first thursdays ago

First Thursdays make it a party at the AGO

I was told the formula for First Thursdays at the Art Gallery of Ontario was observing art + making art + hearing art. It was that and more. The gallery came to life with everything from karaoke stations to colouring tables.

On the first Thursday of every month, the AGO stays open late and hosts a 19+party. Tickets are $12 each with cash bars and food stands dispersed throughout. At last Thursday's event, the gallery hosted over 2,000 people.

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"It gives the gallery a social dimension," said Kelly Mckinley, executive director of education and public programming at the AGO. "We want to allow the space to go from a formal feel during the day to a more informal environment at night," she said.

Yesterday, the featured musical performance was by Vag Halen, a lesbian cover band whose performance included Van Halen music and a topless lead singer. Needless to say, the informal atmosphere was definitely attained.

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The crowd also swarmed the nail art station where artists from the Magic Pony were providing free manicures with detailed designs.

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Unlike the Friday Night Live events at the Royal Ontario Museum, First Thursdays run year-round and don't have specific themes. Instead, they loosely base events on major city happenings or the gallery's exhibits.

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Although the ROM has a larger space used as a dance floor, the AGO incorporates live art performance throughout the gallery. Last week featured Bridget Moser who did a four-hour show inspired by the Group of Seven's Lawren Harris. Her piece incorporated spoken word with dance and inanimate objects. Every time I walked by her performance, a new crowd was engulfed in her story.

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For details about their July event, check out their Facebook page.

Photos from the AGO


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