 19:30 - 22:00
There will be a celebration on Friday, October 12, 2018 at 7:30 pm. A program will be held in the CMU Chapel and a reception in the MHC Gallery.
The program features CMU president Dr. Cheryl Pauls, long-time gallery supporter Margaret Fast, Indigenous and Metis filmmakers Jesse Green and Vanda Fleury-Green, Hindu dancer Pratibha Jagtap, jingle dress dancer Chloe Mallet with singer/drummer Coco Stevenson, Kim Thiessen and Darryl Neustaedter Barg backed by the Riel Gentlemen’s Choir, along with Ray Dirks recapping 20 years. The 20th anniversary exhibition features more than 70 artists who have exhibited in the gallery, from Manitoba and around the world.
Ray Dirks Bio: After working for some years in the Democratic Republic of Congo, followed by a decade of freelance curating, primarily of exhibitions of contemporary African art which toured throughout North America – including to the Canadian Museum of Civilization, Manitoba Museum, Royal Alberta Museum, Harbourfront in Toronto, etc… — Ray Dirks turned to the campus of Canadian Mennonite University.
In early 1998 I walked into the office of the then Mennonite Heritage Centre director and asked if I could try to turn a dramatic, underused, two level space in the building into a full time gallery. After consulting with the building’s owners, the Conference of Mennonites in Canada, I was told to go ahead, so long as I raised 100% of the operating budget, from hammers and nails to salaries and everything between.
Some months later with the commitment from three foundations of $35,000 in total for each of three years, I stepped into the unknown and became the MHC Gallery curator in August 1998. The first exhibit opened in the fall of that year.
20 years on, and now a part of Canadian Mennonite University, the gallery continues to thrive and grow, its operating budget still funded by private donations. The gallery lives because of the people who support it