AGO, Massey Hall, CBC and The Banff Centre join forces to launch provocative live event series

Creative Minds to debut this September with artists André Alexis, Rebecca Belmore, Deepa Mehta and Buffy Sainte-Marie

TORONTO—We look to artists to reflect our lives, but how often do we look to them to shape our future? This fall, the Art Gallery of Ontario and Massey Hall partner with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and The Banff Centre to create a new public platform for artists with the launch of AGO Creative Minds at Massey Hall. This exciting series of artist-driven dialogues, supported by Series Presenters Jonas and Lynda Prince—whose leadership contribution inspired the development of the project—will invite Canadians to consider urgent contemporary issues through the eyes of some of the world’s most innovative and unconventional thinkers.

Hosted at Toronto’s iconic Massey Hall, the semi-annual series brings together leading artists, musicians, authors and filmmakers for an evening of energetic conversation about the most pressing social concerns of our time. 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 at and broadcasted nationally on CBC Radio One.

Creative Minds kicks off on Sept. 20, 2016 at 8 p.m. with an evening of unscripted dialogue on the topic of Art and Social Justice, featuring André AlexisRebecca BelmoreDeepa Mehta and Buffy Sainte-Marie. Moderated by CBC Metro Morning host Matt Galloway, 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.

 “With Creative Minds, we are putting artists at the centre of vital conversations that tackle important issues,” said Stephan Jost, Michael and Sonja Koerner Director, and CEO. “All of our partners are committed to fostering discussion and debate.”

Commenting on their support of Creative MindsJonas and Lynda Prince said, “For several years, we’ve been invested in a vision of the AGO that positions the gallery—and Toronto—at the centre of an international dialogue around art and ideas. It’s exciting to see several of Canada’s leading cultural institutions coming together to create something new that can have global impact.”

“This series is a great example of our new mandate to host meaningful events that reflect Hart Massey’s original vision for the Hall,” said Deane Cameron, President & CEO, The Corporation of Massey Hall & Roy Thomson Hall. “Massey Hall was built as a gift to Torontonians to be not only a place to celebrate and experience live music, but where important conversations can happen.”

“The Creative Minds series is in sync with our mandate to inspire Canadians to engage and connect with the arts,” said Jennifer Dettman, Executive Director, Unscripted Content, CBC. “We are keen to collaborate on a series that fosters energetic conversation and debate on all of our platforms.” 

“We are proud to be part of a project that champions the conversations that inform the creative process, ” said Janice Price, President and CEO of The Banff Centre. “This creative process is something we are committed to nurturing on our campus daily in Banff, and we look forward to the insights into the creation journey that will be spotlighted through this new series.”

Tickets for the launch of AGO Creative Minds at Massey Hall will be available through the Roy Thomson Hall box office, and range from $19.50 to $79.50. Tickets go on sale to members of AGO Curators’ Circle and Massey Hall & Roy Thomson Hall FriendsFirst on June 6, 2016 at 10 a.m., to AGO Members on June 7, 2016 at 10 a.m., and to the public on June 102016 at 10 a.m. For more information, including future programming, visit

Series Presenters: Jonas and Lynda Prince 


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 LambtonKent 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 FireEarth, and Water, which was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. Her other directing credits include Bollywood/HollywoodHeaven on EarthMidnight’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 AGO
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 The Banff Centre
The Banff Centre’s mission is inspiring creativity. Thousands of artists, leaders and researchers from across Canada and around the world participate in programs there every year. Through its multi-disciplinary programming, The Banff Centre provides them with the support they need to create, to develop solutions, and to make the impossible possible.

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.



For press inquiries, please contact: 

Samantha Chater
Communications Officer

416-979-6660, ext. 504
[email protected]

Andrea-Jo Wilson
Senior Communications Officer

416-979-6660, ext. 403
[email protected]

Caitlin Coull
Manager, Communications

416-979-6660, ext. 364
[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.