In 1995, a group of arts organizations, including the Arts Council-Windsor & Region, Gina Lori Riley Dance Enterprises, and the artist-run gallery Artcite, approached City Council as one entity, requesting assistance to create a permanent funding base for community artists and arts organizations.
Fundraising began with the City of Windsor granting seed monies for a cultural assessment by consultant John Fisher, who stated “WEA is not only an excellent idea but does not exist anywhere else in North America.”
WEA was incorporated in 1998, and a strategic plan was set forth:
- Create a stable funding base
- Establish principles for the growth and governance of the organization
- Develop a systematic approach for the evaluation of funding applications
In 1999, the City of Windsor approved – as a matching grant – the funding of $250,000 to establish the endowment fund.
In 2010, the WEAs, a biennial awards and grants program, to acknowledge and financially benefit emerging artists and arts organizations and celebrate community leaders in Windsor-Essex was inaugurated.
To see a detailed timeline of WEA’s 20-year History click here: