AGO Offers Alternative to the Thursday Night Bar Scene

The summer is officially over and things have gotten hectic again, meaning our social calendars are quickly starting to fill up. Thursday evening happy hour(s) is back as we catch up with friends and colleagues over post-summer cocktails after work. Why not venture away from the usual Thursday night suspects and take in live music and art in the process? Beginning October 4 and taking place on the first Thursday of each month, the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) will open its doors from 6:30 to 11pm as the space transforms into a vibrant après work scene filled with artists, live music and interactive art projects with 1st Thursdays

The interactive evenings will feature a mixed bag of performances, pop-up bars, art-making activities, artist and curator tours, talks and live events, with no two 1st Thursdays the same. AGO’s young professional-targeted Massive Party is one of our favourite social outings of the year and 1st Thursdays marks another initiative of the gallery to fuse art with networking and socializing. 

“Our aim is to be more than just a social destination,” said Kelly McKinley, the AGO’s Executive Director of Education and Public Programming. “We want to give people the opportunity to see and make and do and hear as much art as they can every month.” 

Music will be a cornerstone of every 1st Thursdays program and the party continues until late in the evening with DJs spinning and free nude life drawing classes offered throughout the gallery. The galleries will remain open and guests can browse and explore while they enjoy a beverage, with cash bars set up in Walker Court and the AGO’s FRANK restaurant offering a wine and champagne bar in shopAGO.  Additionally, the AGO will present the new DesignTALKS series of lectures by leading local designers, focused on small space design – perfect for young professionals and our often smaller-than-desired homes. 

1st Thursdays kicks off  its first event with a celebration of the exhibition Evan Penny: Re Figured, where Evan Penny, an internationally renowned, Toronto-based artist will speak about his unique, larger-than-life sculptures, each meticulously crafted from layers of pigmented silicone, human hair, fabric and resin. Juno and Polaris Prize Nominee Bahamas (Afie Jurvanen) will play an intimate solo set in Walker Court as part of the inaugural 1st Thursday. The first DesignTALKS series will be held on October 4 from 6:30 to 7:30pm and features Trevor Kruse, an award-winning designer and principal of Hudson Kruse Design. 

The second in the 1st Thursdays series is on November 1 and will be dedicated to photography in honour of The Grange Prize 2012. Guests get to witness the announcement of The Grange Prize 2012 winner, make tin type portraits, pose for the paparazzi as they walk a red carpet and attend the opening of U.K. artist Mark Titchner’s new installation in the Young Gallery. Tania Bortolotto will lead the DesignTALKS series. 

Regular-priced tickets for the inaugural 1st Thursday are $10 in advance and $12 at the door. Admission for AGO Members is $8 in advance and $10 at the door. Tickets can be booked online here.