Actual Gallery

Actual Gallery promotes acclaimed local artists to local market

Actual Gallery has kind of a dual meaning: for one, it’s a term for contemporary art (“art actuel”), and two, it’s a little bit cheeky – as in it’s one of Winnipeg’s rare, actually commercial galleries.
Its young director, Lisa Kehler, is as dedicated to showcasing critical contemporary art as she is to supporting the artists and selling their works.
“My commitment to them is marketing,” says Kehler. “To work with them and market them – and to watch them grow.”
Since opening in late July, Kehler has been busily trying to get her artists’ work featured in other exhibitions, collections and books.
“You don’t just sit back and wait for walk-ins,” she explains.
One of her main focuses is to pair “emerging collectors with these emerging artists.”
Many of her artists are already critically acclaimed in the art world, but locals don’t always get the chance to experience their art, and thus, a rare few collect their pieces.
“There’s very few collectors that live in Winnipeg,” says Kehler. “A lot of people’s focus is on taking local artists and positioning them internationally. A lot of people here have had no idea what they were doing and no opportunity to engage with it.”
That’s exactly what Kehler hopes to change.
Her gallery, located at 300 Ross Ave., is unrelentingly local.
Artists she features have to have deep roots in Winnipeg. “They all have to have some connection to Winnipeg, whether they call it home or were born here,” says Kehler. “All of my artists still identify as Winnipeg artists.”
The initial response to the new gallery has been overwhelmingly positive, proving the demand for it.
Opening night saw more than 400 visitors. “I’ve been told it was one of the biggest art openings ever in Winnipeg,” says Kehler. “We sold a lot of work. The general reaction I think was, ‘This doesn’t look like Winnipeg, this doesn’t feel like Winnipeg.’
That’s what we want to change.”
The price range for the art at Actual is also reflective of the local market.
Works from the inaugural exhibition range from $200 to $8,000.
Of course, sales are open to other countries, so there’s always the chance that another collector could snag the deal first.
Kehler says she would be naïve to think that she could make the majority of her sales in Winnipeg to start out, but she’s hopeful that Winnipeggers’ appetite will continue to grow with the gallery.
She will also advocate for local artists at art events like Art Toronto and Papier in Montreal.
The gallery director has a background in sales plus plenty of formal training in the arts.

Lisa Kehler, director of Actual Gallery
Lisa Kehler, director of Actual Gallery

She received a bachelor of arts in art history from the University of Winnipeg, and after finding her niche in commercial contemporary art on South Granville’s gallery row in Vancouver, she went on to a master in curatorial practices.
As is so often the case for Winnipeg business people, Kehler managed to know the right people and be in the right place at the right time when her friend from HutK, the furniture retailer, mentioned his parents were looking to support an art project like she’d been dreaming up.
HutK will soon be moving its store into the space next door to Actual, and in between the two is a shared space Kehler hopes will one day be filled with a bookstore, café, or other fitting vendor.
The gallery is already appropriately situated next to Frame Arts Warehouse, a five-storey building with gallery and studio space for up-and-coming artists that Actual hopes to collaborate with. (Perhaps the beginnings of a new gallery row?)
An aspiring artist herself in another life (“If I could’ve been anything, I would’ve been an artist,” she says), Kehler believes emerging artists can make a living for themselves right here in Winnipeg – and she plans to help them get there.
“There’s money in the city,” she says. “It’s just giving them the opportunity… to support the creative producers in the city.”

A Bad Pants team of years past. Photo supplied by Young Associates.

