A monthly dose of culture: Reviewing the AGO’s First Thursdays

If a regular person ever wanted the chance to feel like a cultural blue blood, the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO)’s First Thursdays are the time to do it. The series, which began in October and will continue the first Thursday of each month, is an after-hours gallery party complete with music, special exhibits, talks with industry professionals and more. October’s installation featured art by Toronto-based artist Evan Penney and a musical performance from Bahamas (aka Afie Jurvanen, formerly Feist’s guitarist).

Your author might not be the best person to give a comprehensive re-telling of the event, as my friend and I arrived late to the gallery, but I must insist that what we did see and experience was thoroughly enjoyed.

We had purchased our tickets beforehand, at the bargain basement price of $10, so we got to bypass a line of hundreds of people eagerly waiting and hoping that there was still space inside.

Upon entry, as we found that we were between events, we proceeded directly to one of many cash bars set up around the AGO’s main floor. The wine wasn’t top shelf, and the prices were almost as expensive as the admission, but having wine in hand was an excellent addition as we walked around galleries to see some of the AGO’s permanent exhibits, and it gave the night a perfect glow.

When Bahamas’s long-anticipated performance was about to begin, the atrium flooded with people packed ear to ear to listen to his heart-melting melodies. He looked like a modern incarnation of Elvis, wearing a classic suit jacket and enchanting his audience through a retro microphone. His expertly written lyrics filled every corner of the atrium, bouncing off the high ceilings and echoing through every stairway, hugging and kissing the ears of every person in attendance.

If this very first Thursday was any indication of what the rest of the AGO’s series will be like, I’ve decided that it is something I want to be a part of.

Art and music aficionados alike will feel right at home at these events. Next month’s First Thursday promises to be just as memorable as the last, with photo installations peppering the gallery and musical guest DIANA collaborating with local artist Laurie Kang for her performance.

For more information on the event series visit the AGO’s website,  http://www.ago.net/1stThursdays.

Roxanne Hathway-Baxter is a Toronto-based writer and communications professional whose work has appeared in Broken Pencil, BlogTO and the McMaster Silhouette. She likes champagne and corn dogs, but only when served together.

About the author

Roxanne Hathway-Baxter

1 comment

  • Nov. 1, 2012, is the second in the 1st Thursdays series. In honour of The Grange Prize 2012, the evening will be dedicated to photography. Visitors on Nov.1 are invited to witness the announcement of The Grange Prize 2012 winner, enjoy live musical guests, experience the flash of the paparazzi as they walk a red carpet and attend the opening of U.K. artist Mark Titchner’s new installation in the Young Gallery. As part of the DesignTALKS series, shopAGO presents Tania Bortolotto.