William Hogarth, Portrait of a Boy in a Green Coat, c. 1756. Oil on canvas, 63.5 x 48.3 cm. Art Gallery of Ontario. Gift of Reuben Wells Leonard Estate, 1936.
TORONTO.- For the first time ever, the Art Gallery of Ontario launched a special ongoing exhibition series, The Kids’ Gallery, geared towards children and their families. Just Like Me: Explore, Imagine, Create is the first installation in the series, and opened on Dec. 21, 2013. Sponsored by BMO Financial Group, the exhibition features a selection of 23 paintings, sculptures and photographs from the AGO’s European, Canadian, Inuit and photography collections. The Kids’ Gallery space includes multi-sensory activities and art books to inspire adults and children to meaningfully engage with art.
“The AGO is the perfect place for kids and families! We want to enrich their visitor experience through unforgettable learning experiences and play,” said Lorrie Ann Smith, manager of public programs and audience development. “The Kids’ Gallery will be a welcoming and vibrant space inside the Gallery where children and adults can learn about art together; giving families a better understanding of how art and creativity can play a meaningful part in their lives.”
"BMO Financial Group is proud to support an exhibition that enriches the lives of children and their families,” said Nada Ristich, Director, Corporate Donations. "As Lead Sponsor of family programming at the AGO, BMO has an opportunity to fund activities likes these that educate and engage the communities in which we do business."
Just Like Me: Explore, Imagine, Create makes art easy for young ones to enjoy with kid-friendly text panels and works hung at child height. The exhibition features images and paintings of children from diverse periods and cultures, encouraging young ones to reflect on the similarities and differences between their lives and those of families in other times and places.
The exhibition is curated by Lloyd DeWitt, curator of European art at the AGO. According to DeWitt, “Kids are often fascinated by images of other kids. We’re gathering the greatest works from the AGO collection that feature children as subjects in order to offer our youngest visitors both a mirror to see themselves in the art, and a window to peer into other eras and cultures.”
The AGO invites families to learn, play and rest inside The Kids’ Gallery with books, drawing and dress-up activities. Exhibition-inspired costumes and props are available for visitors to design, dress up and pose for their own portraits. Families are encouraged to post their photographs on Instagram with the #AGOKidsGallery hashtag to see their portrait appear on a screen in the space. The Kids’ Gallery activity centre also includes art books and a drawing station for budding artists inspired by the exhibited works.
Pier Francesco Cittadini, Pietro Bombarda and his Son Antonio, 1600s. Art Gallery of Ontario.
Jan Albertsz. Rotius, Portrait of a Young Girl with Carnations, around 1663. Art Gallery of Ontario.
Godfried Schalcken, Boy Holding a Torch, 1692. Art Gallery of Ontario.