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What’s New at the Agnes

08 December 2019

Nicolaes Maes, The Sacrifice of Isaac, around 1653, oil on canvas, Purchase, Bader Acquisition Fund, 2014 (57-002)

Nicolaes Maes’s work The Sacrifice of Isaac travelled to The Hague to appear in The Mauritshuis’s exhibition Nicolaes Maes – Rembrandt’s Versatile Pupil.

The Mauritshuis writes, “Maes began his career by painting Biblical stories, in which the influence of his teacher is clearly visible. Rembrandt was a dedicated teacher who challenged his pupils to be inventive and come up with new things. Maes was inspired by his teacher, but at the same time always looked for his own, new solutions. This can be clearly seen in The Sacrifice of Isaac . Maes gave this Biblical theme an explosive charge.”

The Mauritshuis displays a collection of world-famous paintings by Dutch and Flemish masters from the Golden Age, in a majestic seventeenth-century house. The classical historic rooms of the museum are filled with iconic artworks by Vermeer, Rembrandt, Steen and Rubens.

26 November 2019

Visitors enjoy The hold: movements in the contemporary collection. Photo: Tim Forbes

Photo: Tim Forbes

The Ontario Association of Art Galleries (OAAG) has honoured the Agnes Etherington Art Centre at Queen’s University with two major awards. The hold: movements in the contemporary collection received the award for Innovation in a Collections-Based Exhibition. The Lifetime Achievement Award went to Jan Allen, Director of Agnes Etherington Art Centre.

The 42nd annual OAAG Awards were announced on Monday 25 November 2019 at the Harbourfront Theatre in Toronto. As the only annual juried awards of its kind, the iconic OAAG Awards celebrate the excellence and outstanding achievements of Ontario’s public art galleries from the previous year. The awards are peer-reviewed, selected from over 250 nominations from 36 member galleries.

Fresh from the awards ceremony, Agnes Director Jan Allen reflected on the Awards, “I’m tremendously honoured and grateful to receive the OAAG Lifetime Achievement Award. I’ve enjoyed a fascinating career in this dynamic sector: the support and encouragement of colleagues has been crucial at every step. I congratulate Sunny Kerr for the well-deserved award he has received for his inventive work in The hold: movements in the contemporary collection. This project broke new ground in our approach to and conception of movement and access in the gallery, while staging artworks with Sunny’s signature sensitivity and altogether brilliant visual poetics.”


The hold: movements in the contemporary collection, curated by Sunny Kerr, was presented 25 August–2 December 2018. Guided by the gestures and imaginaries of works from the collection—such as amassing and splitting figures or tracing paths across grounds­­—this exhibition addressed hindrance and movement, from the global to the intimate. Kingston artist and disability activist, Dr Lisa Figge was consultant on the formation of the exhibition, using her paths in a mobility scooter to form the organizing principles of the exhibition’s layout. The exhibition included works by John Abrams, Stephen Andrews, Shuvinai Ashoona, Carole Condé and Karl Beveridge, Shary Boyle, Napoleon Brousseau, Luc Courchesne, John Dickson, Will Gorlitz, Freda Guttman, Geoffrey James, Kingston Residents of the Prison for Women, Jeneen Frei Njootli, William Strang, Jinny Yu and Natalie Majaba Waldburger.


For nearly three decades, Jan Allen served the Agnes Etherington Art Centre and broader artistic community, first as curator and then gallery director, with acuity and resolve. Spurred by her impending retirement 1 January 2020, her staff and colleagues sought recognition for her achievements.

As the gallery’s first dedicated contemporary art curator, she wholly defined a core curatorial area while also cultivating her own focus in electronic and new media art and politically and socially engaged practice, for which she has gained wide recognition. Allen’s curatorial output has been prodigious, but without compromise. Deeply invested in the transformative potential of visual culture, Allen organized over 160 exhibitions of contemporary art, and she has produced and written for almost 50 exhibition catalogues, and contributed to contemporary arts journals such as Prefix Photo and C Magazine.

