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The Winnipeg Art Gallery (WAG) received quite the gift today. 

Doug and Louise Leatherdale announced a donation of $1 million, which will go towards creating the Doug and Louise Leatherdale Gallery inside the WAG's Inuit Art Centre, which is set to open in 2020. 

"We went down into the vaults where they stored the Inuit art and we were both so impressed with the scope and the amount of art that was collected," Louise said. "At the same time, we were very disturbed that there was no way this art and these artists could be showcased if they're stuck in a basement, so when they brought up the idea of having an Inuit Art Centre that could showcase this it made all sense in the world." 

Louise says her and Doug - who died in 2015 - took a serious liking to Inuit art over the past 30 years, amassing a personal collection of 25 pieces they will donate to the gallery when it opens. 

"I like its accessibility and how each of the pieces tell a different story that the artist is trying to bring forth," Louise said. "Maybe it's about the majesty of the way a bear moves, or a bird just standing and looking or a walrus, each one is such a unique piece." 

WAG Director and CEO Stephen Borys says this donation is significant, and propels them ahead in their fundraising goals. He says he hopes this donation will encourage other private donors to come forward with both big and small gifts. 

"Our capital campaign goal is $65 million and this gift today puts us within $10 million of our goal," Borys said. "We have $35 million from the government sector and just over $21 million from the private sector so far." 

The Inuit Art Centre will house over 13,000 carvings, drawings, prints, textiles and new media that combine to make up the largest collection of Inuit art in the world. 

In 2015, Doug and Louise Leatherdale made a $2 million donation to the Assiniboine Park Zoo, which renamed its conservation centre the Leatherdale International Polar Bear Conservation Centre.

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