Matthew Teitelbaum, the AGO’s Michael and Sonja Koerner director, and CEO, stood before some 700 people at the 62nd annual awards gala of the Canadian Centre for Diversity on Thursday night, and cited the work of AGO staff and volunteers as he received the Centre’s Human Relations Awards.
“It hardly seems right to be standing here acknowledged for achievement for a project that was realized by so many. Indeed, simply put, I stand here in the name of ambition and realization of dreams on behalf of staff members in this room with us tonight and with many other staff and volunteers here in spirit,” he said. I want to thank them for working together to make dreams come true, for being part of a project of discipline, focus and creativity, a project with no compromise to vision. Together we built a building, a welcoming building which weaves journeys of discovery for all visitors.”
Matthew was cited for his leadership on the Transformation AGO project and the numerous initiatives the AGO has embraced to make the AGO more accessible. These include Citizen AGO – a program that enables new citizens to learn about their new home country through art, the AGO’s foundational role in the Toronto Public Library’s MAP program that enables library users to borrow an AGO family pass as they would a book; Free After 3 – the free-after-school access program for high school students, and the Community Membership and Neighbourhood Access programs, which bring challenged communities to the Gallery.
Matthew and his team created one of the world’s most accessible institutions,” said AGO President Tony Gagliano in introducing Matthew, “one that celebrates our diversity.” A video shown at the event also noted that Matthew’s vision is that an art experience is about having choice, that there should be no barriers, and that “within the walls of the new AGO, we are all the same.”