Art Gallery of Ontario

June 07, 2005 12:45 ET

Transformation AGO Campaign: $180 Million and Counting

Attention: Arts/Entertainment Editor, Business/Financial Editor, City Editor, News Editor, Photo Editor (TORONTO: JUNE 7, 2005) --(CCNMatthews - June 7, 2005) - The transformation of the Art Gallery of Ontario reached a major milestone today with the announcement that $180 million has been raised thus far from the public and private sectors.
Building on the historic gift of 2,000 works from Kenneth Thomson's private art collection, and an innovative design by internationally celebrated architect Frank Gehry, Transformation AGO will enlarge the Gallery by 97,000 square feet and increase viewing space for art by 47 per cent. As an international cultural destination, the transformed AGO will forge a new model for art museums through expanded collections, interactive display and dynamic behind-the-scenes access to education, conservation and research.

The Campaign's unprecedented success thus far reflects 25 gifts to the project of one million dollars or more, many coming from past and present volunteer leaders of the AGO. The governments of Canada and Ontario, through the Canada-Ontario Infrastructure Program, have contributed $24 million each to the project. The Transformation AGO Campaign has now achieved 70 per cent of its $254 million goal - a higher percentage at public launch than any other cultural expansion project in Toronto.

"We have reached an extraordinary turning point in the 105-year history of the AGO," says Director and CEO Matthew Teitelbaum. "Today's announcement demonstrates unequivocally that art matters to the people of this city, this province and this country.  As we prepare to begin construction, it is deeply gratifying that our transformation is so clearly a shared vision."

"These leadership gifts provide the critical momentum that will inspire others to support Transformation AGO," says Campaign Chairman Michael Koerner. "Through the support of Transformation AGO, the Art Gallery of Ontario will become the epicentre for experiencing the visual arts in Canada.  It is enormously exciting to help make that happen."

Mr. Koerner and his wife Sonja committed $7.5 million, the largest private gift to the project to date after Kenneth Thomson's. A portion of their gift will endow the director's position at the AGO, creating the Michael and Sonja Koerner Director of the Art Gallery of Ontario. Another portion will be directed to the building fund.

"The federal government, through the Canada-Ontario Infrastructure Program, is pleased to be a partner in this remarkable project," said The Honourable Tony Ianno, Minister of State (Family and Caregivers). "This transformation exemplifies the program's goal of working with partners to build vibrant and creative cities that will contribute to the overall quality of life of residents."

"Transformation AGO will establish the gallery as a pre-eminent cultural institution with an international reach," said The Honourable Madeleine Meilleur, Minister of Culture for the Province of Ontario. "Our government is delighted to be able to support the AGO during this critical juncture in its development, and strengthen the arts community in our province."

Campaign priorities include $207 million for building construction and $47 million to support building operations, programming and contemporary art acquisition endowments. The Campaign will continue through to the spring of 2008, when the transformation is complete. Over the next two years, the campaign will extend to the over 66,000 valued members, AGO staff and volunteers and the general public.

The leadership donors to the Transformation AGO Campaign are Charles & Marilyn Baillie, BMO Financial Group, Vivian & David Campbell, CIBC, Fredrik S. & Catherine Eaton, R. Fraser Elliott, Sandra Faire & Ivan Fecan, Margaret & Jim Fleck, Murray Frum & Nancy Lockhart, Mira Godard, Maxine Granovsky Gluskin & Ira Gluskin, Al & Malka Green, Rosamond Ivey, Michael & Sonja Koerner, RBC Foundation, The Rotman Family Foundation, Scotiabank Group, Joey & Toby Tanenbaum, TD Bank Financial Group, Kenneth Thomson, Elizabeth & John Tory, Estate of Paul Weingarden, Robin & David Young and two anonymous donors.

The Transformation AGO project is further supported by the generous commitments of 110 other donors, building on Kenneth Thomson's unprecedented gift of art and funding, the vital support of the provincial and federal governments, and an innovative architectural expansion by world-renowned architect Frank Gehry. As one of the most distinguished art museums in North America, the transformed AGO will set the highest standards for accessibility to all facets of the artistic experience by providing unparalleled access to art display, programming, conservation, storage, creation and research. Visible walkways, extensive use of glass, and views of the city and Grange Park will connect the city to the activity of the gallery.
Transformation AGO is generously supported by the Government of Canada and the Province of Ontario through the Canada-Ontario Infrastructure Program.

Editors Note: A photo for this release will be available on the CP picture wire via PR Direct.

/For further information: Andrew Riley, Publicist
416-979-6660, ext. 403 IN: ENTERTAINMENT

Contact Information

  • Antonietta Mirabelli, Manager, Communications, Art Gallery of Ontario
    Primary Phone: 416-979-6660 ext. 454