Her breakthrough exhibition publications have become definitive resources in the contemporary art field, including Carole Condé and Karl Beveridge: Working Culture (2008), for which she received an OAAG curatorial writing award and Annie Pootoogook: Kinngait Compositions (2011), the first exhibition publication devoted to the artist. Joyce Wieland: Twilit Record of Romantic Love (1995) continues to be a vital reference in feminist art history.

While Director of the Agnes (since 2014), Allen renewed artistic programs and built sustaining endowments, dramatically increasing participation. “Jan Allen has the rare skills of a great leader,” says Agnes Advisory Board Chair, Glen Bloom. “She has led by example and created an environment where her staff could flourish. And they have. Jan has a legacy at the Agnes that will endure.”

18 November 2019

Publication cover for Leiden circa 1630: Rembrandt Emerges

Agnes has added all of its publications related to The Bader Collection, in digital form, to its website and the Internet Archive. By partnering with the Internet Archive, a global digital library initiative, Agnes has increased access to critical scholarship on The Bader Collection. This partnership was facilitated by Queen’s University Library.

“Eleven publications related to The Bader Collection from 1988 to 2019, including the two major collection catalogues, have been digitized,” says Danuta Sierhuis, Digital Development Coordinator. “They are now available online and in multiple formats on the Internet Archive’s platform, including searchable PDFs and audio formats for print-disabled users.”

This project is part of a larger, ongoing initiative that aims to expand the online presence of The Bader Collection and to augment access to critical scholarly research on the collection for students at Queen’s and audiences around the world.

15 November 2019

Photo: Tim Forbes

Agnes welcomes Leah Cox as our new Exhibition Coordinator. She brings a wealth of experience in shipping coordination, scheduling, rights and reproductions and art handling.

After graduating from Ryerson with a BAH in Arts and Contemporary Studies (History) and completing the Museum Management Program at Fleming College, she worked for CBC Toronto’s Library and Archives, caring for their historic still photographic collection. Last year, she joined the Agnes team as Collections Assistant.

28 October 2019

Photo: Tim Forbes

On Saturday 26 October, the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts (RCA) awarded Agnes Director Jan Allen the RCA Medal. Each year, the RCA acknowledges an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to the social, financial or professional status of visual artists and designers, as a recipient of the RCA Medal.

Deeply invested in the transformative potential of visual culture, since 1992 Jan Allen has organized over 150 exhibitions of contemporary art, garnering awards, publishing widely, building collections, and introducing new forms of artistic and experiential-learning programs. While Director of the Agnes (since 2014), Allen has renewed artistic programs and built sustaining endowments, dramatically increasing participation.

The Royal Canadian Academy of Arts is an honourary organization of over 700 established professional artists and designers from all regions of Canada.

21 October 2019

Ogimaa Mikana, Never Stuck, 2018, vinyl transfer on Mackintosh-Corry Hall. Photo: Tim Forbes

Raven Chacon, American Ledger (No.1), 2018, vinyl transfer. Photo: Tim Forbes

Camille Georgeson-Usher, through, in between oceans, 2018, vinyl transfer on Mackintosh-Corry Hall. Photo: Tim Forbes

Agnes Etherington Art Centre at Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario has acquired, through the Chancellor Richardson Memorial Fund, three striking outdoor installations by leading Indigenous artists Raven Chacon, Camille Georgeson-Usher and Ogimaa Mikana (Susan Blight and Hayden King). These mural-size works were created for the exhibition Soundings: An Exhibition in Five Parts, curated by Candice Hopkins (Tlingit) and Dylan Robinson (Stó:lō).

“When I arrived here five years ago, other than Four Directions Aboriginal Students’ Centre there was very little sense of Indigenous presence within the built environment of the campus” says Dylan Robinson, Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Arts at Queen’s University. “Not only do these works at Queen’s demonstrate the vibrancy of Indigenous contemporary art today; each work also calls for further action: to read/learn Indigenous language, to reconnect with kin, and to resound across the Anishinaabe and Haudenosaunee lands Queen’s is situated upon.”

