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Spotlight: AGO Seniors Arts Engagement Program

July 13th, 2015

Existing programs for seniors have demonstrated that engaging them in meaningful conversations about art, even in cases where cognitive changes are significant, creates a strong sense of well-being for both clients and caregivers. Adding the opportunity for personal creative expression can only enhance the experience, as professionals working in this field of study have learned that practicing creativity:

  • has been proven to support emotional well-being;
  • reinforces the brain cells responsible for memory;
  • cultivates a positive approach to life that enhances the immune system; and
  • promotes social interactions that helps combat depression.

The Seniors Arts Engagement Program is a three-year pilot at the AGO supported by the Elia Family in which we’re experimenting with art-making, in addition to tours, and we’re working to develop a multigenerational engagement approach. On their visit to the AGO, participants take a tour of the collection, looking at some examples of sculpture, and guides encourage conversation about the artworks. Later, in Galleria Italia, the groups enjoys a light lunch and then a facilitated art-making activity.

In the first year we partnered with the City of Toronto’s Long-Term Care Homes & Services Division, which allowed us to connect with a range of seniors. We’re currently in the second year and phase of this pilot program, and we have Baycrest as an additional partner who will help gather clinical evidence to support creative programming for older adults.


For further information please contact Melissa Smith, Gallery Guide and Adult Education Coordinator, at Melissa_Smith@ago.net or 416-979-6660 ext. 268.


Four tips to get your group talking about art

March 26th, 2015

“I just don’t know how to talk to my groups about art!”

We often hear this refrain from organizations who are considering bringing their clients to the AGO for self-guided tours. They tell us that they and their clients worry that you need a deep understanding of art history to appreciate art the “right way.”

The truth is there is no “right way” to experience art. Art is for everyone, and there are many experiences with art as there are people who enjoy it. Some of us like a lot of facts to better understand the work and its context. Others prefer a story or an interpretation. Others like to experience the emotions that encounters with art can provoke.

We recently held an open house for the AGO’s Community Access Initiative members and took them on a tour to help them guide their clients – many of who have never visited an art gallery before – through the AGO.

The AGO offers two ongoing community access programs to organizations serving marginalized communities: our Neighbourhood Access Program (NAP), which allows community organizations to book free self-guided visits to the AGO; and our Community Membership Program (CMP), which provides community organizations with four AGO membership cards (each card admits two adults and as many as five youths under age 18) to lend to their clients. Through these two programs, we serve more than 300 community organizations across the GTA.

These organizations allow us to introduce art to people who may never have set foot in a gallery. We work hard to embody our “art matters” motto — an assertion that art makes a difference in people’s lives — and part of that is making everyone to feel welcome and excited to experience it for themselves.

Here are some of the tips and tricks we shared with our Community Access Initiative members:

Observe

Invite people to take a close look and provide a timeframe for them to look. Doing this allows people to take a “visual inventory” of the work and focus. On average, people spend only nine seconds looking at an artwork – taking your time allows you to notice more details and think about digest what you’re seeing.

Describe

Describe the work as a group to establish an understanding of what is being seen. It may be useful to start by listing what everyone sees. Some things you can touch on include:

  • Line and shape: for example ask, “What lines and shapes do you see in this drawing?”
  • Colour: “Does any one colour dominate this painting?”
  • Composition: “Where is the figure in relation to the landscape?”
  • Material: “What do you think this sculpture is made of?”
  • Technique: “By looking closely at this painting, can you describe the brushstroke?”
  • Subject matter:”What objects do you see in this painting?”

Interpret

This is about giving meaning to the artwork. Responses can vary widely, so encourage different views and use ideas generated to expand on the conversation. Let people come to their own conclusions. Some things you can touch on include:

  • Time and place: “What season is suggested by this painting?”
  • Narrative:”What is happening with these two people?
  • Mood or psychological effect: “What is the overall mood of this photo?”
  • Artist’s intention: “Why do you think the artist decided to use these objects to create this sculpture?”
  • Artist’s biographical information: “What possible influence do you see of this artist’s homeland in this drawing?”
  • Historical and social context: “This painting was done in 1960. Are there things in the work that you associate with that time?”

