WINNIPEG – In his fourth address to a sold out crowd attending the 12th annual Winnipeg Arts Council Awards and Luncheon, Mayor Brian Bowman expressed his continued support for the arts and culture industry and outlined the economic benefits of investing in the industry.

“Winnipeg’s a thriving, diverse, modern city that is well on its way to one million people strong,” said Mayor Brian Bowman. “A key part of supporting a growing city is continuing with investments in Winnipeg’s vibrant arts and culture industry and underscoring how integral they are to our quality of life.”

Since 2007, the Winnipeg Arts Council has hosted the Mayor’s Luncheon for the Arts to celebrate Winnipeg's artistic achievements and to recognize individuals and partnerships contributing to Winnipeg’s success.

Mayor Bowman used the opportunity to highlight how important Winnipeg’s thriving arts and culture scene is when attracting talented people to either return or start fresh in Winnipeg.

“It’s important when attracting individuals and businesses to Winnipeg that they can hear the ‘voice’ of Winnipeg and that they can imagine themselves here in our neighbourhoods, in our downtown arts hub, in intimate and unique music venues throughout the city, in concert auditoriums, in small galleries or being part of major cultural events,” said Mayor Bowman.

The Mayor said the arts and culture industry not only contributes significantly to our collective voice and how the world sees our city, it also provides significant economic benefits estimated to be about one billion dollars annually. The Mayor highlighted that every dollar of municipal investment into arts and culture is estimated to attract another $18 in support to local non-profit arts and cultural organizations from federal and provincial governments, and private sources.

Mayor Bowman said both the public and private sectors have an important role to play in supporting arts and culture, citing the recent groundbreaking of the Inuit Art Centre at the Winnipeg Art Gallery as a prime example of governments partnering with the private sector.

“Indigenous arts and culture constitute a large part of our collective heritage as Winnipeggers,” said Mayor Bowman. “Winnipeg is the best place to celebrate Indigenous art and culture for so many reasons including the important role that it plays in creating a better understanding about truth and reconciliation in our city and beyond.”

The Mayor expressed gratitude that as a Council civic funding support to the Winnipeg Arts Council increased by $563,000 since 2014 resulting in significantly greater direct investment into the arts.

“These increases followed many, many years when city grant funding was essentially frozen or increased just marginally,” said Mayor Bowman. “It’s critical moving forward that the city’s support does not become eroded.”

The Mayor thanked Councillor Mike Pagtakhan for leading the work of the Mayor’s Task Force on Heritage, Culture, & the Arts as well as chairing the City of Winnipeg’s new Advisory Committee on Heritage, Culture, & the Arts created this last January and tasked with ensuring the long-term success of Winnipeg’s vibrant arts, heritage, and cultural industries.

“I believe in Winnipeg’s arts community and Councillor Pagtakhan’s leadership has contributed significantly to ensuring its success,” said Mayor Bowman. “In our Winnipeg, a city of inclusion, respect, creativity and innovation, I believe there is a place for artists, musicians, writers, and all those giving Winnipeg a voice who are helping make us a place that speaks loudly and proudly to the rest of the world.