The outdoor installations transform high-traffic public spaces on Queen’s University campus and brutalist 1970s architecture with bold Indigenous visual presence. “Soundings has been the most radical and ambitious artistic program I have witnessed in Kingston in the three years I have been here,” says Sydney Hart, media artist, cultural critic and PhD student in the Cultural Studies program at Queen’s University. “I feel fortunate to have attended so many of its events, and witnessed the new life that projects like these—thinking critically about Indigeneity and aesthetics—can breathe into Kingston.” The outdoor works have invited, provoked and supported discussion, performance and contemplation, often stopping pedestrians in their tracks.

About the outdoor art installations and artists:

Ogimaa Mikana (Susan Blight [Anishinaabe, Couchiching] and Hayden King [Anishinaabe, Gchi’mnissing]), Never Stuck, 2018, vinyl transfer.
Located on the south side of MacKintosh-Corry Hall

Never Stuck is a direct response to a Facebook post by Niizhoosake Sherry Copenace: “As Anishinaabe we have been given our way of life to solve and get thru any situation. Anishinaabe is not ever stuck.” This profound articulation of Anishinaabeg resistance and adaptation is reflected in the repeated sturgeon imagery. Respected by Anishinaabe, the fish have suffered under colonial overfishing and damming, but are now returning to ancestral waters in greater numbers. Just as sturgeon persevere, the Anishinaabeg are never stuck.

Ogimaa Mikana is an artist collective founded by Anishinaabeg artists Susan Blight and Hayden King in January 2013. Through public art, site-specific intervention and social practice, they assert Anishinaabe self-determination on the land and in the public sphere.

Raven Chacon (Navajo Nation), American Ledger (No. 1), 2018, vinyl banner
Located on the north side of Harrison-LeCaine Hall

Raven Chacon’s score, American Ledger (No.1), on Queen’s music building Harrison-LeCaine Hall incorporates a traditional musical score with Navajo iconography. It is intended to be performed by many players—musicians and non-musicians alike—with sustaining and percussive instruments, voices, coins, axe and wood, police whistles and a match. Raven Chacon’s audio-based works can be described as a combination of chamber music and experimental noise music, composed to resound and pulsate through your body.

Raven Chacon is a composer, performer and installation artist from Fort Defiance, Navajo Nation. As a solo artist, collaborator, or with Postcommodity, Chacon has exhibited or performed at Whitney Biennial, documenta 14, REDCAT, Musée d’art Contemporain de Montréal, San Francisco Electronic Music Festival, 18th Biennale of Sydney, and The Kennedy Center. He lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and Toronto, ON.

Camille Georgeson-Usher (Skwxwú7mesh-Hul’q’umi’num-Sahtu Dene-Scottish),
in between oceans, 2018, vinyl transfer
Located on the east side of MacKintosh-Corry Hall

through, in between oceans disrupts concrete walls with colourful, abstracted representations of beadwork, land and water, which enfold and fill the spaces in between portraits of the artist and her paternal grandmother. This site-specific intervention asks how Indigenous peoples can make subtle gestures to recognize each other’s bodies, while navigating through often unsafe urban territories. These gestures aren’t always bold; they can be the everyday gestures of people looking for a part of themselves in what the artist calls the “spaces in between.”

Camille Georgeson-Usher is a Coast Salish/Sahtu Dene/Scottish scholar, artist and writer from Galiano Island, British Columbia, which is of the Pune’laxutth’ (Penelakut) Nation. She is currently a PhD student in Cultural Studies at Queen’s University.

09 October 2019

Visitors enjoy Tania Willard’s Surrounded/ Surrounding, 2018, wood burning fire ring, laser etched cedar wood logs from Secwépemc Territory from Soundings: An Exhibition in Five Parts.

