One of Saint-Boniface’s secrets is undoubtedly the little art gallery at 219 Provencher: la Maison des artistes visuels francophones.
This gallery was founded by a group of francophone and Métis artists that weren’t adequately represented in the artistic world at the time. They went on to open their own art gallery that continues to promote art and make it accessible to as many people as possible.
The space features the main gallery that hosts five to six exhibitions a year, and the studio that hosts a dozen. All of the artists on exhibition in the main gallery are chosen by a jury based on a theme (in 2020, it’s home) and they have one thing in common: they have to be able to communicate in French. About one half originate from Western Canada.
La Maison des artistes is celebrating its twentieth anniversary in 2020 and if all of the scheduled events can’t proceed as planned, an exhibition combining six early stage artists and six emerging artists awaits us this winter.
When I visited the gallery in late August 2020, Charley Farrero, a French-Canadian living in Saskatchewan, had installed and displayed his half-serious, half-silly ceramic works in the main area.
In the studio, we met with Franco-Manitoban artist Monique Fillion and her vintage style painting-photography.
Here is the end-of-year programming for the Maison des artistes!
From October 8th to November 21st, 2020, the main gallery will showcase the works of Janine-Annette Littman, a Manitoba artist who marries textile with photography. November 25th to December 19th, 2020 will mark the 20th anniversary exhibition with 12 Manitoban artists. After a well deserved break over the holidays, the gallery will display the work of Québécois sculptor Ito Leïla LeFrançois from January 4th to April 3rd, 2021.
In the studio, from September 3rd to 26th, 2020, you can see an exhibition featuring work by Jen Funk and Alexis Lagimodière-Grisé (from Manitoba), followed by Nichol Marsh from October 8th to 31st, 2020. A showing that has not been determined yet will then precede the exhibition for members that will take place November 25th to December 9th, 2020.
La Maison des artistes has also established an online presence with a series of interviews with artists on social media as well as various draws on their Facebook page. And don’t forget to visit the Sculpture Garden (if you attend one of Tourisme Riel’s culinary or walking tours, you’ll learn about their origin and interpretation!
I saved the best for last: admission to the Maison des artistes and the Sculpture Garden is free at all times. From now on, I will make sure to go see their current exhibitions when I pass through Saint-Boniface!
Address: 219 Provencher Blvd.
Hours of operation: Wednesday to Friday from 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm and Saturday from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm.