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Accessibility a Priority in the Transformed AGO

(Toronto: March 31, 2008) When the Art Gallery of Ontarioopens in fall 2008, expanded access programs will include freeafter-school general admission for all Ontario secondary students.

“We’re nearing the completion of an extraordinary new home forextraordinary art,” says Matthew Teitelbaum, the AGO’s Michael andSonja Koerner director, and CEO. “Even as we step onto the world stageas a cultural destination, we want to make the AGO accessible andwelcoming to the people of Toronto and Ontario. We want them to feelthis is their art museum, a place where they will connect with art andwant to return time and again.”

As part of a strengthened commitment to accessibility, all Ontariosecondary school students will have free general admission to the AGOTuesdays through Fridays from 3 to 5:30 pm.

“In making the AGO a free after-school destination and resource forOntario’s young people, we are providing a safe, creative space whenafter-school options are diminishing,” says Teitelbaum. “We can make ameaningful difference.”

Among other free-access programs:

  • The transformed AGO will continue to offer free general admission on Wednesday evenings.
  • As a founding partner in the Toronto Public Library’s Sun Life Financial Museum Arts Pass program, the AGO will offer free access to library users.
  • Building on its precedent-setting Citizen AGO program, where new citizens at selected Toronto citizenship ceremonies receive a one-year pass, the AGO will continue with initiatives that enable new citizens to learn more about their new homeland through art.
  • The AGO’s education department will launch its adopt-a-school program, where each year, three elementary schools in the GTA participate in free specialized art programs. Teachers from the designated schools will also have free professional development and their students will have free access to the Gallery.
  • The Neighbourhood Access Program, which currently offers free self-guided group visits to 12 local schools, community centres and daycares, will be expanded.
  • The Community Membership Program, which provides free access to galleries and family programming to more than 30 local organizations working with challenged communities, will also be expanded.

The AGO is also in discussions with area post-secondary institutions to further student access.

When completed, the transformed AGO, designed by Canadian-bornarchitect Frank Gehry, will feature almost 50 percent more galleryspace than pre-transformation. Thousands of new works, among them thelate Ken Thomson’s internationally acclaimed collection of Canadian andEuropean art, will join perennial AGO favourites innovatively presentedin 110 light-filled galleries.

A single adult general admission ticket will be $18. Generaladmission for all youths ages 6 to 18, as well as full-time studentswith ID, will be $10. Families of up to two adults and five childrenwill be $45 and $15 for seniors. Children, ages five and under, will befree.

“A key focus of our transformation is bringing diverse communitiesand great art together,” says Teitelbaum. “It’s a commitment shared byall who have supported our transformation, and we will continue to workwith corporations and individuals in finding new and innovative ways toremove the barriers to art and the AGO.”

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For media information or visuals, please call:
Antonietta Mirabelli, 416 979 6660, ext. 454, Antonietta_Mirabelli@ago.net

The Art Gallery of Ontario is funded in part by the Ontario Ministry of Culture. Additional operating support is received from the Volunteers of the AGO, the City of Toronto, the Department of Canadian Heritage and the Canada Council for the Arts.

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