Allegory of the Cave | Mississauga’s art collection

Have you discovered the AGM Permanent Collection yet? In this guest post, AGM Assistant Curator Kendra Ainsworth writes about discovering the collection for the first time and presenting it to the public with an exhibition.

The AGM’s permanent collection was a bit of mystery to me when I came on board with the gallery a few months ago. New to the city, new to the building, I had a lot to learn about art in Mississauga. So this exhibition, Allegory of the Cave,  and the launch of our collections digitization project were a great opportunity for me to learn about the amazing works of art that are just right under our noses, and I wanted to share my enthusiasm with the public so that we can all come to appreciate, learn and share about the collection as a community.

I was thrilled to discover that the AGM’s collection included works by artists like Libby Hague and Kim Adams, who are noted figures in the contemporary Canadian art scene. But I was also pleased to learn that so many of the artists whose work is represented in the collection hail from Mississauga – there is clearly a great well of talent here, and we should all take pride in that.

For me, what I want to come out of this exhibition and digitization project is a sense of community ownership of this art collection; it is held in public trust, it belongs to the community, and in the same way that a library is a hub for research, learning, community building and personal discovery, so too should the AGM be.  As we develop the online interface for our newly digitized collection, we will have this idea of public investment in mind. While having an up-to-date digital record of the collection is of course vital to the internal work of the institution, what good does it do if we keep this information to ourselves? With endeavours like the Google Art Project, which has been all over the media internationally since its inception earlier this year, getting art online and accessible to a broad audience is becoming common practice today and we at the AGM don’t want to be left behind!

So while I want to learn even more about our collection, I also want to learn about the community here in Mississauga, and how we interact with and appreciate art. How do you want to make use of your local art collection? Do you want a great resource to reference for your art history essay? Or share art that you find inspiring with your social media networks? We want to know! Help us bring the AGM into the digital era, and into the public consciousness.

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