AGSM launches Manitoba Digital Initiatives program

Brandon, MB – The Art Gallery of Southwestern Manitoba is excited to announce the launch of a new Manitoba Digital Initiatives program. Made possible by a $160,000 grant through the Canada Council for the Arts’ Digital Strategy Fund, this program will seek to create a regional digital arts literacy and education strategy to support a broad network of rural and First Nations communities.

The AGSM has hired media arts administrator and artist Cecilia Araneda as the Manitoba Digital Initiatives Manager to create the strategy and framework for this new program after extensive community consultation across Southwestern Manitoba, and beyond.

“We are thrilled that this program will be in the talented hands of Cecilia,” says AGSM Executive Director John G. Hampton. “She has a deep understanding of the media arts ecology in Manitoba, Canada, and internationally. Cecilia’s forward looking vision of where digital arts institutions need to go, alongside her personal connection with and understanding of the needs of rural Manitoba, will ensure this initiative realizes its maximum potential to serve the needs of our communities.”

Cecilia Araneda was born in Chile and came to Canada as a refugee as a child with her family after they escaped the Pinochet military dictatorship. She grew up in northern Manitoba, in Leaf Rapids and The Pas, before moving to Winnipeg. She holds a BFA Honours in playwriting from York University and an MFA in screenplay writing from UBC.

Araneda served as Executive Director of the Winnipeg Film Group / Winnipeg Cinematheque from 2006-2017, during which time she oversaw a new era of unprecedented diversity within the organization and the complete modernization of its facilities and technical holdings to fully support digital filmmaking, including developing a fully new digital classroom facility.

A nationally-recognized independent filmmaker, Araneda has completed 14 short films that have screened at film festivals, artist run centres, and art museums around the world.

Araneda was additionally co-founder of the WNDX Festival of Moving Image in 2005 and remained a central force within the organization for its first nine years. Araneda also served as Vice President of the Independent Media Arts Alliance from 2015-2017, and more recently as Executive Director of the VUCAVU national digital film and video distribution platform from 2017-2018. In 2014, Araneda co-founded the Mujer Artista group, a Winnipeg-based initiative to support the development of Latin women artists.

Araneda speaks English, Spanish and French, and more recently has begun studying Anishinaabemowin.

“Having spent the last fifteen years working in the independent media arts sector in Winnipeg, I know first-hand that the time has never been better to develop a comprehensive media art and digital literacy system to reach beyond Winnipeg’s perimeter,” says Cecilia Araneda.

“This visionary program has the potential to create new digital media art communities all across Manitoba, just as forty years ago access to tools and workshops helped create an important media art community within Winnipeg. I’m excited to be part of this process to see what we can create together with rural communities and First Nations all across Manitoba.”

This is the first media arts grant ever awarded by the Canada Council to an institution in Manitoba outside of Winnipeg. The program has received funding for two years to develop a strategy and pilot programs which will then determine future directions and initiatives.

The Art Gallery of Southwestern Manitoba is located at 710 Rosser Avenue. It can be accessed either from the Town Centre parkade, or from the first floor of the Town Centre Mall through the elevators near the library. Please note the gallery’s new hours:

– Monday: 4 pm – 9 pm
– Tuesday to Friday 10 am – 5 pm
– Thursday 10 am – 9 pm
– Saturday from noon – 5 pm
– Sundays / holidays: closed

Afterhours workshops and tours are available by appointment.


Kate Hill
Gallery Services Coordinator
Art Gallery of Southwestern Manitoba
710 Rosser Avenue, Unit 2
Brandon, MB

Read the press release