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Strolling through the galleries

June 25th, 2018

Caregivers and children in the AGO look at a painting

Image by the AGO

Summer is here and the thermometer is rising. Lucky for parents and caregivers, on those days when it’s just too hot to take the kids to Grange Park, it’s only a hop, skip and a jump into the cool oasis of the AGO.

The AGO’s Strolling the Galleries tours offer a cultural experience and air-conditioned respite for infants, toddlers and their parents or caregivers. These relaxed, one-hour thematic tours provide a chance for caregivers of little ones to socialize and learn about art in the AGO Collection. While caregivers or parents make connections between art and their own lives, kids will be mesmerized by the colours and shapes they see all around them.

Not an art pro? No problem. Eager to participate but looking for a crowd that won’t mind a loud giggle, restless toddler or a fussy whine? That’s what these tours are for.

One of our tour leaders is Doris Purchase, a visual artist and an AGO Adult Education Officer who specializes in visual literacy between caregivers and children. She loves to see caregivers and children connect with the art. When a caregiver or parent revisits the museum alongside the fresh eyes of a toddler, they can both make new connections and discoveries about line, shape, colour and light.

The tours can also build bonds between caregivers or parents. Doris’s first stroller tour, which highlighted motherhood, paused in front of Mother and Child by Henry Moore. At this spot, many of the adults in attendance, including Doris, opened up about their experiences raising young children. Other conversation-sparking pieces have been Robert Rauschenberg’s Story (on a food-themed tour) and Barbara Astman’s Dear Jared and Untitled (on a women in art-themed tour).

Mark your calendars! Strolling the Galleries is offered every first Tuesday of the month, twice a day at 10:30 am and noon. Tickets are available online now ($5 for AGO Members and $24.50 for the public, which includes General Admission) for upcoming tours on July 3rd. Groups are limited to 15 caregivers.

After the tour, check out The Dr. Mariano Elia Hands-On Centre for more active artmaking for kids, including the new shadow puppet theatre. The AGO also offers full family tours several times throughout the year, and Summer Art Camp for children age five through 13.

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