AGM Reception Area (Genius Loci, 2012). Photo by Janick Laurent.
As the AGM prepares for the first exhibition of 2013 (VAM 35, opening this Thursday evening), AGM Curator & Director of Programmes Stuart Keeler reflects on the year ahead for the gallery.
Galleries and Museums are about people, ideas, and experiences—and the amazing transformations in thinking that can occur when we allow ourselves the time to experience them. The AGM is the cultural hub of Mississauga with new projects moving forward citywide in 2013. I am always reminded that viewers are the people that give life to the galleries at the AGM; artists create the experiences within; and in this way art and the variety of cultural production inside also offers a tremendous plethora of ideas and experiences back to us in return. At this point, the recent loss of Robert Freeman will impact the daily experience of the AGM for sometime, however his quiet, subtle leadership style will continue to inform, guide the staff and Board on many levels. It is important to note that Robert and his vision, voice will always be present in some form at the AGM.
The growth and evolution of the AGM is still as vital and important as when Robert took the brave steps to initiate the concept of a gallery expansion and the potential new building process with the Board. Every time I walk by the reception area, I am reminded of the AGM’s founding supporters engraved on the plaque from 1987, here a mental note of thanks to each of them. These people are the barn-raisers who came together 25 years ago to turn a vision of arts and culture in the then farmland and soon to city of Missisauga dream into the growing vibrant hub for art, innovation, and community engagement that the AGM is becoming today. At this point in time, I will continue to stand on their shoulders as we look to the future, as well as will be always guided the kind, paitent and guiding voice of Robert Freeman. The AGM will continue to undergo a reanimation into 2013 and beyond guided by many voices and leadership.
As I write this, it is the New Year season and the time for thinking, thankfulness and gratitude. In the final weeks of 2012, we received extraordinary, unexpected kindness and good thoughts from many expressing the loss of Robert and his involvement in the Arts and Culture of the city . Not only are many of these voices advocates for the Gallery and the arts in the city at a pivotal time, it is important to remember that collaboration is what moves an art community forward, not independent voices. In this spirit, Robert and the AGM will always continue to be a uniting space for dialogue and inspiration and one that animates and connects to the citizens of Mississauga and beyond.