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The Concourse Aboriginal Gallery in Winnipeg, located in the Stock Exchange District, is permanently closing its doors due to the economic downturn from COVID-19.

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After 45 years in the art world, owner Allan Shafer, 94, has decided enough is enough. The former hotelier and investor told the Winnipeg Sun On Thursday, he decided to open Concourse because selling and framing artwork seemed easier than running a hotel.

“In the 80s, 90s and 2000s it was good,” he said. “And then, because of the pandemic, it started to slow down. That’s why I go out and give it all to Sscope Inc. (formerly Neechi Commons). They have beds for the homeless and food for them. They also have a store, and now they’re going to have an art gallery.

Sscope Inc. CEO Angela McCaughan told the Sun On Friday, the registered charity provides jobs for homeless people and those living with mental illness through environmentally friendly social enterprises. Sscope provides safe housing, combined with a peer-led environment that helps people recover.

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“Oh my God, this is amazing,” McCaughan said of Shafer’s donation. “The point is, not only did he donate artwork, but he also donated supplies so that we could start another social enterprise. So her giving will continue over and over again because now we can teach people how to mentor. “

Shafer said the best part of owning Concourse was dealing with all the nice people over the decades, “and having something to do.”

“It’s a big company,” he said. “It’s a very interesting company and I loved being there. Unfortunately, business has slowed down considerably. It’s going to be the end (of my professional life). I feel good about it. I don’t feel bad. I think it’s time to go. Now, I plan to do some charity work, maybe. It is more or less that.”

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On Thursday, James Janzen and his team at Sscope Inc. were busy hauling art and framing supplies in a moving van next to Concourse. Shafer took care of collecting a few remaining personal items while the crew emptied his shop.

“This brave gentleman gave it his all,” Janzen said. “It’s fantastic. What we want to do are art exhibitions. Once we have the material in our building, it’s organized and classified, we can start presenting. I don’t know how many. of value is here All I see are amazing pictures.

Shafer added, “I was ready to give it to someone who knew or was part of the art business. There were no takers.

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