AGO is keeping free entry for 25 and under, $35 annual pass

Six months after introducing a free admission for visitors ages 25 and under and a $35 annual pass, the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) has announced the new pricing model is here to stay.

More than 100,000 people have signed up for the AGO Annual Pass with visitors between the ages of 14 and 25 accounting for around 70 per cent of the pass holders, according to the gallery. The pass originally launched as a one-year pilot project on May 25.

As part of the pilot, single-ticket prices were reduced to $25 for special exhibitions.

“With one in ten of Toronto’s young people now belonging to our Annual Pass program… the AGO now has more combined members and pass holders in its community than members of the Metropolitan Museum in New York,” the AGO’s director and CEO Stephan Jost said in a press release.

As we reported in the spring, AGO launched the new pricing model to encourage visitors to make attending the gallery a habit rather than a special outing, as well as attracting new visitors.

“They have to be new people. [Otherwise] it’s probably not going to work,” Jost told NOW. “Can we be affordable to somebody who is changing sheets at the Hilton, is making $18 an hour and has two kids? I think $35 a year is starting to be that.”

The AGO underwent another major shift this year. The gallery retired it’s monthly First Thursdays party and launched the new all-ages, day-long event AGO All Hours. The next one takes place on January 25.

Next year, the AGO will mount a solo show for late American photographer Diane Arbus and an exhibition devoted to Pablo Picasso’s “blue period” that will feature approximately 70 Picasso art works.


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