AGO First Thursdays returns in September with an artful chorus of Nostalgia Canadiana

Toronto musicians celebrate musical landscape with a tribute to iconic Canadian band Rheostatics  

TORONTO – After a brief summer hiatus, the AGO’s First Thursdays art party series returns Sept. 3, 2015 with an exciting line up of art making, live music, talks and interactive installations, all in the key of Canada. Tickets to the fall launch of First Thursdays are on sale now. Opening after the Gallery closes, these art parties are 19+ events and run from 7 to 11:30 p.m. Regular-priced tickets are $12 in advance and $15 at the door. Admission for AGO members is $10 in advance and $13 at the door. Tickets for September are expected to sell out; be sure to follow #AGO1st on Twitter and Instagram for updates.

A celebration of landscape, nature and nationhood, September’s First Thursday theme is Nostalgia Canadiana, marking the final weeks of the exhibition Picturing the Americas: Landscape Painting from Tierra del Fuego to the Arctic.

Beginning at 9 p.m. in Walker Court, some of Toronto’s very best musicians and songwriters will gather to pay tribute to the iconic Canadian rock band Rheostatics, who this fall celebrate  the 20th anniversary of their seminal album, Music Inspired by the Group of Seven. Joining bandleader Thom Gill onstage for one night only to perform their favourite Rheostatics songs will be Laura Barrett (The Hidden Cameras), Terra Lightfoot, Casey Mecija (Ohbijou), Mike O’Brien (Zeus), Sandro Perri, Marker Starling (formerly Mantler) and special guest Mary Margaret O’Hara.

The September First Thursday lineup also includes:

Picturing the Americas: Landscape painting from Tierra del Fuego to the Arctic
First Thursday party-goers are invited to journey from the frozen cap of North America to the icy tip of South America — past volcanoes, jungles and icebergs — through the work of some of the world’s most acclaimed landscape painters. Developed jointly in an innovative partnership between the Terra Foundation for American Art, the Pinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo and the AGO Picturing the Americas: Landscape Painting from Tierra del Fuego to the Arctic brings together 120 works of art by 85 artists and goes behind the canvas to reveal the histories, conflicts and scientific explorations that shaped how we see the land we inhabit. Party-goers can purchase $22 advance combo-ticket packages to see Picturing the Americas. The exhibition will be open until 10 p.m., with the last entry at 9 p.m.

Artist Projects
Inspired by works in the AGO’s collection of Canadian art, Toronto singer Isla Craig will lead a roving choir through the galleries, singing songs culled from Canadian collective memory. On the second floor, visitors are invited to watch Toronto artist Ben Oakley create a live drawing installation using only tape. In the European Galleries, visitors can catch a one night only screening of Felix Kalmenson’s new video.

Pop-Up Talks
Beginning at 8 p.m. in the Marvin Gelber Print and Drawing Centre, Georgina Uhlyarik, AGO Associate Curator of Canadian Art, will discuss her selection of iconic Canadian prints on display as part of this months Out of the Vaults exhibition. At 8:30 p.m. in Irina Moora Gallery, join poet and dancer Aisha Sasha John, performance artist Keith Cole, thespian Cathy Gordan and writer Chris Randle as they present a series of short talks individually reflecting on the subject of nostalgia and landscape. Objibwe artist and educator Bonnie Devine joins AGO’s own curator of Canadian Art Andrew Hunter at 9 p.m. in the Canadian Galleries to discuss the completion of her mural Battle for the Woodlands (2014-15) and installationObjects to Clothe the Warriors (2015).

Art Making
This month’s interactive art projects invite visitors to debate and colour their landscapes. Toronto artist, activist and musician Maggie MacDonald will lead an interactive mapping project to locate and discuss environmental issues in Canada. On the second floor, visitors will be invited to pull up a stool at the paint-by-numbers pop-up studio and brush between the lines.

Join Justin Peroff of Toronto band Broken Social Scene and Vanessa Dunn of Vag Halen, as they DJ through the night in Galleria Italia and Walker Court.

Additional local artists, speakers and interactive projects will be announced in the coming weeks at First Thursdays. The evening will also feature especially themed food and drinks, available in the ever popular night market (cash bar; ID required). 

To purchase advance tickets, and for all the latest details on First Thursdays programming, visit First Thursdays and follow #AGO1st on Twitter and Instagram.

AGO First Thursdays Acknowledgements:

Official Beer Partner: Grolsch Premium Lager

Signature Partner, AGO Artist Projects: RBC Emerging Artists Project

Media Partner: NOW Magazine

Picturing the Americas Acknowledgements:

Picturing the Americas was organized by the Art Gallery of Ontario, Pinocoteca do Estado de Sao Paolo, and the Terra Foundation for American art, which is also recognized for its generous support.

Lead Sponsor: Yamana Gold Inc.

Generously supported by the Terra Foundation for American Art

Supported by the Government of Canada / Avec l'appui du gouvernement du Canada 

Government Partner: Government of Ontario

Official Hotel Partner: Chelsea Hotel

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 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.

June 20 – Sept. 20, 2015: Picturing the Americas

Oct. 31, 2015 – Jan. 31, 2016: J.M.W. Turner: Painting Set Free

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 all media inquiries about AGO First Thursdays, including high-resolution images and interview requests, please contact:

Jumol Royes, Communications Officer
416-979-6660, ext. 504, [email protected]

Andrea-Jo Wilson, Senior Communications Officer
416-979-6660, ext. 403, [email protected]

Be the first to find out about AGO exhibitions and events, get the behind-the-scenes scoop and book tickets before it’s too late.
You can unsubscribe at any time.