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Exhibitions Continue Until AGO Closes for Reinstallation

Date Posted: March, 1, 2007

Some Programming Maintained Through Closure Period

The Art Gallery of Ontario willtemporarily close effective October 8 to begin reinstalling art for its mid-2008grand re-opening of the Frank Gehry-designed expansion. Until that date, theAGO will remain open with outstanding programming including EmilyCarr: New Perspectives on a Canadian Icon (opening March 3) andthe summer show, to include the newly acquired Bernini sculpture Corpus,the recently repatriated Dundas Collection and works fromthe Victoria and Albert Museum.

In addition, throughout the closure, a number of programs andservices will continue, including the Gallery School, Art Rental andSales, an innovative web-based collections program and extensivecommunity outreach.

“The closure is a necessary part of ourreinstallation period,” says Paul Altherr, chief operating officer. “Itwill provide a controlled environment enabling us to reinstall thegalleries and complete final finishes in the galleries previously opento the public, as well as test and monitor the new spaces for optimallight, humidity and temperature settings.”

“There will also beparts of the building still under construction where visitor trafficwould impede work,” says Altherr. “During this period we will also bedeveloping and implementing training programs for staff and volunteersand preparing for new retail and restaurant operations.”

“Wewill have been open and accessible to the public for more than twoyears of construction when we temporarily cease on-site programming onOctober 8,” says Matthew Teitelbaum, the Michael and Sonja Koernerdirector, and CEO. “We’re well into an unprecedented chapter in the107-year history of the AGO and the staff and volunteers of the AGO aredeeply gratified by the loyalty, patience, understanding and activesupport of our visitors during this period.”

Continuing at the AGO throughout the closure period:

The AGO’s Gallery School willoffer an array of classes for adults and children at its temporarylocation just down the street from the AGO at 60 McCaul Street. Schoolstudio visits to the Gallery School will also continue. Other on-goingactivities include AGO summer and March Break camps, the AGO’s annual Canada celebration of Art in the Park and Teens Behind the Scenes youth programs.

Also throughout the closure period, the AGO’s Art Rental and Sales Gallerywill continue operations at 481 University Avenue. The art rentalprogram has been operating out of this location since February 2006,offering fine contemporary art available for rent to AGO members andfor sale to everyone. The Travel AGO program willalso continue, offering to the public guided visits to art museums,select private and corporate collections and artist studios.

As well, the AGO’s web site ( provide virtual visitors updates on continuing programming, theprogress of construction and behind-the-scenes information about thereinstallation process.

Also on the virtual front, communityart projects, workshops and programming will be underway across theprovince throughout the closure period as part of the ArtsAccess project– an art education and community development project in partnershipwith the Multicultural History Society of Ontario, City of TorontoMuseums, Jumblies Theatre, Regent Park Focus, Kitchener Waterloo ArtGallery, Woodland Cultural Centre and Thunder Bay Art Gallery.

Some of the AGO’s permanent collection will be available on Collection X,a soon-to-be-unveiled online social space created as part of theArtsAccess project where museums, artists and community can shareartworks, and create and exchange ideas about art and life.

In addition, volunteers with the gallery’s AGO is A Go outreach teamwill be out in the community at festivals and club meetings talkingabout the transformed AGO, new acquisitions and upcoming programming.
In light of the closure period, AGO membershave been offered an extension on their membership. For example, ifthey have five months remaining on their membership as of October 8,five months will be added at time of re-opening.

Members willcontinue receiving Art Matters magazine and e-news updates, and willalso retain a number of member benefits including discounts at ArtRental, on education courses in the Gallery School at 60 McCaul Street,restaurant partner discounts and access to Travel AGO. In addition,throughout the closure period, the Textile Museum, located at 55 CentreStreet, will offer free admission to AGO members. Special members’ daysmay be held at other local and regional venues. A number of otherpartnerships have been established with arts organizations includingSoulpepper, Toronto Symphony Orchestra and the National Ballet ofCanada, offering AGO members discounted tickets.

“Despite theimpacts of construction, our visitors have remained true adventurers ona journey that will be as rewarding tomorrow as it may be challengingtoday,” says Teitelbaum. “We will continue to welcome all to the AGOright up until we suspend on-site programming as of October 8, and wewill continue to stay connected to them while we reinstall more than5,000 works in 110 galleries.

“When they return to thetransformed AGO, designed by one of the leading architects of our time,they will embrace it, know they helped build it and feel that itbelongs to them.”

With a permanent collection of more than66,000 works of art, the Art Gallery of Ontario is among the mostdistinguished art museums in North America. In 2002, the Gallery beganan extraordinary chapter in its 107-year history when it launchedTransformation AGO. Multi-faceted in scope, Transformation AGO involvesthe unprecedented growth of the permanent collection, an innovativearchitectural expansion by world-renowned architect Frank Gehry, andthe strengthening of the museum’s endowment resources. As theimaginative centre of the city, the transformed AGO will dramaticallyenrich our visitors’ experiences and provide new access to the fullvibrancy of the art museum. Boldly declaring that art matters, the newAGO will re-open fully in 2008.


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

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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