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AGO launches ongoing exhibition series for kids

The Kids’ Gallery features artworks, activities and a family play area designed for children, making the AGO the family destination to beat

TORONTO — For the first time ever, the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) is launching a special ongoing exhibition series, The Kids’ Gallery, geared towards children and their families. Just Like Me: Explore, Imagine, Create is the first installation in the series and opens on Dec. 21, 2013. Sponsored by BMO Financial Group, the exhibition will feature a selection of 23 paintings, sculptures and photographs from the AGO’s European, Canadian, Inuit and photography collections. The Kids’ Gallery space includes multisensory activities and art books to inspire adults and children to meaningfully engage with art.

“The AGO is the perfect place for kids and families! We want to enrich their visitor experience through unforgettable learning experiences and play,” said Lorrie Ann Smith, manager of public programs and audience development. “The Kids’ Gallery will be a welcoming and vibrant space inside the Gallery where children and adults can learn about art together; giving families a better understanding of how art and creativity can play a meaningful part in their lives.”

"BMO Financial Group is proud to support an exhibition that enriches the lives of children and their families,” said Nada Ristich, Director, Corporate Donations. "As Lead Sponsor of family programming at the AGO, BMO has an opportunity to fund activities likes these that educate and engage the communities in which we do business."

Just Like Me: Explore, Imagine, Create makes art easy for young ones to enjoy with kid-friendly text panels and works hung at child height. The exhibition features images and paintings of children from diverse periods and cultures, encouraging young ones to reflect on the similarities and differences between their lives and those of families in other times and places.

The exhibition is curated by Lloyd DeWitt, curator of European art at the AGO. According to DeWitt, “Kids are often fascinated by images of other kids. We’re gathering the greatest works from the AGO collection that feature children as subjects in order to offer our youngest visitors both a mirror to see themselves in the art, and a window to peer into other eras and cultures.”

The AGO invites families to learn, play and rest inside The Kids’ Gallery with books, drawing and dress-up activities. Exhibition-inspired costumes and props are available for visitors to design, dress up and pose for their own portraits. Families are encouraged to post their photographs on Instagram with the #AGOkidsgallery hashtag to see their portrait appear on a screen in the space. The Kids’ Gallery activity centre also includes art books and a drawing station for budding artists inspired by the exhibited works.

For more family-friendly fun, the AGO’s Family Creativity Lounge in the Margaret & Jim Fleck Gallery offers visitors of all ages a space to rest and make art in a relaxed atmosphere. The Weston Family Learning Centre also offers families a dedicated area for art instruction and creative play. The Dr. Mariano Elia Hands-On Centre is open to the AGO’s youngest visitors from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Tuesday through Friday, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

As well, caféAGO is available to all Gallery visitors to enjoy a snack and beverages before or after any of the family activities, where all kids 5 years and younger eat free.

The AGO acknowledges BMO Financial Group, Lead Sponsor of AGO Family Programs.

For more than 195 years, BMO Financial Group has believed in community reinvestment and corporate and social responsibility in the communities it serves. In 2012, BMO contributed more than $87.6 million in donations, sponsorships and events in Canada and the United States to groups, organizations and programs that help build and sustain resilient, vital and healthy communities.

With a collection of more than 80,000 works of art, the Art Gallery of Ontario is among the most distinguished art museums in North America. From the vast body of Group of Seven and signature Canadian works to the African art gallery, from the cutting-edge contemporary art to Peter Paul Rubens’ masterpiece The Massacre of The Innocents, the AGO offers an incredible art experience with each visit. In 2002 Kenneth Thomson’s generous gift of 2,000 remarkable works of Canadian and European art inspired Transformation AGO, an innovative architectural expansion by world-renowned architect Frank Gehry that in 2008 resulted in one of the most critically acclaimed architectural achievements in North America. Highlights include Galleria Italia, a gleaming showcase of wood and glass running the length of an entire city block, and the often-photographed spiral staircase, beckoning visitors to explore. The AGO has an active membership program offering great value, and the AGO’s Weston Family Learning Centre offers engaging art and creative programs for children, families, youth and adults. Visit to find out more about upcoming special exhibitions, to learn about eating and shopping at the AGO, to register for programs and to buy tickets or memberships.

Nov. 30, 2013 – Mar. 2, 2014: The Great Upheaval: Masterpieces from the Guggenheim Collection, 1910-18

Apr. 5, 2014 – July 6, 2014: Francis Bacon & Henry Moore

The Art Gallery of Ontario is funded in part by the Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport. Additional operating support is received from the City of Toronto, the Canada Council for the Arts and generous contributions from AGO members, donors and private-sector partners.


For media inquiries about Family Programming at the AGO, please contact:

Laura Banks; News Officer, AGO Communications
416-979-6660, ext. 504,

Andrea-Jo Wilson; News Officer, AGO Communications
416-979-6660, ext. 403,

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