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Art Gallery of Ontario hires Stephanie Smith as new Chief Curator

Smith to join AGO from the University of Chicago’s Smart Museum of Art

TORONTO — The Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) has hired Stephanie Smith as its new Chief Curator. With two decades of museum experience, Smith—an accomplished curator, writer and educator—joins the AGO on Aug. 19, 2014.

In her current role as the Deputy Director and Chief Curator of the University of Chicago’s Smart Museum of Art, Smith has led the intellectual, artistic and educational programs of a dynamic museum based in one of the world’s great research universities. Lauded for making contemporary art an anchor of the Smart Museum’s programs and profile through major exhibitions, artists’ commissions, and publications, Smith has also acquired significant works for the Museum’s collection by artists including Adrian Piper, Kerry James Marshall, Michael Rakowitz and Zhang Huan during her tenure.

“Stephanie is a strategic, innovative and inspiring leader whose adventurous projects combine international scope while paying close attention to her local community,” said Matthew Teitelbaum, Director and CEO of the AGO. “She has a proven track record for developing interdisciplinary projects that encourage deep audience engagement and participation, and I’m delighted that she’ll bring that expertise and passion to the AGO.”

“The AGO’s reputation as an institution devoted both to its collection and its exhibition programs is enjoying an ever-increasing reach, and Stephanie is the perfect person to help us continue on this path of smart, innovative development,” said Maxine Granovsky Gluskin, President of the AGO Board of Trustees. “On behalf of the Board, I welcome her to the Gallery and to Toronto.”

Born in St. Louis, Missouri, and a graduate of Rice University in Houston, Smith has held positions at Houston’s Contemporary Arts Museum and the Rice University Art Gallery in addition to internships at institutions ranging from the alternative space Capp Street Project, San Francisco, to the Menil Collection, Houston, to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

Upon taking up her new position in August, Smith will lead the Gallery’s curatorial team in designing exceptional art experiences that achieve the Gallery’s strategic goals. She will focus on exhibition planning in addition to developing the AGO’s significant collections, positioning Toronto’s rich artistic community in the widest context possible.

“I’m thrilled to be joining the AGO at such an exciting time in the Gallery’s history,” said Stephanie Smith. “My belief that visitor experience is paramount to an art museum’s mission aligns perfectly with the AGO’s commitment to listening carefully to its audience as it develops engaging, rigorous programming. I look forward to working with the AGO’s incredible curatorial team to develop dynamic and collaborative projects. Together we can extend the Gallery’s reach as one of the world’s leading civic art museums — and deepen its role as a locally beloved resource for all the citizens of Toronto.”

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 Ken 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.

April 5, 2014 – July 20, 2014: Francis Bacon and Henry Moore: Terror and Beauty

Aug. 23, 2014 – January 4, 2015: Alex Colville

Oct. 18, 2014 – Jan. 11, 2015: Michelangelo

The Art Gallery of Ontario receives additional operating support from the City of Toronto, the Canada Council for the Arts and generous contributions from AGO members, donors and private-sector partners.


For press inquiries, please contact:

Caitlin Coull; Manager, AGO Communications
416-979-6660, ext. 364,

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

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