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Come out and play: Torontrons land in the AGO Community Gallery

February 4th, 2014

arcade gallery

AGO artist-in-residence Jim Munroe has transformed the Community Gallery into a classic arcade with a pop-up installation of three retrofitted arcade cabinets called Torontrons. Engineered by The Hand Eye Society and produced by Munroe, each Torontron is loaded with six contemporary video games designed by Toronto video-game artists. The pop-up arcade cabinets have appeared all over Winnipeg and in Toronto — recently at Academy of the Impossible, the TIFF Bell Lightbox, Roy Thompson Hall and the Projection Booth Cinema — and have inspired similar international projects in New York, Shanghai, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Australia and beyond.

Image courtesy of Jim Munroe/The Hand Eye Society.

Image courtesy of Jim Munroe/The Hand Eye Society.

From Feb. 1 to March 21, 2014, visit the Community Gallery on our concourse level to play – no quarters required! And before you visit, preview some of the Torontron games online:

Want to know more? In late January, Munroe spoke about his residency on CBC Radio’s Metro Morning (listen here), and he will also give a pop-up talk at our February edition of First Thursdays. On Feb. 21, Munroe will host Fancy Videogame Party in collaboration with Wild Rumpus and the Hand Eye Society, bringing together some of the best multi-player, party and physical video games from around the world for one night only at the AGO. And you can see him at our Meet the Artists talk in March, when he’ll be in conversation with fellow indie culture artists Mark Connery and Jonathan Mak about their work, indie culture and how playfulness factors into their practices.

AGO’s brand-new courses include digital game design, artists’ books and more

January 10th, 2014

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Each season, our education department offers courses for adults, youths and children that cover the fundamentals of art and art-making: painting, drawing, sculpture, photography as well as lectures that illuminate the history of art and where it is today. Beyond that, though, we aim to develop boundary-pushing educational experiences that expands students’ creative skills and knowledge. This session, a number of classes are available for the first time at the AGO, and we’re excited to tell you about them here (click on links for dates and more information).

In addition to the usual favourites, new programs for 2014 include:

Discovering Digital Games
This four-week workshop will introduce you to new creative practices in video games. Come in with questions and we’ll introduce you to some existing art games and show you how to create a simple video game for yourself. No previous gaming experience is necessary, although it is recommended to have an open and curious attitude about what games can be. Participants will need to bring their own Mac computers.

Portraits of Poets
This class will explore the portrait genre by working from live observation of a different poet each week. Each class will begin with a poet reciting and circulating a poem, followed by instruction in various painting and drawing techniques. Participating poets include bill bissett, Myna Wallin, George Elliott Clarke, Adam Sol, Dionne Brand, Rudyard Fearon, Ayesha Chatterjee, Sachiko Murakami and Olive Senior. A selection of student work from this class will be included in an exhibition in the AGO’s Community Gallery during National Poetry Month, April 2014. The course is presented in collaboration with the Poet Laureate of Toronto, George Elliott Clarke, and the League of Canadian Poets.

One of the six bone porcelain tea cups, English, dated approx. 1822-30.

One of the six bone porcelain tea cups, English, dated approx. 1822-30.

Introduction to Tea with Diane Borsato
This hands-on workshop with fall 2013 AGO artist-in-residence Diane Borsato will introduce participants to the history of tea’s cultivation, and various cultural practices that have developed around its consumption. Students will learn about the production and defining characteristics of the five categories of tea — white, green, oolong, black, and pu-erh — as well as proper brewing and service techniques for the different styles.

Artists’ Books, Zines, Sketchbooks
How can a book be an artwork? How is a book physically made? This workshop introduces students to the traditions of artists’ books and zines and basic book-making techniques like simple binding, assembly and photocopy printing. Students will produce/bind their own sketchbooks or notebooks, their own photocopied zines and unique accordion-fold publications. The workshop will also include a visit to view the artists’ books and multiples in the AGO’s E.P. Taylor Research Library and Archives.

Vasily Kandinsky, Sketch for ‘Composition II’ (Skizze für "Komposition II"), 1909–10. Oil on canvas, 38 3/8 × 51 5/8 inches (97.5 × 131.2 cm). Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, Solomon R. Guggenheim Founding Collection, 45.961 © 2013 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/ADAGP, Paris.

Vasily Kandinsky, Sketch for ‘Composition II’ (Skizze für “Komposition II”), 1909–10. Oil on canvas, 38 3/8 × 51 5/8 inches (97.5 × 131.2 cm). Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, Solomon R. Guggenheim Founding Collection, 45.961 © 2013 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/ADAGP, Paris.

