Plug In Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA)

Unit 1-460 Portage Ave
Winnipeg, MB R3C 0E8
ph: 204-942-1043
fx: 204-944-8663

Registered Charitable Number: 119095016RR0001

Arts & Culture (Main Focus Area)

Education (Secondary Focus Area)


Mandate: (As stated in original Letters Patent 1972) A. To facilitate communications in the arts on a non-profit basis in the Province of Manitoba. B. To engage in any activity pursuant to achieving the aims as set out in clause A.

Vision: Plug In ICA is a laboratory for research and a centre for the presentation of art that confronts ideas and issues affecting contemporary society.

Mission: Plug In Institute of Contemporary Art is dedicated to the research of contemporary art.


Plug In Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) is primarily dedicated to the research of contemporary art. From its research, Plug In derives it programs—in the form of exhibitions, publications, public programs, screenings, performances, symposia and other activities. Our activities encompass visual culture in the broadest sense including: film and video, architecture and spatial culture, new media, popular and material culture, design and literature.

Plug In Editions is the publishing arm of Plug In ICA, and continues to be active in the production of numerous titles each year. Over the coming years, Plug In intends to maximize its publishing potential in order to reach broader audiences, document the history of our community, and explore new and challenging ideas.


Established in 1972, Plug In was created as a not-for-profit exhibition space, directed by a board of practising artists. It began as one of the first organisations on the prairies to focus exclusively on contemporary art. Plug In speaks to communities that share an interest in contemporary art and the evolution of contemporary culture. Since its inception, Plug In has played a central role in the creation and growth of a living culture in Manitoba, facilitating a mutually beneficial dialogue between art and life. In addition, Plug In has nurtured numerous local artists, curators, critics, and arts administrators. By addressing community needs through training projects, Plug In has been an incubator for new arts groups such as Video Pool and Mentoring Artists for Women’s Art.

In the late 1990’s, after 25 years of operation as an artist-run centre, Plug In began to re-envision its role locally and internationally, having arrived at a position of notable critical acclaim for its exhibitions and publications program. Plug In transitioned to an institute of contemporary art shortly after organising the Canadian representation at the Venice Biennale in 2001, marking the first time the Canadian pavilion was awarded to an institution outside central Canada.  In presenting the Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller’s The Paradise Institute, Plug In became known as “the little gallery that could”, far outstripping larger organisations with its huge success. Cardiff and Miller were awarded the Biennale’s “Golden Lion,” a first for Canada. As well, in 2008, Plug In was short-listed for the Imperial Tobacco Foundation Arts Achievement Award. In 2009, Plug In Director, Anthony Kiendl, was the third recipient of the Hnatyshyn Foundation Award for Curatorial Excellence in Contemporary Art.

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