AGNES has made it on the Ontario Association of Art Galleries (OAAG) Awards shortlist, among so many other terrific Ontario art gallery projects of the past year. The exhibitions Tau Lewis: when last you found me here and Soundings: An Exhibition in Five Parts have been highlighted for this honour. In addition, Agnes’s nomination of Dylan Robinson as the inaugural BIPOC Changemaker received shortlist affirmation. The Awards event is on Monday 25 November at the Harbourfront Theatre in Toronto.

The OAAG Awards celebrate the excellence and proud professional accomplishments of Ontario’s public art galleries. The shortlist was peer-reviewed by jurors and selected from over 250 nominations from 36 member galleries.

See the full listing.

04 October 2019

Photo: Tim Forbes

An Announcement from the Office of the Provost
Download letter

Jan Allen, Director of Queen’s Agnes Etherington Art Centre (Agnes) will retire from her position as of 1 January 2020. The Deputy Provost (Academic Operations and Inclusion) will co-chair an advisory committee that has been established to advise the Provost on the future direction of the Agnes, and on the selection of the next Director.

Future Prospects of the Agnes and Advisory Committee Membership
Members of the University community are invited to submit letters with commentary on the present state and future prospects of the Agnes. Respondents are asked to indicate whether they wish to have their letters shown, in confidence, to the members of the advisory committee:

Teri Shearer (Co-Chair), Deputy Provost (Academic Operations and Inclusion)
Glen Bloom (Co-Chair), Chair, Agnes Etherington Art Centre Advisory Board
Nadia Jagar (Secretary), Manager, Special Projects and Business Officer, Office of the Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic)
Rebecca Luce-Kapler, Dean, Faculty of Education
Dylan Robinson, Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Arts
Kristin Moriah, Assistant Professor, Department of English, Language and Literature
Alicia Boutilier, Chief Curator and Curator of Canadian Historical Art
Norman Vorano, Art History and Art Conservation Department Head
Leigh Kalin, Interim Associate Vice-Principal, Alumni Relations and Annual Giving
Jean Pfleiderer, Associate Director, Human Rights Advisory Services
Jennifer Nicoll, Collections Manager and Exhibition Coordinator
Susan Lord, Professor, Department of Film and Media

Interim Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic) Tom Harris  would like to extend his thanks to the members of this Committee for their willingness to serve. Please send all submission to the Office of the Provost, via e-mail, to, by Friday, 18 October 2019. (The due date has been extended from October 11, 2019.)


30 September 2019

Photo: Tim Forbes

Sebastian De Line joined the Agnes team as Research Associate, Indigenous Art in early August. For the next year, they will be working part-time with the contemporary and historical Indigenous art collection at the Agnes, and researching current art museum practice, in part to provide recommendations for the collection’s care, documentation and use, as well as for future collecting strategies and policies. De Line is a doctoral candidate in Cultural Studies at Queen’s, with an MA in Art Praxis from the Dutch Art Institute in Arnhem, The Netherlands. Their work, Walking Ohénton Karihwatéhkwen (walking + words before all else) was featured in last season’s Soundings: An Exhibition in Five Parts.

30 August 2019

SwAGNES stickers, fall 2019

Marian Dale Scott, Tulip, around 1939, oil on linen. Purchase, Chancellor Richardson Memorial Fund and Donald Murray Shepherd Bequest Fund, 2012 (55-016)

Juanisialu Irqumia, Fox and Seagulls Eating a White Whale/Beached White Whale is Rotted and the Foxes and Crows are Eating It, 1965, stonecut on paper, 29/30. Gift of Margaret McGowan, Arts ’78, 2017 (60-003.13)

Rembrandt van Rijn, Head of an Old Man in a Cap, around 1630, oil on panel. Gift of Alfred and Isabel Bader, 2003 (46-031)

Stephen Andrews, Quick, 1992, encaustic, pigment and ink on canvas. Gift of Herbert O. Bunt, 1996 (39-052)

Agnes Etherington Art Centre developed four vinyl stickers for fall 2019. The artworks were selected from the Agnes collection. Pick out your very own, in gallery, while supplies last.  Learn more about each below.

