Forum’s got fleas!

During their 50th anniversary year, Forum Art Centre hosts vast fundraising sale

The folks who run Forum Art Centre (FAC) have the organization busy most days of the year. Due to their status as a registered charity, they are using one of their few free weekends this year to host a fundraising event in their building on the edge of Coronation Park in St. Boniface.

The occasion is a flea market, and while there will be plenty of art supplies and artworks available, Daryl Dumanski, FAC’s executive director since 1996, emphasizes that it will be more of a high-end garage sale.

“The main goal isn’t an art show,” says Dumanski. “We’ll be having one of those in May, actually. The flea market is an opportunity to just open up this great building and invite people in to come check us out, and pick up some great items and contribute to helping run our programs.”

“We’ve had art auctions, art shows, exhibits, and other fundraisers, but we’ve never done a flea market,” says Dumanski. “We have an excess of stuff, and it’s time to clear house. We get prints, supplies, picture frames, and more donated to us.”

Along with art prints by artists like Neil Hoogstraten, there will also be items that range from stamps to four handmade baby quilts. They are still accepting donations as well, and the selection continues to grow.

A variety of formats for fine art instruction are offered in the former City of Winnipeg library, the most recent in a long line of locations around Winnipeg since FAC started as Forum Art Institute in 1964.

“Forum Art Institute is still the legal name, but the operating name is now Forum Art Centre,” explains Dumanski.

Today, their building is also home to the Winnipeg Sketch Club, the Manitoba Society of Artists, and Norwood Grove Biz; there are also two artists with studio space.

“Accumulatively, these three organizations [FAC, the Winnipeg Sketch Club, and the Manitoba Society of Artists] have 250 years of art experience,” says Dumanski.

Founded by local university professors and artists Nikola Bjelajac and Steve Repa, the institute began with the goal of—and is still focused on—providing fine art instruction to artists of all skill levels from age seven and up. Dumanski says there is currently a 92-year-old student in one of their programs, while the oldest patron ever was 96.

Dumanski was volunteering for the organization before she took on her current role. “My mother is on the board of directors, and she’s been painting here for 40 years. I had been helping her with the archives before becoming the executive director.”

She says that those archives are now being used to create a book on FAC’s history.

When asked to name prestigious artists who have taken classes at FAC, Dumanski highlights the organization’s continuing desire to uphold the interest of Bjelajac and Repa. “They didn’t want to feature one artist’s work over another’s,” she says. “That’s why all of our students have an equal opportunity to showcase their work during our student exhibition.”

This year’s student exhibition, Fresh Art, will take place May 22-25.

Classes run all year long, and are open to people of all levels of ability, from novices to experts.


Check out the Forum Flea Market March 29 from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. at their building at 120 Eugenie Street. Anyone who wishes to donate or volunteer can contact Dumanski at or call FAC at 204-235-1069. Contact FAC to sign up for classes.