AGO Virtual School Programs spring into classrooms with live dance, architecture, music and art from around the world

Spring programs offer something for art-lovers of all ages. Calls for submissions now open for Portraits of Resilience and the AGO X RBC Emerging Artists Exchange! Don’t miss Ragnar Kjartansson, Jennifer Rose Sciarrino and Ross King, all at ago.ca

TORONTO — This spring, the AGO is partnering with major artists and cultural organizations from around the world. The season’s line-up of programs for all ages offers talks, virtual events and courses, in addition to the Gallery’s successful Virtual School Programs. Having delivered art education to more than 400,000 students, parents, caregivers and teachers across Canada since last October, this innovative program is now going global and partnering with educators from five international cultural institutions: The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), the Toronto Symphony Orchestra (TSO)The National Ballet of Canada, the Hong Kong University Museum and Art Gallery and the Canadian Centre for Architecture. These inspiring collaborations, all offered free of charge, will explore the many intersections between visual art, wellness, dance, architecture and music.

Highlights from the AGO’s spring programs are listed below and at ago.ca/events. Registration is now open, including for the next three weeks of Virtual School Programs. The next session of adult, youth and children’s courses begin Thursday, May 6 and are on sale now.

“Nearly a year after we made the decision to engage with our audiences online, the response from artists, teachers, members, funding partners, and our diverse publics, remains incredibly enthusiastic, and we are very excited to be collaborating with so many partners. This shift to online programming has been transformative in terms of our ability to bring art education and programming to broader audiences,” said Audrey Hudson, the AGO’s Richard & Elizabeth Currie Chief, Education & Programming. “This spring we continue to explore the role art plays in fostering wellness and a sense of connection, with an exciting focus on early career artists, thanks to the RBC X AGO Emerging Artists Program.”

AGO Members receive a discount on courses. For more information on how to become a Member, visit ago.ca/membership today. The AGO Annual Pass, which provides unlimited entry for an entire year, includes access to any programs that are free with admission. Annual Passes are $35 and free for visitors 25 and under.

AGO SPRING PROGRAM HIGHLIGHTS

AGO Virtual School Programs
Designed to complement the Ontario curriculum, the AGO’s Virtual School Programs continue every Monday to Friday through June 18 with the exception of April Break. Open to parents, teachers and caregivers everywhere, AGO Virtual School Programs is excited to partner with the following cultural institutions to explore intersections in visual arts, music, architecture and dance:

  • On April 26 and April 28, educators from The Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) in New York City highlight artworks from the museum’s esteemed collection.
     
  • On April 30 and May 17, educators from the Hong Kong University Museum and Art Gallery will showcase artworks from recent exhibitions.
     
  • On May 3, 4 and 5, musicians from the Toronto Symphony Orchestra (TSO) will lead students in musical explorations, returning again on May 10, 11 and 12.
     
  • On May 19 and 26, educators from The National Ballet of Canada will explore movement and performance.
     
  • On June 1 and 7, guests from the Canadian Centre for Architecture will explore alternative architecture practices.

Sessions are offered three times a day, tailored to students in JK to Grade 3, Grades 4 to 8 and Grades 9 to 12, with uniquely age appropriate discussions. Sessions are organized thematically and draw on artworks and objects from the AGO Collection, from partners, and feature discussion and mini activities. 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.

Portraits of Resilience
An open call for artists of all ages to participate in an online exhibition of artworks showcasing moments of emotion and resilience in everyday life, Portraits of Resilience launched on March 15, and has already received more than 650 submissions from the community. Free to enter, the deadline for artworks is Monday, May 10. Select works will be presented in the Gallery later this summer. For more information and to see the online exhibition, visit ago.ca/portraits-resilience and follow #PortraitsAGO.

April Break
Families are invited to spend the April Break enjoying five days of free, online programming courtesy of the AGO, the Canadian Opera Company and the Vancouver Art Gallery. Mixing artmaking with performance and behind-the-scenes highlights, kids of all ages can log on daily from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. EST, Monday, April 12 to Friday, April 16, for a cross-country arts break. Led by art educators and specialists, each day’s programming offers themed artmaking activities and moderated discussion. No registration is needed and sessions will be live streamed on ago.ca. For more details about each day's program and the participating artists, visit ago.ca/april-break and follow #SpringIntoArt.