Connect

Encourage members of the group to connect the works to their own life experiences. This will help them gain new insights and will make the works more relevant. Ask if they like the works, and feel free to share your own opinions. Here are some ways to make connections:

  • Personal life experience: “Does this look like the Toronto of today or the Toronto of when you were a child?”
  • Psychological and emotional effect: “How does this painting make you feel?”
  • Personal opinion: “Do you like this sculpture?”
  • Cultural changes and world events: “Does this war scene remind you of any specific conflict in the news?”
  • Other artwork: “How does this drawing of a landscape compare to the painting next to it?”

If you know of a deserving community organization that might benefit from one of our programs, please share this post! Have questions about Community Access at the AGO? Ask us in the comments below.


This month in Prints and Drawings: Date with Dada

March 11th, 2014

Valentine Hugo (French 1890-1968), Tristan Tzara (Romanian 1896-1963), Yves Tanguy (French 1900-1955), Paul Eluard (French 1895-1952), Nusch Eluard (French 1906-1946).                                                                                                 Cadavre Exquis  c. 1931 crayon on black paper                                                                                                       31.5 x 24.1 cm Purchased as a gift of the Trier-Fodor Foundation with the assistance of a Movable Cultural Property grant accorded by the Department of Canadian Heritage under the terms of the Cultural Property Export and Import Act, 2012 2012/6

Valentine Hugo (French 1890-1968), Tristan Tzara (Romanian 1896-1963), Yves Tanguy (French 1900-1955), Paul Eluard (French 1895-1952), Nusch Eluard (French 1906-1946). Cadavre Exquis, c. 1931, crayon on black paper, 31.5 x 24.1 cm. Purchased as a gift of the Trier-Fodor Foundation with the assistance of a Movable Cultural Property grant accorded by the Department of Canadian Heritage under the terms of the Cultural Property Export and Import Act, 2012.

This March the AGO’s Prints and Drawings department invites you to join them for a Date with Dada, the newest edition of its monthly Date with [Art] series.

Each Wednesday throughout the month, stop by the Marvin Gelber Print & Drawing Study Centre for the Open Door program, running from 1 to 8 p.m. Enjoy tours of the Study Centre and see original works by original works by Dada artists including Jean Arp, Max Ernst and Marcel Duchamp. Before 5 p.m., you can even ask staff members to bring specific works out from storage for viewing.

“Kicking the Traces: Dada 1916-1923” is the title of this month’s Second Friday Talk, happening on March 14 at 11 a.m. (the Study Centre doors open at 10:30 a.m. for viewing works). This is a free talk by one of our wonderful Prints and Drawings volunteers, featuring original works by Dada artists.

Have questions about Prints and Drawings at the AGO? Leave them in the comments below.

This month in Prints & Drawings: Date with Henri Matisse

February 13th, 2014

This February our Prints & Drawings department invites you to join them for a Date with Henri Matisse, the newest edition of its monthly Date with [Art] series.

Each Wednesday throughout the month, stop by the Marvin Gelber Print & Drawing Study Centre for the Open Door program, running from 1 to 8 p.m. Enjoy tours of the Study Centre and see original works by Henri Matisse. Before 5 p.m., you can even ask staff members to bring specific works out from storage for viewing.

Henri Matisse is also the title of this month’s Second Friday Talk, happening on Feb. 14 at 11 a.m. (the Study Centre doors open at 10:30 a.m. for viewing works). This is a free talk by one of our wonderful Prints and Drawings volunteers, featuring original works by Henri Matisse.

Have questions about Prints and Drawings at the AGO? Leave them in the comments below.

Kids take over for Family Day 2014!

February 11th, 2014

This Family Day, let your kids be part of something BIG! On Feb. 17, the AGO will transform into the KGO – the Kids’ Gallery of Ontario. Kids will take over the Gallery and let their creativity soar in this all-day art extravaganza.

Family Day at the AGO in 2013

Family Day at the AGO in 2013

Why choose KGO?

Discounted admission on a Family Day Pass includes all of the fun spread throughout the Gallery – from giant board games to an all-day dance party, to art-making in our studio!