Marian Dale Scott, Tulip, around 1939, oil on linen. Purchase, Chancellor Richardson Memorial Fund and Donald Murray Shepherd Bequest Fund, 2012 (55-016)

Full-faced, up against the picture frame, Tulip pulsates with unfolding energy. In the 1930s, Montreal artist Marian Dale Scott turned to flowers and plants for subject matter, which launched, as her biographer Esther Trépanier points out, “a major phase of formal exploration.” This series was inspired by Georgia O’Keeffe, whom Scott called her artistic godmother. In these floral close-ups, Scott was fascinated by universal order in microcosm. She also believed that her “growing pictures” were fundamentally feminine. As she later described, “These are maternal pictures, pictures trying to express the wonder of growth.” Tulip contrasts with the urban images that the artist was painting in the same period. It has a life force that could split the concrete of her industrial scenes and cityscapes. In its structure, Tulip anticipates Scott’s 1940s paintings of embryos and atoms, delving deeper into the cellular world.

Marian Dale Scott studied at the Art Association of Montreal school, the Monument national and the École des Beaux-Arts before continuing abroad at the Slade School of Art, London. She was active in various Canadian artist societies newly established in the 1930s and 1940s: the Contemporary Arts Society, the Canadian Group of Painters, and the Federation of Canadian Artists. She also assisted Fritz Brandtner in running the Children’s Creative Art Centre, established by Norman Bethune. Socially engaged and successful in her thematic and formal explorations, Scott was one of the most daring modern Canadian artists of her day.

Juanisialu Irqumia, Fox and Seagulls Eating a White Whale/Beached White Whale is Rotted and the Foxes and Crows are Eating It, 1965, stonecut on paper, 29/30. Gift of Margaret McGowan, Arts ’78, 2017 (60-003.13)

Printmaking flourished in many Inuit communities in the early 1960s, buoyed by a changing art world, Canadian nationalism, and reshaped attitudes towards Indigenous culture. Puvirnituq [Povungnetuk], in Nunavik [Arctic Quebec], was among the first communities to develop a print studio, when the artist Gordon Yearsley was hired by the co-operative to administer a print program. Yearsley focused upon the stone-cut relief and stencil technique. Artists such as Noah Quinuayark, Thomassiapik Sivuarapik, Leah Qumaluk, and others, created their first experimental prints in 1961. That same year, printmakers from Cape Dorset, which was the first Inuit community to begin printmaking, traveled to Puvirnituq to share their knowledge. Yearsley left due to differences with Father Andre Steinmann, the influential Catholic missionary. Vctor Tinkl was hired in 1962 to continue the print program. The Puvirnituq studio adopted the modern sosaku-hanga “self-printing” method, whereby the graphic artist cut his/her own block and printed the images, in contrast to the division of print labour that had emerged in Cape Dorset.

The Puvirnituq studio submitted its first prints to the Canadian Eskimo Arts Council advisory board in 1962. The community released its first annual collection in that year as a co-release with Cape Dorset (subsequent releases would be independent). The Puvirnituq co-operative built a studio facility in the community, and printmaking expanded, with exhibitions across Canada, the US and internationally. Puvirnituq prints are known for their direct, “unpolished” look, the frequent inclusion of text, and hunting, myth, and historical scenes.

Printmaking began to decline in Puvirnituq in the 1980s. A fire gutted the studio, which effectively ended printmaking in Puvirnituq in 1989.

