The AGYU is a radically new type of public art gallery where the institution itself is subject to transformation. Not just its traditional products of exhibitions and publications, every function of the institution is treated as an intellectual endeavor and artist project. Fundamentally, this means changing our relations to both artists and the public. Everything we have achieved has been learned from artists by working with them in new ways and through continually extending our out there vision.
Our out there vision means creatively transforming the institution by responding to artistic practices beyond the “routine” of exhibition schedules. It may start with our performance buses or artist residencies, with our commissioned vitrines or web projects, but soon this ethos of collaborating with artists and learning from them infiltrates all institutional activities.
By working collaboratively with artists in an ongoing organic process, the institution becomes increasingly creative and integrative in all its activities. Every institutional function is treated as equally artistic and pedagogic, most of all the functions that we take to be least pedagogic and artistic, such as, for instance, marketing, audience development, or patron cultivation.
Integration of activities means breaking all preconceived, traditional boundaries and social relations, especially those between artists and their audiences in order to bring them more intimately together. Our artist-led education outreach in the Jane and Finch community has made us a leader in the field. Transforming itself, the AGYU teaches as it goes, performing in public, but only on the basis of what it learns from artists and by applying their strategies. Perhaps the AGYU is the first institution to take this transformation on as a constant creative process.
The AGYU is also committed to the development of Canada’s future museum professionals. As a unique teaching laboratory for York students, the AGYU provides professional training through special internships for course credit, graduate assistantships, work/study, volunteer, and docent programs. The Gallery is pleased to have helped launch the careers of a number of individuals currently working in the visual arts.
The AGYU, where out there is the centre.