Active fun includes dancing, a Gallery-wide game of Clue, virtual reality art-hunt challenges (via the Time Tremors AGO app), guided tours for kids and families, a Build-It-Take-It-Apart Room, and a giant build-it-yourself playground.

Kids and their adults can make their own original artworks in the Dr. Anne Tanenbaum Gallery School – an all-day art party designed to inspire creative minds to make amazing things. The Dr. Mariano Hands-On Centre hosts our youngest visitors (ages 5 and under), and includes games, play, art-making and stories.

Want to just hang out? Families can chill out in a yoga class, grab a tasty treat from our café and even take a memento home from our fantastic kids’ shop.

See art in new ways in our newest exhibition, Just Like Me: Explore, Imagine, Create. This exhibition is housed in the newly created Kids’ Gallery, and includes exciting works all about children from the AGO’s collections, a unique drawing and activity area, and a photo booth where you can become a work of art! On Instagram, use the hashtag #agokidsgallery and watch your portrait become part of the exhibition (and this popular Facebook album).

Did you know that kids 5 and under eat free at cafeAGO? Accompanied by an adult who’s spending $12 or more, get two free kids’ meals for free. Here are more details.

And getting here is easy! Access the KGO in the heart of downtown Toronto by transit or by car, or make a day of it and explore our neighbourhood — including nearby Chinatown, Kensington Market and Queen Street West — on foot!

The AGO's Gallery School during Family Day 2013.

The AGO’s Gallery School during Family Day 2013.

Family Day Hours

Monday, Feb. 17
Gallery hours: 10 am – 4 pm
Hands-On Centre: 10 am – 4 pm
FRANK Restaurant: 11 am – 3 pm
caféAGO: 10 am – 3:30 pm
Espresso Bar: 10 am – 3:30 pm
Members’ Lounge: 11 am – 3:30 pm
shopAGO & shopAGOkids: 10 am – 4 pm

On the agenda…

WALKER COURT

  • Giant floor games and all-day dance party (11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.)
  • Starting point for a Gallery-wide game of Clue

EXHIBITION

  • Visit the brand new Kids’ Gallery Just Like Me exhibition
  • Family-friendly films in Jackman Hall

WESTON FAMILY LEARNING CENTRE

  • Art-making activites
  • Meeting point for KGO Gallery tours
  • Built It and Take It Apart Room
  • Family yoga (11 a.m. and 1 p.m.)
  • Drop-in playtime for little ones in the Dr. Mariano Elia Hands-On Centre

Don’t forget: Save $10 on the AGO Family Pass. For $39 a Family Pass admits two adults and up to five youths (ages 6 to 17). Children 5 and under are FREE.

Date with Jane Avril: Toulouse-Lautrec’s Muse

September 3rd, 2013

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Jane Avril, 1899, brush lithograph, printed in four colours from three stones on paper, 56 x 38 cm. Gift of the Donald R. Muller/Ross R. Scott Collection, 2010. 2010/103.

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Jane Avril, 1899, brush lithograph, printed in four colours from three stones on paper, 56 x 38 cm. Gift of the Donald R. Muller/Ross R. Scott Collection, 2010. 2010/103.

This September our Prints & Drawings department invites you to join them for a Date with Jane Avril: Toulouse-Lautrec’s Muse, the newest edition of its Date with [Art] monthly programming series.

Starting Sept. 4 and each Wednesday throughout the month, stop by the Marvin Gelber Print & Drawing Study Centre for the Open Door program, running from 1 to 8 p.m. Enjoy tours of the Study Centre and see original prints by Toulouse-Lautrec. Before 5 p.m., you can even ask staff members to bring specific works out out from storage for viewing.

“Date with Jane Avril: Toulouse-Lautrec’s Muse” is also the title of this month’s Second Friday Talk, happening Sept. 13 at 11 a.m. (Study Centre doors open at 10:30 a.m. for viewing works). This is a free talk by one of our wonderful Prints and Drawings volunteers, centred around six original prints by Toulouse-Lautrec, all depicting cabaret performer Jane Avril.

Have questions about Prints and Drawings at the AGO? Leave them in the comments below.