AGOG is a celebration of the visual arts. During this month-long festival the city of Guelph comes alive with exhibitions in galleries, public spaces and alternative venues; educational events for youth and adults; and career development opportunities for artists.

AGOG events promote and facilitate visual arts-related partnerships within the Guelph region and encourage local connections with national and international communities.

The first annual AGOG festival takes place from October 1 to October 31, 2004.

AGOG, an acronym for Art in Guelph and Outside Guelph, means "alive with interest" and "highly excited by curiosity."


AGOGs mandate is to increase awareness and support of the visual arts by developing and implementing a cross-promotional strategy with regional visual arts organizations, artists, and arts educators as well as co-ordinate citywide arts education projects, exhibitions, and events.


To facilitate the development of art education, artistic growth, and community partnerships through the visual arts


AGOGs goals are three-tiered:
1) Cross-promote Existing Visual Arts Events and Organizations

Serving as an umbrella organization, AGOG will help the community develop and promote existing visual arts events taking place in October – such as studio tours, film festival, exhibitions in galleries and commercial spaces, art classes, talks, tours, portfolio reviews, workshops, field trips, book signings, readings, and screenings.

An annual AGOG publication will feature a comprehensive list of events taking place in the Guelph area according to date, venue and artist. Also included will be exhibition reviews, photos, and ads.

The festival website,, is currently under construction and scheduled to be fully operational by January 2004. The publication, festival, and its participants will be actively promoted throughout the region and nationally by a comprehensive communications strategy.

2) Co-ordinate Special AGOG Events on an Annual Basis

AGOG links the community
In the first year of operation AGOG will carry out its mission of encouraging citywide participation in the visual arts by taking an active role in the organization of the following activities:
a) Elementary school photography workshop and exhibition.
b) Secondary school community mural installation.
c) Public talks on Art History
d) Community Art Walk

These events will serve to educate youth and adults, link community groups with practicing visual artists, establish partnerships with business, and promote the visual arts.

AGOG links Guelph to outside communities
The following exhibitions focus the attention of international and national audiences on the visual arts in Guelph; link Guelph artists to external communities; spotlight the talent and successes of regional artists; and increase potential for exhibition opportunities outside the province.

a) National group exhibition – works by renown Canadian artists currently living outside Guelph with links to the
b) International exhibition – web-based group exhibition by international artists

3) Promote and Facilitate Community Involvement in the Visual Arts

Visual arts groups, schools, businesses, institutions, seniors’ facilities, and the general public are encouraged to initiate and co-ordinate self-directed events to run concurrently with the AGOG festival. These events will be included in the AGOG publication and promoted with the festival.

AGOG will appoint six Community Event Co-Ordinators who, in participation with a selected group of visual artist volunteers, will be responsible for soliciting and facilitating the involvement of community groups and individuals. They will arrange AGOG information sessions, provide event development guidelines for the organizations, and assist with community contact information and venue availability.


Current State of the Visual Arts in Guelph
Over 350 full-time visual artists currently work and live in the Guelph area. Hundreds more practice part-time while retaining arts-related careers as teachers, professors, designers, graphic artists and gallery workers.
The University of Guelph’s Fine Art and Art History departments enroll hundreds of full and part-time students each year, with many graduates opting to remain in or return to the region to pursue their careers. Local art instruction facilities including Guelph School of Art, Delhi Recreation Centre, Macdonald Stewart Art Centre, Conestoga College, school boards, and many established private pottery centres, printmaking studios, painting and drawing classes enjoy consistently high enrolment from adults and youth.

AGOG fills the festival gap
Annual art festivals in the Guelph region highlight the following disciplines – music (jazz, folk, baroque), contemporary dance, and writing.

As for visual art, annual events include:
Guelph Studio Tour (mid-October) – exhibition of works for sale by 28 artists in their studios throughout the downtown area.

Guelph Arts Festival (late-September) – this multi-disciplinary festival is primarily a studio exhibition and sale, centred in the downtown area, for some 50 artists over a weekend period.

Art On The Street (July) – at July’s first annual event, fifty artists exhibited and sold their work for one day in the downtown core.

(Contemporary Art Forum (September) – nine-day annual art exhibition in Kitchener.)

Currently, these visual arts events function independently of one another over a four-month period. All are exhibition and sale opportunities for artists, and take place primarily in the downtown area.