AGO X RBC Emerging Artists Program
In 2021, thanks to the generous support of RBC, the AGO presents a trio of exciting digital programs designed to celebrate and support early career artists. Programmed and presented online, they include three paid artist residencies, three paid research residencies and a series of free mentorship workshops.

  • Currently in its tenth year, the AGO x RBC Artist-in-Residence program hosted an open call for submissions in the winter of 2021. After receiving more than 200 submissions, the jury has selected Alvin Luong, Nada El-Omari & Sonya Mwambu, and Timothy Yanick Hunter. As part of these paid digital residencies, each artist or duo will have the opportunity to showcase their work publicly. Stay tuned for details.
     
  • Launching April 7, the AGO X RBC Emerging Artists Exchange welcomes applications for three paid digital research residencies. Open to artists in the early stages of their careers, details about the program and how to apply are available at https://ago.ca/emerging-artists-program.
     
  • Recognizing that mentorship is an integral part of artistic success, the AGO X RBC Emerging Artists Workshop presents a series of free online mentorship sessions this spring, offering practical advice and tips from professional artists. Open to artists of all ages, the series launches on May 27 at 4 p.m. with a Zoom talk by Toronto artist Esmaa Mohamoud on how to maintain a practice. To register and for information about upcoming sessions, visit https://ago.ca/emerging-artists-program.

Slow Art Day
A global event best savoured slowly, Slow Art Day returns on April 10. Join the AGO at 11 a.m. on Facebook as we start the day with a selection of five works from the AGO Collection and challenge visitors to spend ten minutes with each of them. Why so slow? When people spend time at a piece of art, they make discoveries and personal connections. For more information visit, ago.ca/events/slow-art-day-0, and be sure to share your experience on social media: #SlowArtDay2021 @agotoronto @SlowArtDay

Talks
Committed to leading global conversations from Toronto, the AGO spring season includes talks by emerging and established artists, students and authors.

  • On April 7 at 4 p.m., students from OCAD University’s Criticism and Curatorial Practice MFA program present Movement/NatureGuided Exercises by Artists, a live Zoom discussion with artists Alexis Bulman, Enna Kim and Alex Gregory. Exploring the ways these artists use movement and nature to stay grounded, the discussion will serve as an introduction to videos created by the artists. For more details and to register for this free talk, visit: ago.ca/events/movement/nature-guided-exercises-artists.
     
  • On April 15 at 4 p.m., join renowned Icelandic artist Ragnar Kjartansson for a conversation with the AGO’s Associate Curator, Contemporary Art Adelina Vlas, about his performance-based works, including the immersive seven-channel video installation Death Is Elsewhere (2019) recently installed at the AGO. This free event is presented on Zoom. To register visit: ago.ca/events/artists-talk-ragnar-kjartansson.
     
  • On April 19, the Close Looking series of online art talks returns with a discussion about Arthur Shilling’s Self Portrait (c. 1972-1977) by Assistant Curator of Canadian Art Renée van der Avoird. On May 17, she will focus on Hey Hey Paula (1998), an installation by artist Sarindar Dhaliwal. These talks air on the AGO’s Facebook page.
     
  • As part of the Art in the Spotlight series, acclaimed Canadian writer and art historian Ross King will discuss his new book The Bookseller of Florence on April 20 at 7 p.m. with the AGO’s Alexa Griest, associate curator and R. Fraser Elliott Chair, Prints & Drawings. To register for this free Zoom talk, visit ago.ca/events/art-spotlight-ross-king.
     
  • Canadian-Dutch painter Dana Slijboom joins Renée van der Avoird, Assistant Curator of Canadian Art for another Art in Spotlight conversation on Tuesday, April 27, at 4 p.m. To register for this free Zoom talk, visit ago.ca/events/art-spotlight-dana-slijboom.
     
  • Toronto-based artist Jennifer Rose Sciarrino joins the AGO’s Associate Curator of Contemporary Art Adelina Vlas on May 4 for an Art in the Spotlight conversation. To register for this free Zoom talk visit ago.ca/events/art-spotlight-jennifer-rose-sciarrino.

Accessibility
The accessibility of the museum and its collection is a priority at the AGO, and it continues to offer a variety of programs and services to accommodate visitors with diverse abilities and needs.

  • Following the online debut of the AGO’s very popular Seniors Social program last winter, the program is expanding to offer bi-weekly live conversation and artmaking sessions for adults across Ontario. The new series begins May 5 at 2 p.m. and will continue bi-weekly through June 29. To register for any of these free Zoom sessions, visit ago.ca/learn/ago-makes/virtual-seniors-social.
     
