Ten years ago, the Art Gallery of Ontario
launched its groundbreaking TEENS BEHIND THE SCENES Program as a welcoming home for young artists and young imaginations in the city of Toronto. With the help of committed artists, community partners and youth participants, TBTS has played a significant role in shaping the youth art scene in Toronto over the past decade, and has involved more than 1500 local young people in its programs. To mark this important milestone, the AGO presents a number of commemorative events and exhibitions that celebrate the first decade of this award-winning program as well as the talented teens who brought it to life.
The festivities begin on August 12, 2009, the day after UN World Youth Day, with a party in Walker Court from 6 to 8:30 pm featuring dance artists, a DJ battle, past members of the program talking about their experiences, and remarks from AGO Director and CEO Matthew Teitelbaum. August 12 is also Opening Day for two commemorative exhibitions, with tours provided by past and present members of the Youth Council:
InTENse: Ten years of Teens Behind the Scenes at the AGO is a retrospective exhibition featuring some of the great projects created by the AGO Youth Council and their partners over the past ten years. The show will also feature the latest work by AGO Youth Council 2009: Underground Sasquatch Protection Network, a new project created in collaboration with the One Nation in Unity program at the Native Canadian Centre of Toronto and guest artists Rebeka Tabobondung and John Hupfield.
InTENtion: Responding to ten years of youth programming at the AGO is a residency for ten past participants of the AGO youth programs who have returned to create ten new video projects reflecting on specific works in the AGOs permanent collection and the memories they have of them. The works have been created in partnership with Charles Street Video and guest artist Sarah Sharkey Pearce.
Initiatives like TEENS BEHIND THE SCENES and the FREE AFTER 3 high school access program make the AGO a destination for youth and inspire future generations of artists and members, says Teitelbaum. These outreach efforts have transformed the AGO into a community hub for people young and old alike. Were thrilled about it.
The anniversary festivities will continue throughout the fall with a number of special events and workshops including an inventive art-music combo in the Anne Tanenbaum Gallery School on August 21 that invites participants to learn silk-screening while taking in a performance by LAL (a Toronto-based collective of musicians with cultural ties to Uganda, Bangladesh, Barbados and India). All AGO Youth Council special events are free and open to the public, including the launch party on August 12.