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Celebrated writers and artists Esi Edugyan, Angie Thomas and Coco Framboise headline exciting AGO winter programs

TORONTO — Inspired by the powerful representations of Black women in the recently opened exhibition Mickalene Thomas: Femme Noires, the AGO today announces an engaging winter season of public programming, including talks, screenings, performances, readings and more.

“The AGO’s public programming is committed to putting local and international artists at the centre of relevant conversations,” said Devyani Saltzman, the AGO’s director of public programming. “This winter we’re thrilled to continue working with an incredible group of artists and programmers to explore Black women’s perspectives on representation and art-making.”

Highlights from the AGO’s winter season of public programming include:


The AGO hosts a series of conversations curated by literary critic Donna Bailey Nurse:

  • On Jan. 23, the AGO welcomes author and two-time Scotiabank Giller Prize Winner Esi Edugyan to discuss her latest book Washington Blackand the writing life. Tickets are on sale now at
  • On Feb. 24, Nurse joins #1 New York Times bestselling author Angie Thomas in conversation. Following the success of her award-winning novel, The Hate U Give, Thomas will launch her newest book, On the Come Up, at the AGO and dive into her role as a leading voice exploring young Black womanhood. Tickets are on sale now at
  • On March 13, M. NourbeSe Philip comes to the AGO to discuss her most recent work, Bl_k: Essays and Interviews. Philip explores questions of race, timeliness, art, and the so-called multicultural nation. Tickets are on sale now at
  • On Jan. 19, Feb. 9 and March 2, the AGO hosts In the Living Room, a series of conversations programmed by artist Ojo AgiFree with admission, these conversations will happen inside the exhibition, Mickalene Thomas: Femmes Noires and will be led by multigenerational artists. Stay tuned for more details.


  • On Jan. 16, the AGO screens Daughters of the Dust at Jackman Hall. Directed by Julie Dash, this seminal 1991 film was the first film by a Black woman filmmaker to be widely screened across the United States. Capturing the Gullah dialect and ways of the African American inhabitants of the Sea Islands off the coast of Georgia, the film follows one family at the turn of century as it prepares to move north. Tickets are on sale now at
  • On Feb. 22, in Jackman Hall, the AGO will host the premiere of award-winning visual artist and filmmaker Shelley Niro’s new work, The Incredible 25th Year of MITZI BEARCLAW. Tickets go on sale Dec. 11 at


  • Vogue pioneer Twysted Miyake-Mugler hosts a workshop series teaching dancers of all abilities, ages and sexual orientations the basics of Vogueing – a dance style popularized by queer communities of colour in the late 1980’s, as part of Free After Three. The workshop culminates on Wed. Feb. 20 with a Vogue Ball hosted by Kiki Ballroom Alliance in Walker Court from 6 – 8 p.m. Admission is free. All Free After Three programs are free for youth ages 14 to 25. For more details visit
  • On Jan. 18, Toronto artist Nikola Steer, known as Coco Framboise, presents Afro-Dite: HairLoom, a performance and meditation on Black beauty. Drawing from her childhood experience of wearing large braids to school, the artist invites her mother and others to re-braid her hair, against a soundtrack of Black storytelling. This event is free. For more details visit
  • On Jan. 25, the Black Wimmin Artist network will host a performative dinner, with 100 Black women artists and arts workers, in Walker Court. This event marks the 30th anniversary of Black Wimmin: When and Where We Enter, the first Canadian exhibition to exclusively feature the work of Black women artists and honours its curators Buseje Bailey and Grace Channer. For more details visit
  • On Feb. 18, Family Day at the AGO will be inspired by the collage art of Mickalene Thomas – featuring a large scale collage party as well as live musical performance and kids karoke bar.

In addition to exhibition-inspired programming, the AGO offers timely public programs celebrating the arts and the season. These include:

  • Michael Snow, one of Canada’s preeminent artists whose Walking Women sculpture greets all AGO visitors, turns 90 this December. On Dec. 12, at 7 p.m. Walker Court will fill with the sounds of CCMC, Snow’s pioneering free-improvisation band, as the AGO celebrates Snow’s prolific career. This free and festive celebration will be a night to remember. Visit for event details.
  • On Dec. 14, 2018, Soulpepper Theatre Company will transport visitors to post-war Paris. Reimaging Walker Court as a cabaret club from the 1920’s, through song, dance and music, this one-hour performance will whisk visitors back in time to the days of Ernest Hemingway, Gertrude Stein, James Joyce, Picasso, and Josephine Baker. This event is free with general admission. For more information visit

See the full line up of Winter public programs and events here.

Located in Toronto, Canada’s largest city of 5.9 million, the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) is one of the largest art museums in North America. The AGO’s collection of close to 95,000 works ranges from cutting-edge contemporary art such as Untilled by Pierre Huyghe to European masterpieces such as Peter Paul Rubens’s The Massacre of The Innocents; from the vast collection by the Group of Seven to works by established and emerging Indigenous Canadian artists; with a photography collection that tracks the impact of the medium with deep holdings of works by artists such as Garry Winogrand and Diane Arbus; and with focused collections in Gothic boxwood miniatures and Western and Central African art. Drawing on this collection—as well as collaborations with museums around the world—the AGO presents wide-ranging exhibitions and programs, taking special care to showcase diverse and underrepresented artists. A major expansion designed by Frank Gehry in 2008 with lead support from the family of Ken Thomson makes the AGO a highly-photographed architectural landmark. Visit and follow @AGOToronto to learn more.

Sept. 25, 2018 – Jan. 5, 2019     Anthropocene

Nov. 29, 2018 – Mar. 24, 2019    Mickalene Thomas: Femmes Noires

Feb. 16, 2019 – May 5, 2019:     Impressionism in the Age of Industry:
 Monet, Pissaro and More

June 20, 2019 – Aug. 25, 2019:  Brian Jungen

Oct. 12, 2019 – Jan. 5, 2020:      Early Rubens

The Art Gallery of Ontario is funded in part by the Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport. 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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