Art & Ideas: Modern Art, Modern Dance
Join field specialists in informal talks that explore the relationship between visual art and the choreography and dance of Europe in the years leading up to, and during, the First World War. Spotlighting artists such as Constantin Brancusi, Paul Cézanne, Marc Chagall, Marcel Duchamp, Vasily Kandinsky, Fernand Léger, Henri Matisse, Amedeo Modigliani, Piet Mondrian and Pablo Picasso, among others, the talks will also trace the achievements of these tumultuous years as artists experimented with new ways to create art while launching such movements as Expressionism, Futurism and Cubism.

Art & Ideas: Modern Art
Join field specialists in informal talks that explore the dynamism, creativity and innovation of art produced in Europe in the years leading up to, and during, the First World War. Spotlighting artists such as Constantin Brancusi, Paul Cézanne, Marc Chagall, Marcel Duchamp, Vasily Kandinsky, Fernand Léger, Henri Matisse, Amedeo Modigliani, Piet Mondrian and Pablo Picasso, among others, the talks will also trace the achievements of these tumultuous years as artists experimented with new ways to create art while launching such movements as Expressionism, Futurism and Cubism.


Learn more about these courses and more for kids, youths and adults, plus how to sign up, at ago.net. Registration for spring 2014 courses opens Feb. 14, 2014.

March Break at the AGO: Itty bitty fun!

February 28th, 2013

The AGO is offering Toronto families nine days of fun this March Break, beginning Saturday, March 9. Inspired by the imaginative miniature sculptures of Kim Adams, the AGO offers children and families tons of ways to play, shop, eat and create. And all drop-in programs and activities are FREE with the price of admission.

March Break drop-in programs will run daily 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., March 9 to March 17. And because March Break only comes once a year, the AGO will remain open on Monday, March 11, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., offering one extra day of fun for kids and parents in the Gallery. For updates on daily programming, follow the AGO on Facebook and Twitter.

This year’s theme is Itty Bitty Cities, and children and families can explore all things small from small ships to mini marvels throughout the Gallery including:

  • A Kim Adams kids activity guide and the miniature worlds and unbridled imagination of this acclaimed Canadian sculptor;
  • All-day play at the Imagination Playground in Walker Court, where kids can bend, stack and build giant blue blocks to create their own sprawling kingdoms;
  • All the art making supplies kids need to construct tiny additions to the AGO’s own itty bitty city, available in Walker Court;
  • Free family yoga classes at 11 a.m., 12 p.m. and 1 p.m. in the Weston Family Learning Centre on Monday, March 11, Wednesday, March 13, and Friday, March 15;
  • Kid-friendly tours of the Gallery, giving families a “kid’s eye view” of the AGO collection, leave hourly from Walker Court;
  • Extended hours at the Dr. Mariano Elia Hands-On Centre (ages 5 and under), where the Gallery’s youngest visitors can make art, listen to stories and play dress up daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; and
  • Screenings of art-inspired short films from the National Film Board all day long in Jackman Hall.

shopAGOkids is celebrating March Break with a variety of daily in-store events and promotions. Highlights include a book reading and signing on Sunday, March 10, at 1 p.m. with the Governor General’s Award–winning children’s author Cybele Young. On Thursday, March 14, visitors can participate in a hands-on demonstration with neon graffiti pens, and on March 19 families can experience hands-on fashion demonstrations with stylists from Cool and Hot Duct Tape.

What’s happening in shopAGOkids during March Break? Click to expand.

Building miniature cities and shopping is hard work, so kids five and under always eat for free at caféAGO with the purchase of an adult meal. During March Break, FRANK Restaurant is offering families a special three-course prix-fix lunch for just $25. Members will get an extra 20 per cent off. FRANK will open for brunch on Monday, March 11, from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. with plenty of kids items on the menu. For reservations call 416.979.6680.

The Emily Carr Coat Rack….

November 25th, 2011

 

 

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… in action. Check out our efficient and futuristic coat rack solution. Seven hundred fifty hooks hang from a snake-like piece of stainless steel that is fixed to the ceiling, eliminating the need for dozens of coat racks and cubbys. Whenever a class full of kids arrives at our Weston Family Learning Centre, the AGO staff pulls it to the floor, stocks it up, then pulls it back to the ceiling in one space-optimization move. Famous Canadian Artist Emily Carr used to use this technique in her studio to make room for her paintings, and do away with unwanted guests. Find out more about Emily Carr

 

Teachers! Find out more about bringing your class to the AGO and the new Weston Family Learning Centre

Make art, save money!