AGOG draws artists together
The number of visual arts groups, guilds, and events has grown over the last few years. Acting as an umbrella, AGOG will draw together and stimulate co-operation within the city’s visual arts community.

AGOG increases exhibition opportunities
Nearly 400 visual artists seek extremely restricted exhibition opportunities. In Guelph -- a city of over 100,000 -- exhibition space is limited to;
- one public gallery (books three years in advance with an average of one solo show per year slotted for emerging
...regional artists)
- one commercial gallery (provides approximately eight group exhibition opportunities per year)
- five restaurants (exhibit on a monthly or seasonal basis)
- art supply store.

AGOG will seek out temporary alternative spaces for exhibition opportunities such as cafeterias, grocery stores, community centres, government buildings, buses, taxis, balconies, sidewalks, building walls, parks, rinks, sports fields, pools, public spaces and stores.

Art is taken out of the gallery setting and presented to the public throughout the community: This serves to extend its presence outside traditional arts facilities and the downtown core, serve to stimulate interest in the visual arts, and challenge the public’s perception of arts role in the urban landscape.

Although availability for some spaces may be limited to the month-long festival, some locations may be encouraged to offer exhibitions on an ongoing or extended basis. Concurrent exhibitions will also be held in more traditional spaces such as artists’ studios, galleries, and restaurants.

AGOG promotes partnerships
AGOG will encourage educational institutions and their employees -- who presently organize independent exhibitions, classes and events -- to work in partnership with other community visual arts organizations.
These groups include:
- University of Guelph’s fine art and art history departments, professors, MFA students, and students’ groups
- Elementary and secondary school teachers, students, and arts councils
- School Boards, continuing education instructors, arts consultants
- Public Gallery, art camp organizers, curatorial staff, events co-ordinator
- Conestoga College, part-time instructors
- City of Guelph, recreational classes and studio facilities, promotions and special events co-ordinators, instructors

AGOG is a community-wide visual arts event that connects groups and people. When encouraged, partnerships are created and stimulate effective sharing of speakers, resources, facilities, faculty expertise, instructors, volunteers, and exhibition space. This helps to eliminate wasteful redundancies; decrease costs and fees; and vastly improve academic experience and success of events.

AGOG addresses artists’ issues
Artists need affordable, safe and effective spaces to work. Suitable studios for hundreds of visual artists in Guelph are almost non-existent.

AGOG’s focus on visual artists and their cultural contribution to the city, will increase the community’s awareness of current arts-related issues.

Business people and developers may be motivated to follow the lead of other enlightened urban centres that already recognize that a strong cultural community attracts skilled employees and their families. It’s possible that more buildings will be made available for studio spaces, and initiatives such as the planned Visual Art Centre will be actively supported.


Visual Artists
- Increases exhibition opportunities in the community
- Promotes artist’s work nation-wide through magazine publication
- Increases client list and sales as art-buyers are made aware of visual arts in Guelph and talent of individual artists
- Connects local artists to regional, national and international exhibition opportunities
- Attracts increased media interest in artists, exhibitions and issues
- Expands career development opportunities through workshops, portfolio reviews, and artists talk
- Increases employment and volunteer opportunities through community connections (for example, artist receives offers instruct art classes, lead workshops, participate in artists’ talks)

- Links artists to other artists in the community
- Allows artists to discover new methods of exhibiting and marketing their work
- Artists are viewed as proactive and involved in their community
- Increases the support of businesses and industry for visual artists and their work
- Provides opportunities to discover new methods and directions in visual art

Arts Groups
- The AGOG publication reduces volunteer burn-out by offering an alternative way for groups to promote and advertise
...their event
- Saves money by allowing groups the option to include their event program in the AGOG publication.
- Exposure results in increased group memberships and support within the community.
- Encourages groups to get involved in the community and share the expertise of their members.
- Promotes partnerships and co-operation among the various groups

- Offers accessible and affordable opportunities for visual arts education
- Connects the public to art throughout the community
- Art is demystified and offered in non-threatening environments
- Challenges the public’s traditional views of art and its place in the community
- Encourages individuals to become involved in the visual arts through attendance at exhibitions and events,
...volunteering, and memberships.
- Provides entertainment and pleasure for children and adults.
- Original art is made readily available for purchase
- Links the public to artists

