DSC_1748.JPGSo, you have a night out and want to catch up with friends, date night, or just want time alone. Or maybe you want to woop, woop it up at a bar or “go dancing” as some of my friends say. What do you look to do? There’s no shortage of things to do in a big city, that’s for sure! 

This past Thursday I was invited to the kick-off party at the ART GALLERY OF ONTARIO. The event is dubbed AGO 1st Thursdays and it’s a new way to experience the art gallery and enjoy a night out! 

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Every FIRST THURSDAY of each month the AGO will bring together an impressive roster of artists, live music and interactive projects for the 19+ crowd. This is NOT a family event but an evening to enjoy as adults. You can wander through the AGO galleries and even try your hand at art – on this particular evening was live nude drawing! Yes…fully nude.
On the 4th floor, artist Evan Penny, spoke to a large crowd about his inspiration and process for the current solo exhibition of larger than life sculptures. While on the main floor, Juno and Polaris Prize nominee singer Bahamas (aka Afie Jurvanen) played an intimate solo set in the Walker Court area. He promised to “rock the crowd…gently.” ….and he did!

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“Our aim is to be more than just a social destination,” said Kelly McKinley, the AGO’s executive director of education and public programming. “We want to give people the opportunity to see and make and do and hear as much art as they can every month.”
This opening night witnessed a sold out crowd. I went on my own and felt completely comfortable roaming around the massive AGO at night. There were couples, groups of friends, hipsters, older art lovers, and other individuals – everyone was chill grooving to the music while admiring the art and listening to guest speakers. I enjoyed roaming aimlessly as I ventured into the crevice of the drawing room to “The Vault” that contains over 70,000 pieces that are in safe storage.
In addition to the galleries being open, shopAGO hosted DesignTALKS, a series of lectures by leading local designers. This night featured Trevor Kruse, an award- winning designer and principal of Hudson Kruse Design. FRANK restaurant offered a wine and champagne bar in shopAGO so visitors could enjoy while they browse. 

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The AGO1st Thursdays events will continue throughout the year with each night offering something different! Tickets are very well priced at $10 in advance and $12 at the door. Admission for AGO Members is $8 in advance and $10 at the door.  Judging by this night’s crowd, this will be a very popular event! Tickets can be booked online at www.ago.net/1stThursdays. Cash Bar and snacks are available. The event runs from 6:30 pm to 11:00 pm. AGO is located at 317 Dundas St. West, Toronto.
The next AGO 1st Thursday night event will be on November 1st with the evening dedicated to photography. Visitors are invited to witness the announcement of the coveted Grange Prize 2012, make tin type portraits, enjoy live musical guests, experience the flash of the paparazzi as they walk the red carpet and attend the opening of U.K. artist Mark Titchner’s new installation. Tania Bortolotto will be the guest speaker at DesignTALKS
I enjoy the AGO during the day but at night, the gallery takes on a different vibe with this event. A super night out! 
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Here’s Walker Court as the crowd was getting ready for the music set by Bahamas. The great thing about this event is you can roam around at your leisure or be in with the crowds. At one point as I walked through the Italian Gallery people were dancing while the DJs played great tunes! 
 

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