October 3rd, 2011

You can now claim money back whenever you book your child into an art class at the AGO! There’s still time to register for our fall classes too.

The Government of Canada recently introduced the Canadian Children’s Arts Tax Credit, giving parents the opportunity to claim the 15 per cent non-refundable Canadian Children’s Arts Tax Credit on qualifying expenses up to $500 starting in 2011 for each child who is under the age of 16 at the beginning of the tax year. The age limit is 18 for children eligible for the Disability Tax Credit and an additional amount of $500 will be provided in those instances. The credit will go towards fees paid that contribute to the development of a child’s creative skills or expertise in artistic or cultural programs.

Fall art classes at the AGO: Book now to avoid disappointment

Here at the AGO,  the Children and Family Programs and Youth Studio offer an exceptional learning environment where children and youth are given the opportunity to do just that. Along with access to AGO’s galleries, collections, and new Weston Family Learning Centre, children and youth are presented with a variety of ways to learn and create.

* One-day family workshops, courses that are complimentary with admission, and programs that are part of school curriculum are not eligible for this tax credit.

To Qualify Classes Must Be:

  • Ongoing (either a minimum of once a week for at least eight weeks’ duration) or five consecutive days;
  • Supervised;  and
  • Suitable for children.

What Parents Need To Know

  • fees paid for the cost of memberships, registration, administration, instruction, and the rental of equipment is also included as an eligible expense.
  • Parents will receive an electronic receipt in January that will list: organization’s name and address, eligible program, fees paid and date received, full name of payer, full name of child and the child’s year of birth.

Please see the Canadian Revenue Agency website for more information.

For full details about learning opportunities at the AGO and in our new Weston Family Learning Centre please visit http://www.ago.net/learning

The Weston Family Learning Centre Gallery School Hall of Fame: Who would you nominate?

August 8th, 2011

A Saturday Morning Class in the Laidlaw Gallery,  Art Gallery of Toronto during the 1930

The AGO’s Gallery School was started by Group of Seven painter Arthur Lismer in the 1920s. It has been a hub of art learning for millions of adults and children ever since.

We know from our blog post ‘Were you a gallery student‘ that you have lots of fond memories of visiting the Gallery School in the past. Do you know of any prominent Canadians, celebrities or artists who taught or took courses at the Gallery School? Perhaps they attended camp as a child? Perhaps they took an evening printmaking class as an adult?

We’re developing a Gallery Hall of Fame as an exciting way of sharing our history with our visitors. If you can think of anyone who should be on the list please get in touch or leave a comment below.

The launch of our brand new Weston Family Learning Centre is now just weeks away and our Fall Program Guide is out. Find out more about adult classes at the AGO.

 

AGO Unveils New Graphic Identity for Weston Family Learning Centre

May 6th, 2011

The Art Gallery of Ontario has unveiled a dynamic logo to represent its new Weston Family Learning Centre, which opens in July for summer camp and officially launches to the public in September 2011.

The identity and its guiding principles are the culmination of a six-month process whereby the AGO worked with Gottschalk + Ash, an award-winning branding and communications company, to develop the final product. The logo will appear on a range of marketing and support materials.

Weston Family Learning Centre

“The Learning Centre’s identity reflects the creative process that is inherent to the AGO’s vision,” says Kelly McKinley, the AGO’s director of Education and Public Programs. “It represents a dramatic renewal of the AGO’s enduring commitment to lifelong learning and creativity.”

The graphic identity encompasses two typefaces, and acknowledges the lead funder for this visionary project. The logo will first appear in the upcoming issue of Art Matters, which lands in members’ homes this week.

“Part of the new logo is placed within three abstract lines that represent the act of creating and creative possibilities,” said Bernita Kiefte, AGO executive director, Marketing and Communications.

Watch for these day dates coming up at the Learning Centre:

  • July 4 – Summer camp begins
  • July 15 – Registration begins for fall courses
  • September 30 – Youth Centre Opening Party
  • October 1 & 2 – Members’ Open House
  • October 1 – Nuit Blanche at the Learning Centre

A beautiful and inviting space comprising approximately 35,000 square feet, the Weston Family Learning Centre is directly linked to the AGO’s extraordinary galleries and offers a fully integrated learning experience through innovative hands-on, online, and distance learning programs.

