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Canadian vocal star Measha Brueggergosman joins dynamic AGO Creative Minds line-up

Four artists, one conversation on this issues of our time and an award-winning soprano make for an unmissable series launch

TORONTO — Fresh from performances across Canada, the USA and Europe, Canadian singer Measha Brueggergosman returns to Toronto for a live musical performance at the launch of AGO Creative Minds at Massey Hall on Sept. 20, 2016.

The series kicks off with an evening of unscripted dialogue on the topic of Art and Social Justice, featuring André Alexis, Rebecca Belmore, Deepa Mehta and Buffy Sainte-Marie. Moderated by Matt Galloway, host of CBC Radio's Metro Morning, the conversation will begin with a discussion of each artist’s relationship to activism, resistance and reconciliation through the lens of their work and life experiences. Drawing from these personal contexts, Galloway will challenge the artists to consider the role of the creative community in confronting issues of systemic discrimination and social justice, and to outline the actions they see as necessary to provoke real change.

A partnership between the Art Gallery of Ontario, Massey Hall, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, Creative Minds is a new semi-annual series of artist-driven dialogues that will invite Canadians to consider urgent contemporary issues through the eyes of some of the world’s most innovative and unconventional thinkers. Moderated by leading cultural journalists and covering matters of local and international relevance, each event will feature a panel of artists from diverse disciplines exploring one issue as it relates to their work and lives. The events will be streamed online and broadcast on radio by CBC, giving audiences across Canada an opportunity to hear what the artists have to say. 

Measha Brueggergosman recently appeared in VisionTV’s Songs of Freedom, a production that blends musical performance and documentary. The series featured Brueggergosman performing a collection of Freedom Songs that emerged from Africa via the slave trade to America, then came to Canada via the United Empire Loyalist migration and the Underground Railroad. Brueggergosman will perform a selection from this collection of Freedom Songs at the launch of Creative Minds, underscoring the topic of the evening.

“As a longtime advocate for social and environmental causes—and as an incredible performer—Measha is the perfect artist to help us inaugurate Creative Minds,” says Sean O’Neill, the AGO’s Associate Director, Adult Programming & Partnerships. “All four cultural partners are thrilled to have her return to Toronto to help propel forward our conversation about the role artists play in shaping our world.”

“Artists hold the power to engage audiences in awareness of social injustices, giving a voice to those throughout the world who may not have a platform to be heard,” says Measha Brueggergosman. “I am honoured to be part of an evening that brings attention to the artist’s role in the world of activism and their ability to bring change through art.”

Tickets for the launch of AGO Creative Minds at Massey Hall are available through the Roy Thomson Hall box office, and range from $19.50 to $49.50 and are on sale now. For more information, please visit www.AGOCreativeMinds.ca.

Creative Minds is supported by Series Presenters Jonas and Lynda Prince.

About Measha Brueggergosman

Measha Brueggergosman is an award-winning Canadian soprano who is recognized around the world for her spectacular voice and innate musicianship. She has shared the stage with the likes of Bill Gates and former U.S. President Bill Clinton and given performances for Nelson Mandela, Kofi Annan and Queen Elizabeth II. At the 2010 Vancouver Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, 3.2 billion television viewers from across the globe witnessed her singing during the Opening Ceremonies. Her musical range encompasses everything from gospel hymns and jazz standards to classical music. She is also Canadian good-will ambassador for African Medical and Research Foundation (AMREF), Learning Through the Arts and the World Wildlife Fun (WWF).

About André Alexis

André Alexis is an acclaimed novelist, playwright and librettist. Born in Trinidad and raised in Canada, he has been the recipient of several significant Canadian literary awards. His most recent novel, Fifteen Dogs, won the 2015 Scotiabank Giller Prize and the Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize. His debut novel, Childhood, won the Books in Canada First Novel Award, the Trillium Book Award, and was shortlisted for the Giller Prize and the Writers' Trust Fiction Prize. His other books include Pastoral (nominated for the Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize), Asylum, Beauty and SadnessIngrid & the WolfDespair and Other Stories of Ottawa and Lambton, Kent and Other Vistas: A Play.

About Rebecca Belmore

Rebecca Belmore is a Montreal-based multi­disciplinary artist and a member of the Lac Seul First Nation at Frenchman's Head, Ontario. In 2013 she won the Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts. She gained international acclaim at the 2005 Venice Biennale’s Canadian Pavilion where she was the first Indigenous woman to represent Canada. Belmore has exhibited and performed internationally and nationally since 1987. She won the Jack and Doris Shadbolt Foundation’s prestigious VIVA Award 2004 and the 2009 Hnatyshyn Visual Arts Award. Her work is in the collections of the National Gallery of Canada, the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Canada Council Art Bank, the Canadian Museum of Civilization and many others.