  • On June 11, the AGO presents the world premiere of It Can Be Anything, an animated short film created by Marsha Doucette and Ryan Bergmann, highlighting the talent and artistic vision of Doucette’s sister Rachel, a neurodiverse Toronto illustrator. The screening will be accompanied by a panel conversation featuring Rachel, Marsha and Ryan. A frank discussion of creativity and diversity, to register for this free Zoom screening and discussion visit https://ago.ca/events/it-can-be-anything.
     
  • It Can Be Anything, an animated short film created by Marsha Doucette and Ryan Bergmann, is the inspiration for a trio of free interactive art-making workshops happening June 9, 16, and 19. Led by AGO art-educators trained by Special Olympics Ontario, each of these two hour sessions will explore art and art making from the vantage point of a particular neurodiverse age group - namely children, youth and adults. Presented in collaboration with Immediate Group and Special Olympics Ontario and supported by The Harry E. Foster Charitable Foundation, for more information and to register, visit ago.ca/visit/accessibility-ago/access-to-art.

For more details about these and other accessibility programs, visit the AGO’s Access to Art Resource webpage: ago.ca/visit/accessibility-ago/access-to-art.

Families
The AGO’s monthly series of downloadable colouring cards, each one a line drawing inspired by an artwork in the AGO Collection, resumes this April with a new DIY masterpiece inspired by Anishinaabe artist Arthur Shilling’s Self Portrait (c.1972-1977). To download this and other colouring cards in the series, visit ago.ca/learn/learning-resources/everyone.

Youth
AGO Youth returns with original programming this spring. Be sure to follow @AGOYouth on Instagram to catch three new artworks by early career artists as part of Movement/Nature: Guided Exercises by Artists, an online project curated by OCAD U’s Criticism and Curatorial Practice MFA program students.

  • Inspired by the forward bend test, a physical examination that assesses for scoliosis by running a finger down a person’s spine, don’t miss the debut of Alexis Bulman’s A Traced Feeling on April 7 at 3 p.m. on @AGOYouth Instagram.
     
  • Inspired by Korean folk paintings, 두루미/Red Crowned by Ennis Kim debuts on April 14 at 3 p.m. on @AGOYouth Instagram. In this reflective exercise, Kim guides the viewer through her drawing process and thoughts as she creates various Korean characters.
     
  • Planting dahlia bulbs, for many a sign of spring, takes centre stage in Alex Gregory’s new artwork Emotional Garden, debuting April 21 at 3 p.m. on @AGOYouth Instagram. Emphasizing the performative aspects of planting, Gregory reflects on gardening as self care.

For more information about youth programs at the AGO, visit ago.ca/learn/youth-programs.

Courses
Online studio art courses resume this spring with unique paid and free offerings for adults, youth and children. Whether you’re a beginner or a returning student, courses and workshops are on sale now with select classes beginning May 6. For a full course listing and more information, visit ago.ca/Learn

  • New this season is the Wednesday night Pop-Up Studio. This free, drop-in, 30-minute virtual studio class begins April 7 at 6 p.m. and runs weekly through May 5. Over Zoom, AGO art educators will consider a new work from the AGO Collection and lead participants though a series of inspired exercises. The perfect after-work activity, for more details about each session, recommended materials and to register, visit ago.ca/events/pop-studio.
     
  • Beginning May 6 and continuing all month long, make time to explore Painting Explorations: Portraits, an adult intro portraiture class taught by Kelly Aitken. Inspired by works in the AGO Collection, this online course is the perfect refresher for anyone seeking inspiration for Portraits of Resilience, the AGO’s online community exhibition. To register, visit ago.ca/learn/courses/painting-explorations-portraits-online-1.
     
  • For families looking to get creative with their children aged 6 to 10, Painting Together: Exploring Pop Art is a perfect way to spend time together and explore the playfulness and ideas of Pop Art. Beginning May 8, 2021, this five-week online course is intended for one adult and one child to take together. To register, visit https://ago.ca/node/41423.
     

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

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

Portraits of Resilience is generously supported by:
The Schulich Foundation

Youth Programs generously supported by:
The Lloyd Carr-Harris Foundation

AGO x RBC Emerging Artists Programs generously supported by:
RBC

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 

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

Cailtin Coull; Director, Communications
Caitlin.Coull@ago.ca

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