Among the first of its kind in North American art museums, the multi-purpose and multi-media facility combines teaching, social gathering and community activities. It enables the AGO to significantly extend the range and reach of art programs which include studio and gallery courses, workshops, lectures, talks and symposia. This new space serves as a catalyst for learning and creativity, and welcomes people of all ages and backgrounds to engage in art and with each other.

Funding for the Weston Family Learning Centre was made possible by a landmark donation from the W. Garfield Weston Foundation, which committed the largest single gift in support of art education in the Gallery’s 111-year history, and the Government of Canada’s Infrastructure Stimulus Fund.

Weston Family Learning Centre Update

April 21st, 2010

Plans for the Weston Family Learning Centre are moving forward. The schematic design should be complete by the end of this month, with construction beginning in June.

First and foremost the desire is to create a beautiful space to welcome the community. In addition, five goals will help to realize the centre’s vision: functionality (durability for large groups); flexibility (maximizing spaces and program opportunities); accessibility (providing a feeling of welcome); integration (offering direct connection to the galleries); and transparency (inviting visitors behind the scenes).

"The Weston Family Learning Centre heralds the potential of a social hub for community creativity and learning," said Kelly McKinley, director, Education and Public Programming. "Through direct and hands-on encounters with art, artists and the creative process in a studio setting, people from across our city and province will experience the power of art to transform how we understand ourselves and our world."

The physical space of the area will include a dedicated entrance and lobby; an education commons to house cloakroom and picnic area for schools; an artist-in-residence studio; the open-concept Gallery School, a headquarters for Teens-Behind-the-Scenes; and state-of-the-art seminar rooms.

The Weston Family Learning Centre was first announced in September 2008 following on a lead gift of $12 million from The W. Garfield Weston Foundation. The gift included $10 million toward capital costs for the Learning Centre and $2 million toward an endowment to be named the Weston Family Teacher Training Fund – the AGO’s first education program endowment.

The project got a second major boost last month when the Government of Canada announced a $7.5 million funding contribution to the capital expansion project from its Infrastructure Stimulus Fund. The AGO will undertake a fundraising campaign to continue building endowment funds for education programming and other attributes for the Weston Family Learning Centre.

Update on the Weston Family Learning Centre

March 18th, 2010

The pace is visibly quickening around the Art Gallery of Ontario’s much-anticipated Weston Family Learning Centre, with design development already underway.

The project was first announced in September 2008 following on a lead gift of $12 million from The W. Garfield Weston Foundation. The gift included $10 million toward capital costs for the Learning Centre and $2 million toward an endowment to be named the Weston Family Teacher Training Fund – the AGO’s first education program endowment. The project received a second major boost last month when the Government of Canada announced a $7.5 million funding contribution from its Infrastructure Stimulus Fund.

To be completed within the existing footprint of the AGO, the Weston Family Learning Centre will enable the Gallery to increase participation in art education for all ages with dedicated spaces for art instruction, workshops and community-based exhibitions. It will be a fully wireless, networked facility with integrated technology throughout. State-of-the-art seminar rooms will feature broadcast and videoconferencing capabilities. The Learning Centre will reach out to students and teachers in their classrooms through online interactive technologies. The Weston Family Teacher Training Fund will support on-site and on-line workshops and professional development for teachers.

Demolition is expected to begin by late April, and construction begins in June. Substantial completion of Learning Centre is expected by mid-March 2011, with an anticipated official launch in fall 2011.

Despite the impact of the construction project, the Education department has been working hard to relocate or modify programming where possible. A large number of programs will continue:

  • Adult lectures, symposia and talks in various gallery locations;
  • Adult in-gallery courses;
  • Teacher events and professional development;
  • Public and private group tours;
  • Youth programs (Free after 3, Youth Council and Teens-Behind-the-Scenes programs);
  • School programs in gallery spaces;
  • Summer Camp 2010 (in partnership with OCAD);
  • Evening programming and public events;
  • Education outreach and partnerships; and
  • Travel AGO.

The following programs will be suspended for the duration of the project:

  • Gallery School winter session classes end this week and spring session classes will be cancelled. All registrants are eligible for full refunds.
  • School studio visits will run through the end of April, while schools booked for studio programs in May and June will be offered the opportunity to change their dates.
  • Off the Wall will close in July, with the anticipation that additional family-friendly activities will be developed for Gallery spaces for the duration of construction.

Feel free to contact the AGO’s Program Registration with any queries related to refunds or rescheduling of studio visits at 416.979.8806 (Monday to Fridays, 9 am to 5 pm) or via email at groupsales@ago.net.