Plug In ICA: Year XL | The Future Now

In 1972, aided by youthful vigour and a firm distaste for the seemed impenetrability of museums and galleries to local artists, Plug In was born. Fuelled by members of the creative community, Plug In was created as one of the first platforms to focus on contemporary art in Western Canada. Plug In was a place to both produce and exhibit contemporary art; a champion of the creative process, not just the creative outcome.

Plug In ICA has now witnessed forty years of thought-provoking, stimulating and sometimes controversial programming. This includes noteworthy exhibitions and events such as Festival du Voyeur in 1993, theMoral Imagination in 1996, Beck and Al Hanson’s Playing with Matches in 1998, the Paradise Institute which received two awards at the Venice Biennale in 2001, and more recently, Close Encounters: The Next 500 Years in 2010 and the wildly successful My Winnipeg in Paris in 2011. Plug In has also acted as a vehicle for the artistic energies of many artists including General Idea, Aganetha Dyck, Eleanor Bond, Alison Norlen, Gordon Lebredt, Marcel Dzama and Paul Butler.

Plug In has always proudly played an essential role in developing Manitoba curators and fostering a critical discourse concerning contemporary art and art practice. In 2007, Plug In hosted the forum Art Tomorrowexploring the future of contemporary visual arts institutions in Canada. Plug In has also been a leader in recognizing the needs of the artistic community, in 1983 fostering the creation of Video Pool, and in 1984 playing an instrumental role in the formation of Mentoring Artists for Women’s Art (MAWA).

In the fall of 2010, Plug In Institute of Contemporary Art opened its doors to a shining new future in purpose-built facilities at the corner of Portage and Memorial, ushering in a new era of Plug In’s history. The new architecturally compelling building, designed collaboratively by David Penner Architect, Peter Sampson Architecture Studio and DIN Projects, has four unique exhibition spaces, a research centre, café, bookshop, and transforms into artists’ studios during the annual Summer Institute.

To make this new development possible, Plug In launched the Turn On Campaign with the goal of reaching $4 million in donations. We’re well on our way to achieving this goal – $3.7 million and counting! Please consider making a donation at

2012 marks Plug In’s 40th (XL) anniversary. This year we will be celebrating Plug In’s remarkable history, exciting current projects and future endeavours.

In the fall of 2012, as part of our anniversary celebrations, Plug In presents the groundbreaking My Winnipeg, featuring the work of over 70 of Winnipeg artists, an exhibition which premiered in Paris at la maison rouge and toured to Sète, in the south of France at le musée international des artes modestes (MIAM).

Plug In will also be producing a publication documenting the impact that Plug In has had on the creative landscape of Winnipeg. The publication will feature images from past events and exhibitions, as well as interviews and essays from those integral to the successes in Plug In’s history.

We hope you will join us for the next forty years of the Future Now.