AGO launches Virtual School Programs en français, part of dynamic winter line-up of online classes, talks and events

Warm up this winter on AGO.ca with artists Kapwani Kiwanga and Martha Rosler, multisensory projects from OCAD U and a giant-sized virtual Family Day drawing party

TORONTO — Since launching October 2020, the Art Gallery of Ontario’s (AGO) innovative live Virtual School Programs has provided free art education to more than 100,000 students across Ontario and beyond (we see you Sao Paolo!). In response to COVID-19 and the cancellation of school field trips to the Gallery, the AGO continues to make great strides in bringing art education and art-focused conversations online, making the Gallery more accessible than ever before to students, parents, caregivers and teachers.

“Last summer we made it our focus to really engage with our audiences online, and the response from artists, teachers, members, funding partners, and our diverse publics, has been incredible. This winter is the same,” said Audrey Hudson, the AGO’s Richard & Elizabeth Currie Chief, Education & Programming. “We will continue to present art-forward programs and events for all ages that will surprise and delight, and having thoughtful conversation. Art has a central role to play in fostering our connections and wellness, now more than ever.” 
 
AGO Virtual School Programs are made possible with the generous support of The Michael Young Family Foundation. Talks and Performances are made possible with the generous support of TD Bank Group, as part of the TD Ready Commitment. For information about upcoming AGO programs, including talks, performances and classes related to the special exhibition Studio 54: Night Magic, visit ago.ca/events. Registration is now open for all events, including the first three weeks of Virtual School Programs.  Adult, youth and children’s courses begin Thursday, Jan. 7, and are on sale now.
 
AGO Members receive a discount on courses. For more information on how to become a Member, visit ago.ca/membership today. AGO Annual Passes provide unlimited entry for an entire year, including access to any programs that are free with admission. Annual Passes are $35 and free for visitors 25 and under.
 
Highlights from the AGO’s winter season are listed below.
 
AGO Virtual School Programs
The AGO’s Virtual School Programs resumes on Monday, Jan. 11.  These free live classes will be delivered every Monday to Friday, through June 18, 2021.  Designed to complement the Ontario Curriculum, these sessions are open to students, parents, teachers and caregivers everywhere. Sessions are offered three times a day, tailored for students in JK to Grade 3, Grades 4 to 8 and Grades 9 to 12, with unique age-appropriate conversations.  Drawing on works from the AGO Collection and featuring discussion and mini activities, sessions are organized thematically, and beginning in January, select classes will be offered in French.  To see the schedule of sessions, learn more about the thematic topics and to register for one or all of these free sessions, visit ago.ca/visit/group-visits/virtual-school-programs.

Talks
Committed to leading global conversations from Toronto, the AGO winter season includes numerous online talks by artists, curators, community leaders and authors. Highlights include:

Close Looking, the AGO’s bi-weekly series of online art talks highlighting artworks from the AGO Collection airing on the AGO Facebook page, continues this winter with a look at flowers and plants. Join the AGO’s Associate Curator of Prints & Drawings Alexa Greist on Monday, Jan. 18 at 11 a.m., when she presents a series of nine engravings from the Flora Danica, the famed botanical atlas of Denmark, created between 1761 and 1883. For more details visit https://ago.ca/events/flora-danica-what-can-you-learn-pictures-flowers.
 
Art in the Spotlight, the AGO’s free conversation series returns this winter with an exciting line up of local and international artists. Happening every Tuesday afternoon on Zoom, be sure to visit https://ago.ca/programs for more details about upcoming talks and to register.

  • Toronto born artist and Illustrator Moya Garrison-Msingwana discusses his work with Michael Nyarkoh, co-founder of Tone Study magazine in the first Art in the Spotlight of 2021 on Tuesday, Jan. 12  at 4 p.m. To register for this free Zoom talk, visit https://ago.ca/events/art-spotlight-moya-garrison-msingwana.
     
  • Franco-Ontarian artist Kapwani Kiwanga, a recent recipient of the prestigious Marcel Duchamp Prize, joins Devyani Saltzman  on Tuesday, Jan. 19 at 2 p.m. to discuss her work. To register for this free Zoom talk, visit https://ago.ca/events/art-spotlight-kapwani-kiwanga.
     
  • The acclaimed American photographer and conceptual artist Martha Rosler joins the AGO’s Curator of Photography Sophie Hackett in conversation on Tuesday, Jan. 26 at 4 p.m. To register for this free Zoom talk, visit https://ago.ca/events/art-spotlight-martha-rosler.

On Wednesday, Feb. 10, at 11 a.m., join New York Times-best selling children’s illustrator and author Kim Smith, for a live reading of her new book, Boxitects, and a creative activity with the AGO’s Director of Learning & Engagement, Paola Poletto. This free event is presented on Zoom in collaboration with HarperCollins Canada. To register visit https://ago.ca/events/childrens-author-kim-smith-reads-boxitects.
 
Community Programs
The Art Gallery of Ontario recognizes the diversity of our visitors' abilities and needs, and offers a variety of online programs and services to ensure the accessibility of the museum and its collection. That commitment continues this winter at the AGO, with multisensory explorations courtesy of OCAD University students, the return of monthly Seniors Social events, and a new partnership with Tangled Art + Disability. 

  • Each year, students from OCAD U’s Inclusive Design Multisensory Museum Course are tasked with translating artworks in the AGO Collection into multisensory objects. Join Dr. Peter Coppin, Associate Professor in the Faculty of Design at OCAD U, and the AGO’s Assistant Curator of Community Programs, Melissa Smith on Friday, Jan. 8 to discuss the course and its goals. Following their discussion, and throughout the winter and spring, the AGO will debut the multisensory translations created by OCAD University students, in a series of student made videos on the AGO Facebook page. To register for this free talk, and to see a complete schedule of the multisensory translations, visit https://ago.ca/visit/accessibility-ago/access-to-art.
     