Bad Pants could be a wise career decision

You probably know about the Young Associates’ Black and White parties, which carry on in the tradition of Commerce socials dominating youth’s social calendars.
But the Young Associates’ fundraising events don’t stop there.
The Bad Pants Golf Tournament is second-only to the Black and White Gala in its grandeur.
“We bring out about 144 golfers, so it’s clearly not just a members’ tournament,” says event planner, Monica Derksen.
Sponsorship grants businesses a free foursome for the event, so attendees get to hobnob with top-level executives and employees on the course.
The golf tournament attracts elite sponsors like Rudy’s Eat & Drink, Shark Club, Labatt Brewing Company, Birchwood BMW and Mercedes-Benz.
Both of the major car dealers sponsor hole-in-one prizes which would nab the lucky driver a three-year lease on their swanky vehicles.
Giveaways and contests are littered throughout the course including prizes for, you guessed it, the worst pants.
“We get some interesting teams,” understates Monica.
golferGender-inclusive short-shorts have made an appearance at previous events, and pants from less fashionable eras reappear each year.
Due to its uninhibited theme, it’s pretty evident from the get-go that the Bad Pants tourney is about having fun.
Monica says that only about 50 per cent of the golfers are regular players, and the rest either play infrequently or have messed around the odd time at the driving range.
With Labatt pouring at holes, snacks and DJs to greet golfers at various tee-offs, even the serious golfers loosen up in the relaxed atmosphere.
As with all of the other major Young Associates events, Bad Pants’ goal is to raise money for the Asper School of Business and offer unprecedented networking opportunities to young professionals.
This year, the committee sponsored two students to play alongside members of its sister organization, The Associates.
The Associates is a group of top business leaders in Manitoba who actively support business education locally.
Having access to these high-ranking businesspeople before graduation can be hugely impactful on a young career hopeful, especially spending a substantial chunk of time with the execs in a casual setting.
The tournament doesn’t stop at the informal golf round either.
A tournament fee covers the 18 holes at Elmhurst Golf and Country Club, a tee gift, and a full sit-down lunch and dinner (which includes prime rib, seafood, antipasto, shrimp and bruschetta stations), so the opportunity to meet with any of the prestigious attendees isn’t lost after playing 18 holes.
The Best Score, Longest Drive and Most Honest Golfers get awarded, among other prizes, so the chance to make an impression continues long after you’ve made your wardrobe decision that morning.
The shotgun golf tournament effectively levels the playing field for established career people and up-and-coming professionals with its encouragement of terrible fashion and ice-breaking contests – and golf is still one of the most predominant ways to make a strong and lasting business connection. (How could anyone forget that last extra “practice” swing you took?)
The Bad Pants tournament Aug.20 isn’t your last chance to get involved with the Young Associates this year. Visit to check out the event calendar or to learn more about the organization.

Mohamed El Tassi of Sargent Blue Jeans, his father, Albert El Tassi, of Peerless Garments Inc., and CHAT outreach coordinator, Kristy Rebenchuk.

Sargent Blue Jeans’ culture is about giving back

Toppling stacks of jeans line tables the entirety of the store, and an equally voluminous slew of stock rests in boxes underneath. There are about 14,000 pairs of jeans on inventory at any given time – and the most miraculous part is, the loyal staffers know where to find virtually every one of them.
“It’s more of an experience,” says president and CEO of Sargent Blue Jeans, Mohamed El Tassi.
“It’s like a personal shopping experience. They’ll tell you what looks good, what doesn’t look good. They take in clothing; they’ll custom make you something if you want. And they’ll work with budget.”
Mohamed is referring to the bustling worker bees at Sargent Blue Jeans, Kathy, Laura and Maria. The trio is synonymous of the store, having worked there for 31, 28, and 10 years respectively.
Mohamed, also a Sargent Blue Jeans veteran who’s worked there since he was 14, says “We’re like one big family. It’s more than just work associates.”
Though he’s beginning to tap into other business ventures, Mohamed says “I’ll never, ever leave here.
“Every day I come to work, it’s wicked.”
The unique environment at Sargent Blue Jeans is the tipping point. Perhaps the biggest perk of the service is the fact that the attentive shopping assistants are also some of the swiftest seamstresses in the business.
Every pair of jeans purchased at the store receives complimentary alterations in about the time it takes for you to pull out your debit card. The ladies are the best in the biz, and they’ve got the devotees to prove it.
“There are some ladies here that are so loyal to these ladies they won’t even shop in the United States when they’re there,” says Mohamed.
As much as its community has been loyal to it, Sargent Blue Jeans likes to give right back.
Most recently, the local jean store gave the generous donation of a vehicle (valued at $8,000) to the Community Homeless Assistance Team (CHAT), the Downtown Winnipeg BIZ’s outreach program for those experiencing homelessness. Continue reading

Demand for online education increases as working professionals look for flexibility

University of Roehampton, London Online

When Tony Mancini was earning his master of business administration (MBA), he was working 60 hours a week, building a family and – somehow – attending night classes in Montreal.
If there’s one thing he discovered from his arduous experience, it’s that the campus model for education isn’t always the best option. “If I had the option of online education, it would have benefited my family the most,” he says. “If I didn’t have to go to a campus to pursue my MBA, I would have been better able to share my parental duties.”
There is a growing demand for online education in Canada and around the world as working professionals look for more flexible options to increase their education and remain competitive. Nearly a decade ago, Professor Mancini left a 30-year career as a management professional to teach online – and to help others avoid the difficulties he once faced. Continue reading

Whether insulating inside or out, technology has drastically altered the options for today's workplaces.

Let’s wrap up a new career

The International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators and Allied Workers Union Local 99 in Manitoba are in need of some bright new recruits. If you are looking for a great career that offers the opportunity to work on some of the most interesting industrial, institutional and commercial construction projects in Manitoba, then this trade may be just right for you. With the continued growth and redevelopment that is occurring in many areas of our province, the demand for skilled tradesmen and women has never been stronger.

The skills and work performed by the Heat and Frost Insulators are essential to every major construction project planned, proposed or underway across Canada. Heat and Frost Insulators apply insulation materials to plumbing, heating, cooling and refrigeration systems as well as piping equipment and pressure vessels to reduce the passage of heat, cold, sound or fire. Continue reading


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