In an earlier post (here), I talked about the three E's of art: engage, entertain and educate. Below are some 905 ( Toronto Area) municipal art venues - museums and galleries - that do just that.
In case you are unfamiliar with Toronto, (province of Ontario) it is Canada's largest city. Head your car west along the edge of Lake Ontario and seamlessly you pass into 905 country (the area code), and Canada's 6th largest city, Mississauga. Continue on your trek west, and you pass with little notice of division into Oakville, and then Burlington. North of Mississauga is Brampton, Canada 9th largest city, and west of it, is Georgetown (Halton Hills). Milton is sandwiched between Oakville and Halton Hills.
Two of the country's major cultural venues , the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) and the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) are in the Toronto downtown core. One would think this would be an advantage to all these cities joined at the hip to TO. In fact, many of us face the dilemma that these venues are actually "near and yet so far". Yes, Toronto, on the google map is "near". However, inadequate intercity public transportation, traffic gridlock, the high costs of TO parking, venue admission, and time traveled, make these venues "so far". And, lets face it, if you live in a city as large as Mississauga or Brampton, wouldn’t you expect to have exciting & educational cultural venues right in your own hometowns? Places where you could drop by for an impromptu visit with the family without saving for a month, and clearing the calendar?
Well, guess what! 2012 brought forth a whole slew of art venues that are renew in energy or size, or just... new! And, there is much more to just looking at paintings on a wall to these places, not that I don't love doing just that. These are family friendly, inspirational, educational, entertaining, engaging, thought-provoking places with a diverse choice of exhibitions, programming, events, and community collaboration. .
Now remember, in the big scheme of things, all these cities are very, very young, and so grand institutions as one might find in New York, have not had time to evolve. However, there is the new understanding that a cultural city is a healthy city, and that citizens, even if they don't attend cultural venues, like to know they are there, and miss them if they are gone. And, more importantly, each of these cities has their own cultural identities, and affordable accessible art venues are a great place to express, learn, and celebrate this.
Ta da! Here they are -
The Art Gallery of Mississauga (The AGM). www.artgalleryofmississauga.com/
Outgoing AGM Curator Stuart Keeler and his accomplished AGM team have definitely upped the ante of this relatively small (by city size) municipal gallery. They are energetically committed to connect, engage and inspire the region’s citizens, as well as its’ visual artists. Here's why it's well worth your while to check out the AGM -
- Inspiring shows from a diverse choice of artists.
- Show enhancing (dare I say fun?) use of space and wall colour, each new show is room gallery changing.
- A whole new roster of in-house and community outreach programming through exhibition, collaboration and installation. There are too many to list, so click here
- Are you a visual artist?
- Lots of calls for artists. I recommend the Artist Professional Practices workshop in the spring
- New resource room for visual artists to meet and browse resource material
- Curator chats for visual artists
- Connect personally to the gallery through social networking. Facebook, twitter, pinterest, blog. You can have your say, and ask questions, too.
- Twitter chats. One is coming up Feb. 7th on juried art shows
- The recent Lord Report recommends the gallery be a building of its own. (Was there a doubt?) Volunteer, be a docent, etc. Be at the grass-roots of exciting things to come!
- Fee to enter – by donation. But join the gallery to receive a bundle of perks
- Other notes? Just a door away from Celebration Square. Bring your skates.
- Parking: Mississauga, all grown up, charges for parking everywhere (at last check $1/hour). However, there is underground parking at city hall, and metered parking on the street. Note: Unfortunately, you are taking your chances to get a ticket if you park in the neighboring Square One Mall.
PAMA (Peel Heritage Art Gallery, Museum and Archives) www.pama.peelregion.ca
The former Peel Heritage Museum has always been an attractive, inviting venue. My whole family has enjoyed visits to what was formerly Brampton’s city jail. Recently, it reopened after two years of extensive (and stunning!) renovation and expansion. The photos in the link below will give a better idea of this remarkable new arts venue dedicated to art, history and education http://www.pama.peelregion.ca/en/aboutpama/PhotoGallery_BuildingsAndGrounds.asp
Admission: Free for preschoolers, $1 for students. $1.50 for seniors and $2.50 for the rest
PAMA is located on the east side of Main St., ie. Highway 10 (Hurontario in Mississauga) and overlooks beautiful historic Gage Park with its unique skating paths (bring your skates here, too!). Metered street parking or in the Brampton Civic Centre, kitty corner to PAMA. A short walk north of PAMA brings you to the lovely Rose Theatre and Beaux-Arts Brampton Artist Co-operative and Gallery.
“M” TheMuseum www.themuseum.ca
TheMuseum opened to much fanfare in the fall. AVATAR: The Exhibition marked its Canadian première at M and it was the first stop on its North American tour. I haven’t been there yet, but since so many of the western GTA (Greater Toronto Area or 905) students go away universities and colleges in that area, I hope they are checking it out.
Queen Elizabeth Community Centre and Cultural Centre Click Here
Oakville has reinvented this former high school as a community centre as well as a venue for many of Oakville’s not-for-profit arts and culture groups. There are studios, and a gallery and corridor exhibition space. Bring your swim suit as it seems there's a pool, too. The Oakville Arts Council office is also located here. If you are a Halton artist ,you may want to join this supportive group.
The Burlington Arts Centre www.thebac.ca
This dynamic arts centre is home to galleries, an impressive fine arts shop and art rental program, area guilds, mentorship programmes, and studios for working and learning. On Sunday afternoons there are often excellent free workshops and discussions for visual artists. This is a great place to visit, be engaged with, and shop for art.
Georgetown (Halton Hills) Here
Newly reopened after two years of expansion is the Halton Hills Cultural Centre, a theatre, gallery and library rolled into one. The gallery was once a church and the beautiful stained glass windows are still there. Formally, the gallery dedicated itself to supporting shows by local artists, but a large art donation to the centre may have changed its mandate. See here http://www.theifp.ca/news/art-collection-worth-800k-donated-to-town/
Opened in 2011, this state of the art facility is home to gallery and performance space and more. Here is the FAQ sheet for this centre of creativity. http://www.miltoncentreforthearts.ca/en/aboutyourcentre/resources/centre_for_the_arts_faqs_aug-10.pdf