  • The AGO’s very popular monthly Seniors Social program returns online this winter, with conversation and artmaking activities for adults across Ontario, thanks to the generosity of lead sponsor, Amica Senior Lifestyles. Each event features three parts – a conversation about art, an art instruction tutorial and an artmaking video – inviting seniors to make an artwork inspired by the conversation. Watch all three videos at once, or on their own. New events will debut on the AGO Facebook Friday, Jan. 15, Friday, Feb. 19 and Friday, March 19, 2021. To register for one or all of these, visit https://ago.ca/learn/ago-makes/virtual-seniors-social.
     
  • Tangled Artist Picks is an exciting screening series of new video artworks, created in response to the AGO and its collections, by artists aligned with Tangled Art + Disability, a community organization that fights for disability justice and recognition. Beginning on Friday, Feb. 12 at 11 a.m., the AGO will debut these videos on Facebook. To find out more about the series and the artists involved visit https://ago.ca/events/access-art-tangled-artist-picks.

For more details about these and other accessibility programs, visit the AGO’s Access to Art Resource webpage at https://ago.ca/visit/accessibility-ago/access-to-art.
 
Family Day
The strikingly beautiful and large-scale drawings of Inuk artist Shuvinai Ashoona are the inspiration behind the AGO’s free Family Day all-ages online drawing party, happening Monday, Feb. 15 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Zoom.  Bring your pencil crayons and your imagination, take a picture of your artwork and tag it with #AGOMakes to create the AGO’s first pop-up online exhibition. To register for this event visit https://ago.ca/events/family-day-giant-drawings-party.
 
AGO Makes for Families     
#AGOMakes returns this winter with a new online series of digital artmaking adventures for all ages. Don’t miss the first AGO Makes video of 2021 on Wednesday, Jan. 20  to see a new activity inspired by Haegue Yang’s installation Woven Currents – Confluence of Parallels (2020). 
 
The AGO’s monthly series of downloadable colouring cards, each one a line drawing inspired by an artwork in the AGO Collection, resumes January with a new DIY masterpiece inspired by Haegue Yang’s Woven Currents – Confluence of Parallels (2020). Sponsored by Upper Canada College, to download this and others in the series, visit https://ago.ca/learn/learning-resources/everyone.

Youth Programs
Launched last fall, @AGOYouth’s wildly popular Neighbourhood Walk Instagram series returns this winter with a new line-up of unique journeys, happening Wednesday, Feb. 24, Wednesday, March 3 and Wednesday, March 10 at 3 p.m. What will you see in your neighbourhood this year?  For more details visit https://ago.ca/events/neighbourhood-walks.

Courses
Online studio art courses resume this winter with unique offerings for adults, youth and children. Whether you are a beginner or a savant, these dynamic courses and workshops are on sale now, with classes beginning Thursday, Jan. 7, and Thursday, Feb. 4.  For a full course listing and more information, visit www.ago.ca/Learn.
 
Highlights from the 2021 winter online course schedule include:

  • Beginning Jan. 7, and running for four weeks, Introduction to drawing is an online intensive course geared toward the adult beginner. Working with conte, graphite, and charcoal, this foundation-level course is taught live via Zoom by AGO art educator Carol Matson.
     
  • Introducing children and youth to the fundamental skills and techniques of drawing, AGO art educators present a variety of online Life Drawing classes for ages 8 to 18, beginning Sunday, Jan. 10. 
     
  • Social meets technical on Saturday, Jan. 30, in a half-day Life Drawing Zoom workshop for adults inspired by the upcoming exhibition Studio 54: Night Magic.  An instructor will lead participants through gestural drawing techniques, featuring a live model, to the sounds and styles of disco.  
     
  • For families looking to get creative with their children aged 4 to 6, Side-by-Side is a perfect way to spend time together and explore fun art techniques. Beginning Saturday Feb. 6, this four-week course is intended for one adult and one child to take together.  

The AGO is grateful to the following for annual support of Education & Programming: 

Talks and Performances generously supported by:
Lead Sponsor:  TD Bank Group, through the TD Ready Commitment
Media Partner: blogTO

Virtual School Programs generously supported by:
The Michael Young Family Foundation

Seniors Social generously supported by:
Lead Sponsor: Amica Senior Lifestyles
 
 
Colouring Cards are generously supported by:
Lead Sponsor: Upper Canada College

Youth Programs generously supported by:
The Lloyd Carr-Harris Foundation
Nancy E.A. Main

Accessibility Programs generously supported by:
Greenrock Charitable Trust
Additional assistance from: Matthew Teitelbaum Fund for Community Access Initiatives

Family Programs generously supported by:
Janis Rotman 
  
@AGOToronto

ABOUT THE AGO
Located in Toronto, the Art Gallery of Ontario is one of the largest art museums in North America, attracting approximately one million visitors annually. The AGO Collection of more than 120,000 works of art ranges from cutting-edge contemporary art to significant works by Indigenous and Canadian artists and European masterpieces. The AGO presents wide-ranging exhibitions and programs, including solo exhibitions and acquisitions by diverse and underrepresented artists from around the world. In 2019, the AGO launched a bold new initiative designed to make the museum even more welcoming and accessible with the introduction of free admission for anyone 25 years and under and a $35 annual pass. Visit AGO.ca to learn more.
 
The AGO is funded in part by the Ontario Ministry of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries. 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.
 
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For media inquiries, please contact:
Andrea-Jo Wilson; Manager, Public Relations
Andrea-Jo.Wilson@ago.ca
 
Antoine Tedesco; Director, Communications
Antoine.Tedesco@ago.ca

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