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The World’s Only Visible Vault of its Kind 

February 8, 2021
Post contributed by: Winnipeg Art Gallery

Join the growing community, including Sam Lyons from BMO who are championing Inuit art. 

A unique, immersive art-viewing experience – the world’s only visible vault of its kind 

The first thing you will see when you step inside the Qaumajuq (formerly the Inuit Art Centre) will be a stunning, three-storey-high visible vault filled with thousands of Inuit carvings – a powerful introduction to your Qaumajuq experience. 

In this interview, Sam shares how you can Add your support by purchasing a shelf in the Qaumajuq Visible Vault. This is a unique opportunity to be part of the community of supporters who are coming together to build the centre.

Sam Lyons, BMO Certified Financial Planner, Chartered Investment Manager and Financial Planning Instructor, shares why the Visible Vault Campaign is important to him. 

Recently you became involved with the WAG as a member of the Development Committee. What interested you in this role? 

My love for the WAG began many years ago, in 1999, during Art in the Age of van Gogh: Dutch Paintings from the Rijksmuseum. That was when I became a member. Over the years, there have been so many memorable and moving shows that kept bringing me back, from 100 Masters: Only in Canada in 2013, to Dalí Up Close in 2014, Olympus: The Greco-Roman Collections from Berlin in 2015, Summer with the Impressionists in 2018, far too many to list here. As I returned to see these big names, the WAG’s showcasing of Inuit art really caught my attention. Whenever I would come to the Gallery, I would pass through amazing exhibitions of Inuit art. This led me to a great appreciation of Inuit art. I began to find pieces that really spoke to me, like Joe Ashoona’s Bear sculpture that has graced the main entrance by the elevators for some time. At CRAFTED: Show + Sale this November, I was thrilled to meet the artists of Ashoona Studios and learn that there were more bears in that family of sculpture, including a mother bear and a son bear, in addition to the carving at the WAG that many of us had a chance to admire. 

As the WAG creates Qaumajuq I knew I would really enjoy an opportunity to help out. This particular period of time for the WAG is truly historical as they expand their footprint and mandate to become the world’s leading centre for Inuit art. Early in 2019, I was fortunate to discuss the arts with Pam Simmons, WAG-Qaumajuq Community Campaign Co-Chair. I mentioned to her my passion for the WAG and she was able to make the appropriate introductions that allowed me to connect with the Gallery and get involved. 


You are keen to help with the Community Campaign’s Visible Vault Shelves initiative that will raise funds for Qaumajuq, opening in 2020.  What is it about the campaign that interests you? What is special about being one of the 492 names? 

The Visible Vault Campaign is an exciting fundraising initiative. I was eager to get involved the moment I learned about the project. The Vault Campaign provides donors an opportunity to be a part of Winnipeg art history. The construction of Qaumajuq confirms Winnipeg’s spot on the map as a world-class city in the arts. We hold in trust an internationally-renowned collection of Inuit art, and are creating a magnificent venue to showcase it. The Vault Campaign provides a unique opportunity to get involved at the symbolic amount of $2,020. There are many ways for people to attach their names to an amazing project like Qaumajuq, and purchasing a vault shelf at $2,020 is a concrete way of inspiring our community to celebrate the power and beauty of Inuit art. Aside from the significance of the number 2020, the year the building is complete (the centre will now open in early 2021, delayed due to the pandemic), $2,020 falls within the budget for giving for many families, organizations, or groups of friends. A display will allow visitors to see who contributed to the Vault Campaign, alongside other WAGQaumajuq donors for future generations to see. The Visible Vault Campaign gives those of us who are not artists but have a passion for the arts a chance to play a role in the arts in Manitoba. The purchase of a Visible Vault Shelf is tax deductible, as the WAG is recognized as a charitable institution. 

492 spots are fewer opportunities to get involved than you might think. The shelves are already starting to go fast. I recommend people to sign up to secure yours today and be part of Canada’s art history. 

The Visible Vault Campaign 

All funds raised go towards the Qaumajuq capital project. 

Purchase a shelf for $2,020, only 492 spots available 

  • A tax receipt will be issued for the full gift amount.
    • Be recognized on digital signage as an individual, group, or organization.
    • Perfect as a gift, to honour loved ones, or to mark a special occasion. 

To contribute to the Visible Vault Campaign, please visit wag.ca/visible-vault or contact [email protected] or 204.789.1298.

Watch this video to get a sneak peek of the Visible Vault! 

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