The future is now

13 November 2023

We couldn’t have agreed more with local artist Francisco Corbett when he proclaimed last year that “Kingston isn’t boring anymore!” We like to think Agnes has played a tiny part in this powerful utterance, which is gaining (at)traction through artist-designed t-shirts, bags and other swag proudly worn in the city streets by a diverse demographic of change-seeking Kingstonians.

This season is Agnes’s love letter to Kingston. It is written as a constellation of solo exhibitions, commissions and interventions that rightfully celebrate and elevate the culture and artists of our hometown. From a tattoo parlour to a mobile printing press; from retrospective to first-ever gallery exhibitions; from re-patterning Agnes’s historic dress collection in collaboration with members of the local drag community to tracing “hidden” histories alongside Black protagonists of Kingston’s past and present, these hyper-local projects participate in the range of cultural production that enlivens this place. Kingston just isn’t “not boring.” It’s rad!

Kingston artists are creatives and entrepreneurs, astute aestheticians and community activists alike. Not all are formally trained. Some arrive as artists through sheer tenacity, building on their family’s working-class ethos. Others transform practices here by adapting artistic traditions brought from homelands elsewhere. All Agnes staff collaborated to choreograph this final season in our current facility, which has made its planning process particularly special: as an end and a new beginning. We are proud to share these artists’ sensibilities and their slow and steady commitment to transforming the culture of this city. We are thankful to CIBC Wood Gundy, The Johnson, Johnston and Macrae Investment Group and CIBC Asset Management for their combined support of these exhibitions and, through this, their commitment to Kingston’s vibrant art scene.

As a public art gallery embedded in Kingston but operating at a national and international scale, Agnes is poised to provide unprecedented access to local cultural as-it-is-happening as well as to the art world at large. This winter we introduce our new membership program, which provides an array of opportunities in which to participate, not only what we do but how we do it. As we prepare to open the largest university museum in the country, your Agnes membership ensures a seat at the table, helping to shape the ongoing transformation of Agnes by getting closer to our curatorial work, our new facility architectures, our reopening plans, and our changing institutional priorities. Join Agnes today and enjoy the benefits of being at the forefront of culture in your community, reimagining Agnes’s role in its exciting future.

xo Emelie, Agnes.

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