Metro/Bernice Pontanilla Anthony Kiendl, executive director of Plug-In Institute of Contemporary Art, MP Steven Fletcher and Richard Frost, CEO of the Winnipeg Foundation, stand in front of “Rotary Psycho-Opticon” by Vancouver artist Rodney Graham at the Plug-In gallery.

Local arts organizations in Winnipeg got a $1.5 million boost from the federal government on Thursday.

“For us it’s freedom,” said Anthony Kiendl, executive director of Plug-In Institute of Contemporary Art. “The more the endowment grows, the more we benefit from the disbursements.”

Kiendl said it is very difficult for many arts groups to plan ahead because they rely on grants handed out on a year-to-year basis.

Plug-In’s goal is the diversification of its revenue stream.

“We’d like to reduce our dependence on any one source,” added Kiendl.

A total of $1,246,408 is being given to three endowment foundations: the Winnipeg Foundation, the Prairie Theatre Exchange Foundation Trust and the Manitoba Theatre Centre Foundation. These three will then manage and invest on behalf of 13 local arts groups.

“The income that these endowments are creating will be there forever,” said Richard Frost, CEO of the Winnipeg Foundation, adding that his organization manages about 2,500 endowment funds.

MP Steven Fletcher (Charleswood-St. James-Assiniboia), who was at the Plug-In Institute to make the announcement on behalf of Minister of Canadian Heritage James Moore, said the funding is “good news for theatre, music and dance” in Winnipeg.

Fletcher took the opportunity to commit another $250,000 to Prairie Theatre Exchange “to renovate and modernize its facilities.”

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