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.
• At time of publication, the AGO held 103,955 Annual Passholders (six months after launching the program). This number is growing by the day.
• At 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.