About Matt Galloway

Matt Galloway is the host of Metro Morning on CBC Radio One, 99.1 FM, and the host of Podcast Playlist on CBC Radio One. He has anchored CBC Radio's coverage of the 2008 Summer Olympics live from Beijing, and the 2010 and 2014 Winter Olympics. In 2012, he was given the Excellence In Community Service Award for addressing issues confronting diverse communities by the Intercultural Dialogue Institute, and in 2013, received the Award for Diversity and Social Inclusion by the Tagore Anniversary Celebrations Committee of Toronto. In 2015, Toronto Life Magazine named him one of Toronto's top 15 most influential people, and he also received the African Canadian Achievement Award for excellence in Media.

About Deepa Mehta

Deepa Mehta is an Academy Award-nominated transnational filmmaker whose films have played major film festivals around the globe. Acclaimed as daring, fearless and provocative, her work challenges traditions and stereotypes. She is best known for her Elements Trilogy of Fire, Earth, and Water, which was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. Her other directing credits include Bollywood/Hollywood, Heaven on Earth, Midnight’s Children, the epic adaptation of Salman Rushdie’s three-time Booker Prize–winning novel, and her latest film, Beeba Boys, a tough, stylish gangster film.

About Buffy Sainte-Marie

Buffy Sainte-Marie is an award-winning musician, songwriter, activist, educator, and visual artist whose audacious attitude to life on and off the stage has inspired people around the world for over four decades. She is known for her 1960s protest anthems (“Universal Soldier”), open-hearted love songs (“Until It’s Time for You to Go”), incendiary powwow rock (“Starwalker”), and the Academy Award–winning song “Up Where We Belong,” which Sainte-Marie co-wrote for the film An Officer and a Gentleman. One of the most compelling artists of our time, she combines a high-energy stage presence with cerebral songs that tell powerful stories.

About the Art Gallery of Ontario
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 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 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.

About The Corporation of Massey Hall and Roy Thomson Hall
The Corporation of Massey Hall and Roy Thomson Hall is a not-for-profit charitable organization operating two of Canada’s premier concert halls. Showcasing the world’s greatest performers in all disciplines, the two halls are also prominent venues for diverse activities in the business and entertainment district of downtown Toronto. Managed by a professional management team with a volunteer Board of Governors, the Corporation’s mission is to provide a world-renowned environment to showcase international artists and entertainment; to provide public space for the cultural and corporate communities of the Greater Toronto Area; to support the development of Canadian talent; to increase and enhance its worldwide profile as a leader in the arts community through its professionalism and programming.

About CBC/Radio-Canada

CBC/Radio-Canada is Canada's national public broadcaster and one of its largest cultural institutions. We are Canada’s trusted source of news, information and Canadian entertainment. Deeply rooted in communities all across the country, CBC/Radio-Canada offers diverse content in English, French and eight aboriginal languages. We also provide international news and information from a uniquely Canadian perspective.

À propos de CBC/Radio-Canada

CBC/Radio-Canada est le radiodiffuseur public national du Canada et l'une des plus grandes institutions culturelles du pays. Nous sommes la source d’information et de contenus de divertissement canadiens vers laquelle les Canadiens se tournent avec confiance. Profondément enracinée dans les communautés de partout au pays, CBC/Radio-Canada offre une programmation diversifiée en français, en anglais et en huit langues autochtones. Nous présentons également un point de vue typiquement canadien sur l’information internationale.

About Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity

Founded in 1933, Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity is a learning organization built upon an extraordinary legacy of excellence in artistic training and creative development.  With advanced education in the arts, and leadership the organization aims to inspire the artists, leaders, and thinkers who attend campus to unleash their creative potential and realize their unique contribution to society. Learn more at banffcentre.ca 

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 For press inquiries, please contact:

Samantha Chater
Communications Officer

416-979-6660, ext. 504
Andrea-Jo_Wilson@ago.net

Andrea-Jo Wilson
Senior Communications Officer

416-979-6660, ext. 403
Andrea-Jo_Wilson@ago.net

Caitlin Coull
Manager, Communications

416-979-6660, ext. 364
Caitlin_Coull@ago.net

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