AGO expands online outreach with new art projects and discussions

The gallery is launching a video series for arts-minded students stuck at home and live-streamed talks

If you’re missing art galleries or art classes, head on over to AGO at Home. The Art Gallery of Ontario’s expanded series of online offerings now includes lots of DIY activities to keep kids and adults busy – and learning – during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The latest feature, just launched last week, is a video series called AGO Makes, and it’s perfect for arts-minded students stuck at home.

The first project is about monochromatic art, and is inspired by Louise Nevelson’s Night Zag IV, a 1965 sculpture in the AGO’s collection made from painted wood, mirrored glass, Plexiglas and arborite. 

In an accompanying three-minute video, Tiana Roebuck, AGO associate curator, Learning & Studio Programs, introduces the concept of monochromatic – or single colour – compositions. For the project, she asks you to think about your favourite colour and collect objects in that colour from your home to form an arrangement.

“It’s a combination of I Spy, scavenger hunt and something called monochromatic art,” says Roebuck in the video. Once you’ve arranged the objects – sorted by size, texture, shininess or any other method that pleases you – she encourages you to take a picture of your composition and share it on social media with the hashtags #AGOMakes and #AGOfromHome.

“Artmaking is an exciting moment for creativity, play and exploration,” says Roebuck in a Q&A on the site about what kinds of projects are to come in the AGO Makes series.  

“We’re interested in delving into new skills and also exploring fresh ways of looking at something you’ve seen or tried a million times. Think of the infinite ways artists combine and explore mediums like drawing, painting, sculpture, printmaking and mixed media – it’s endless. Our projects will cover a wide range of ideas and come from various sources of inspiration, but they will all have that ‘spark’ of creating something new and exciting from your imagination and the world around us.”

The fact that most of us don’t have access to expensive art supplies doesn’t matter.

Most of our projects use typical materials you’d find around your home – paper, pencils, scissors, tape, etc,” says Roebuck. “Some will use basic artmaking supplies like markers and paint. The goal is for artmaking to be accessible for everyone who wants to participate.”

AGO At Home also provides access to archived interviews, like Donna Bailey Nurse’s sold-out talk with two-time Giller Prize-winning novelist Esi Edugyan. 

And during the pandemic they’re providing a regular series of live-streamed talks.

This Thursday’s (May 7) webinar about the role of museums at this moment is between the AGO’s director and CEO Stephen Jost and Glenn D. Lowry, from the Museum of Modern Art and a former director of the AGO himself.


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