- Offers valuable curatorial and exhibition experience
- Increases awareness of visual arts educational opportunities at university, school, and private classes
- Connects students with mainstream visual art practices
- Provides opportunities for experienced artists to actively share insights and expertise with students
- Links students to the community
- Encourages students to work together and think creatively when developing AGOG events
- Provides a valuable volunteer opportunity
- Offers income possibilities through sales of artwork and employment in the arts
- Volunteer hours for high school curricular requirements

- Provides an optimum promotional opportunity as venues and events are listed in the AGOG magazine and promotional
- Offers unique opportunities for partnering with community organizations.
- Potential employees are attracted to a city that has a strong cultural base.
- Encourages sales of arts-related merchandise

- Guelph is viewed as a cultural city
- Strong media coverage recognizes Guelph as a nationally-renown visual arts destination
- The month-long attractions increase tourism from outlying regions
- Underused buildings are retrofitted by visionary developers for studios and arts facilities


1) AGOG builds on established events
AGOG, in its capacity as an umbrella organization, builds on the work of other arts organizations and individual artists. Many programs, which will be included in the AGOG magazine and schedule, are established annual events that already take place during the month of October. A large-scale promotion of a citywide visual arts festival will save money, volunteer time, and prove to be an effective marketing vehicle for all groups involved:

- Guelph Studio Tour
- Guelph International Film Festival
- Ed Video workshops and events
- Macdonald Stewart Art Centre exhibitions, talks, openings, art camps, bus tours, brown bag lunches
- Guelph Arts Festival
- Barber Gallery talks, exhibitions, openings, events
- Spark of Brilliance exhibition
- The Bookshelf film screenings, book signings, exhibitions, openings
- School of Fine Art and Music artists’ talks
- University visual arts exhibitions and events
- College Heights Junk Art Exhibition
- Guelph Arts Council career development seminars, talks, portfolio reviews, tours
- Guelph Creative Arts Society exhibition
- Restaurant art exhibitions and openings
- Studio exhibitions
- Secondary school exhibitions and events
- Youth Art Project

2) AGOG co-ordinates special annual events
In 2003/2004 a core-group of volunteers will serve as project managers:

International Web-based exhibition
Susan Douglas
Assistant Professor, Art History
University of Guelph

Student community mural installation
Anne Schnurr and Katrina Musselman
Teachers, St. James High School

Research – public and alternative spaces for exhibition venues
Linda O’Neill
Artist, university sessional instructor, M.F.A. graduate University of Guelph

Group exhibition by national artists
Verne Harrison
Gallery Co-Ordinator, Macdonald Stewart Art Centre

Nancy Campbell
Independent Curator, Toronto
Elementary school photography exhibition
Primary Elementary School Teacher

Fundraising and promotions
Deborah Davis
Freelance Corporate Communications

Project managers will set deadlines, select volunteers, identify financial requirements, target venues, and offer strategies for their individual program’s success.

3) Facilitating Community Participation
AGOG will appoint five Community Event Co-Ordinators. Reporting to the festival’s manager, the co-ordinators will meet with schools, university/colleges, businesses, arts groups, and seniors to inform them about AGOG activities, encourage participation, and provide information and direction.


To achieve AGOGs projected goals, it will be necessary to take the following steps within the first two years of operation:

- Hire an experienced a part-time office manager to oversee event operations, budgets and funding, co-ordinate
...volunteers, apply for grants, and carry out office responsibilities.
- Hire an experienced communications/marketing manager, on a contract basis, to fulfill AGOGs promotions mandate.
- Establish a visible and accessible office base in the community.
- Incorporate as a non-profit organization in two years.
- Establish an Advisory Board

AGOG Advisory Board
The volunteer advisory board will offer AGOG organizers professional guidance to AGOG organizers. AGOG is currently establishing an advisory board according to the following areas of expertise: Financial/Legal/Fundraising/Corporate/School/University

a) Grants. AGOG will target The Ontario Trillium Foundation, Ontario Arts Council, and Canadian Heritage.
b) Corporate Donations – Corporate assistance will be sought to match the requirements of educational events.
c) Individual Donations
d) Memberships
e) Fundraising Events

AGOG Contact
Deborah Davis