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AGO community now includes a record high number of visitors 25 years and under
TORONTO – When the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) announced a bold revamp of its pricing model last spring, the public response was immediate. In the six months since launching the $35 AGO Annual Pass on May 25, which is free for visitors 25 and under, more than 100,000 people have signed up1, marking a new era of greater access to art for everyone. Passholders have doubled the AGO community that already includes approximately 100,000 AGO Members – a number that has been maintained over the past five fiscal years.
Visitors between the ages of 14 and 25 account for roughly 70 per cent of Annual Passholders. “There is a new energy and vibrancy you can sense in the galleries,” says Stephan Jost, the AGO’s Michael and Sonja Koerner Director, and CEO. “With one in ten of Toronto’s young people2 now belonging to our Annual Pass program, the next generation of art lovers is here! The AGO now has more combined Members and Passholders in its community than members of the Metropolitan Museum in New York.”
@mademoiselleruta writes on Instagram, “Life is so expensive in Toronto, and before the Annual Pass I had to really think about the exhibits that I wanted to see. Now if I want to go in and look at only a couple of my favourite paintings, I can. If I want to visit multiple times per month, I can. I’m really proud that the AGO has made art accessible to everyone.”
Launched as a one-year pilot project, the AGO Annual Pass is here to stay as the AGO’s admission model moving forward. The Pass offers a full year of unlimited access to the AGO Collection and all special exhibitions for only $35, and is free for visitors 25 and under.
An ambitious line-up of exhibitions and programs continues to be offered in order to attract new and existing audiences. Visitor interest in the crowd-funded Infinity Mirrored Room by Yayoi Kusama has been high, a major upcoming exhibition of works by Pablo Picasso was recently announced, and the Gallery has seen success with its new all-ages program AGO All Hours.
The AGO is grateful to the donors, sponsors and Members who made the pilot project possible. Their ongoing support enables the Gallery to open its doors wide, making great art experiences available to everyone.
- 1At time of publication, the AGO held 103,955 Annual Passholders (six months after launching the program). This number is growing by the day.
- 2At time of publication, visitors between the ages of 14 and 25 accounted for 72,940 of AGO Annual Passholders. The most recent Statistics Canada Census Profile of Toronto indicates that there are approximately 778,470 people between the ages of 15 and 24 living in the city.
- The AGO has close to 100,000 Members; a number that has held steady over the last five fiscal years.
- The AGO has more Annual Passholders than the close to 95,000 works of art in the AGO Collection.
- The AGO has more Annual Passholders than the total population of Waterloo, Ontario.
- 100 years ago when the Art Museum of Toronto was incorporated as the Art Gallery of Toronto, 100,000 would have represented 1/5 the entire population of Toronto.
The AGO thanks the visionary donors who made the Access Pilot possible:
Lead Support: BMO Financial Group
The Lindy Green Family Charitable Foundation
Robert Harding & Angel Yang
Richard Rooney & Laura Dinner
The Schulich Foundation
Generous Support: The Bennett Family Foundation
Hal Jackman Foundation
Robin & David Young
ABOUT THE AGO ANNUAL PASS
AGO Annual Passes are available at ago.ca, in person at the AGO, and by phone at (416) 979-6648. Annual Pass holders receive a digital card for smartphones so that they don’t have to wait in line for tickets; they simply present their digital pass to be scanned upon arrival. Passes are valid for one year from date of sign-up. Passes are optional for visitors 14-17, but are required (for free admission) for those who are 18-25. Passes are not available for those under 14, but admission is free. Single-visit tickets without a Pass or Membership are $25.
ABOUT AGO MEMBERSHIP
The AGO’s Membership program continues to be strong since the implementation of the Annual Pass program, with members taking pride that their support is an anchor of this important accessibility initiative. In contrast with the Annual Pass, Membership offers special benefits, including exclusive previews of special exhibitions, discounts, access to the Norma Ridley Members’ Lounge, and more. Although they belong to separate programs, together Passholders and Members make up the AGO community.
ABOUT THE AGO
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 Collection of close to 95,000 works ranges from cutting-edge contemporary art to significant works by Indigenous and Canadian artists and European masterpieces. The AGO presents wide-ranging exhibitions and programs, taking special care to showcase diverse and underrepresented artists. Its 585,000 square foot building was most recently expanded in 2008 by Frank Gehry, and attracts approximately one million visits per year. Visit AGO.ca to learn more.
The AGO 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.