Our new General Manager of shopAGO, Deepak Chopra doesn’t just want you to exit through the gift shop. He hopes you take a moment to connect with local artisans and spend some time discovering items that might remind you of your experience at the AGO once you get home – like art prints, art books, jewellery, home décor and much more.
With a number of new retail partnerships and initiatives taking shape at shopAGO this fall, we connected with Deepak Chopra to get a better sense of his approach.
AGO: How long have you been working at the AGO?
Chopra: 163 days, or 23 weeks and two days, or five months and two weeks, and I’ve been enjoying every bit of it.
AGO: What do you find most inspiring about working in an art gallery?
Chopra: I find the historical impact of the Gallery in the community and Toronto incredibly inspiring. It also helps to be surrounded by beautiful art and architecture, while working with such a diverse team.
AGO: What’s the difference between working in a museum shop compared to an everyday store?
Chopra: The art world is much more reactive and expressive to the current socio-economic landscape. Having the opportunity to make that connection, look through that lens and build on the business direction is very different from a regular corporate retail shop where the end goal is always driving profit.
AGO: Can you tell us about the new program that invites artists into shopAGO?
Chopra: We are turning the shop into a public space where visitors can support and celebrate the brilliant work of a range of artists.
This month we are highlighting local artist Peggy McEwen of Persnickety Designs. Her products are featured in the shop until the end of the month, and on September 14 and 21 from 1 to 4 pm she’ll be at the shop to connect with visitors and share stories about her work. As a graphic artist Peggy prints her colourful designs onto pillow slips and other textile products to create “comfortable art.” Paying tribute to Toronto landmarks, celebrities and other bits of pop culture, her works are a fun way to bring local art into your home.
AGO: What’s next for shopAGO this fall and into the holiday season?
Chopra: We are very excited about the Early Rubens exhibition, opening October 12. Our team can’t wait to be part of the experience, providing visitors with the opportunity to take home something tangible after seeing such incredible works. We will also have featured local artists in the shop during the month of October and November, leading into the holiday season. We hope to delight all our visitors with products and gift ideas that enhance their AGO experience.
Mark your calendars to stop by shopAGO on September 21 from 1 to 4 pm to meet Peggy McEwen of Persnickety Designs! It’s never too early to begin your holiday shopping, hint, hint.
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