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Stephan Jost appointed Michael and Sonja Koerner Director and CEO of the Art Gallery of Ontario

TORONTO — Stephan Jost has been appointed the Michael and Sonja Koerner Director and CEO of the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO), it was announced today. Currently the Director of the Honolulu Museum of Art (HoMA), Mr. Jost plans to join the AGO this spring, pending governmental approval of authorization to work in Canada.

“I am absolutely delighted to welcome Stephan to the AGO,” says Maxine Granovsky Gluskin, President of the AGO Board of Trustees and Chair of the Board search committee. “Stephan is a warm and engaging leader who has built upon the successes of each institution he has led. He is focused on artistic excellence, passionate about ensuring accessibility of art, committed to community engagement, and is deeply respected among his peers and colleagues. We believe he is the perfect fit for the AGO, and on behalf of our Trustees, staff and volunteers, I offer him our heartfelt congratulations.”

The Michigan-born Mr. Jost, 47, has been the Director of the HoMA since 2011. Under his leadership the Museum successfully merged two institutions on Oahu: the island’s contemporary and comprehensive art galleries. He balanced the newly-merged Museum’s budget, greatly expanded its education programs by significantly strengthening ties with Hawaii’s public school system, and made its exhibition program more relevant by creating meaningful relationships with the local community. Through these acheivements the HoMA was revitalized, and its membership was more than doubled.  

“I am thrilled to be joining the AGO, which is one of North America’s preeminent art museums,” says Stephan Jost. “The energy and diversity of Toronto is exciting, and the city is well positioned to be a true global leader. An exciting journey lies ahead for the AGO; one that builds upon its remarkable art collection and Matthew Teitelbaum’s successful legacy that positioned the Gallery as a leading, world class institution. I feel strongly that artists should help guide not only a national, but international cultural conversation that will help us better know ourselves and our world. It is a great honour to be appointed the Michael and Sonja Koerner Director and CEO of the Art Gallery of Ontario.”

The AGO commenced an international search process last year, after its longtime Director and CEO, Matthew Teitelbaum, was appointed the Ann and Graham Gund Director of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. A search committee comprising ten members of the AGO Board of Trustees worked with the executive recruitment firm Phillips Oppenheim, which specializes in the placement of museum directors within the cultural sector.

Responsible for the AGO’s artistic vision, strategic and financial direction and overall management, the Director and CEO oversees the Gallery’s collections, exhibitions and programs, human resources, facilities, and the institution’s further growth and development. The position calls for a candidate with deep institutional experience, an abiding passion for art and learning, and a commitment to community building and civic engagement.

More information about Mr. Jost’s start date at the AGO will be released at a later time. 

Stephan Jost joined the Honolulu Museum of Art as its Director in May 2011, with the goal of making the Museum a welcoming and accessible place for a more diverse audience to experience great art. Under his leadership, the Museum’s finances were dramatically improved, with debt and pension obligation reduced by 85 per cent; the education program expanded in reach and capacity, serving more than 30,000 students and adults through tours and classes; its membership increased by 64 per cent; and its staff revitalized with key hires, resulting in an energized visitor experience. Prior to that appointment, Mr. Jost was the Director of the Shelburne Museum in Vermont, the Director of the Mills College Art Museum in Oakland, California, and held several curatorial positions at the Allen Memorial Art Museum of Oberlin College in Ohio. Born in Michigan, Mr. Jost has a BA in art history from Hampshire College in Massachusetts and an MA in art history, specializing in the history of photography, from the University of Texas at Austin. Mr. Jost, who was married in Toronto ten years ago, will relocate to the city this spring with his husband, Will Scott—a Toronto-born educator with a PhD in history from the University of California, Berkeley—and their 5 year-old daughter. Mr. Jost holds American and Swiss citizenships.

With a collection of more than 90,000 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 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, and the AGO’s Weston Family Learning Centre offers engaging art and creative programs for children, families, youth and adults.

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 press inquiries, please contact:

Caitlin Coull
Manager, Communications
Art Gallery of Ontario

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