Rembrandt van Rijn, Head of an Old Man in a Cap, around 1630, oil on panel. Gift of Alfred and Isabel Bader, 2003 (46-031)

Illuminated directly from above, an elderly man with a furrowed brow and downy beard inclines his head thoughtfully. His dark eyes are open, suggesting an active inner life. This tronie exemplifies the distinctive character studies that Rembrandt and Jan Lievensz. pioneered together in Leiden in the late 1620s. Divested of narrative attributes that would link them to specific tales from mythology or the Bible, such tronies became important vehicles for the exploration of light, emotion, costume, and the particularities of the human face in the early 17th century. Here, Rembrandt’s soberly clad, aged figure is bathed in a spiritual light, personifying the piety and sagacity accumulated over the course of a lifetime. The manner in which the artist applied paint to the panel characterizes his early style: thick, unblended strokes articulate the wrinkles of the forehead and the folds of the nose, while scratches made into the paint with the butt-end of the paintbrush convey the individual hairs that make up the eyebrows. The monogram at the upper right “RHL” for “Rembrandt Harmenszoon Leidensis” signals the artist’s assessment of the painting as a completed work of art.

Stephen Andrews, Quick, 1992, encaustic, pigment and ink on canvas. Gift of Herbert O. Bunt, 1996 (39-052)

In the early 1990s, Stephen Andrews was working with re-reproduced and faxed images, a strategy of technical degradation he used to evoke forgetting, loss of resolve, the tenuous character of relation-ships and even, at a time when so many gay men were lost to AIDS, of life itself.

Quick is part of a series of images of kisses gleaned from porn magazines, life-affirming assertions of gay sensuality. The use of pigment and beeswax deepens the organic physicality of the painting. Andrews described his intentions in hand-copying digital images thus: “Previously I had worked figuratively, using line and shadow to evoke the emotional content of the image… What I’m trying to do now is effect the same emotional impact but with an even more pared-down line… hardly even a line, a pixel mark. With the pixel-mark the emotional content remains unadorned, and as such does not manipulate the viewer’s response.”

27 August 2019
Portrait of Max Valsamas in The Bader Gallery

This past month, Max Valsamas joined the Agnes team as Curatorial Assistant, European Art, a two-year position. He is supporting the European art program, with particular focus on the exhibition Leiden circa 1630: Rembrandt Emerges and The Bader Collection digital development project.

Valsamas has held curatorial internships at the Art Gallery of Ontario (as the Marvin Gelber Prints and Drawings Intern) and at the Saint Louis Art Museum, and has co-curated exhibitions at the AGO and the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, St Louis. He brings in-depth knowledge, writing and research experience in European art to his role atAgnes. Maxime is a PhD candidate in Art History atWashington University in St Louis and holds an MA in Art History from Queen’s.

26 August 2019

William Hale, Portrait of John Smith, around 1842, oil on canvas. Gift of Grace Thon and Family, 2008 (51-008), conservation treatment completed in 2009 by Amanda Gray for Agnes Etherington Art Centre

Recognizing and honouring John L. Russell and Gerald Brenner’s sustained and substantial contributions to Canadian art collections and histories, the John L. Russell and Gerald Brenner Fund supports conservation treatment of Canadian works of art in the collection at the Agnes. Your gift will support repairing, stabilizing and cleaning works of art in preparation for exhibition. The fund helps to ensure the beauty and longevity of the Canadian art collection at the Agnes.

We are having a drive to grow this Fund to allow us to prepare more works of art for exhibition and to preserve more works of art for the benefit of present and future generations. Please consider supporting the John L. Russell and Gerald Brenner Fund this year. Donate now.

19 August 2019

Visitors enjoy touring Let’s Talk About Sex, bb. Photo: Tim Forbes

Do you want to win pizza for you and your friends? Visit Agnes 1–8 September, snap a photo of yourself and post it to Instagram. Follow us @aeartcentre, tag us and use the hashtag  #ImAtAGNES to win. The winner will receive a $200 pizza gift card!

The winner will be announced and notified on 10 September 2019.

Rules: Contest will run 1–8 September 2019. Anyone is eligible to submit and multiple different entries are allowed. To be eligible, the winner must follow us on Instagram, tag @aeartcentre in their post, and use the hashtag #ImAtAGNES. Selfies must be taken 1–8 September 2019 at the Agnes Etherington Art Centre. Submissions must be made as public posts. Direct messages will be not accepted. All photographers retain their exclusive rights to their submitted materials and grant AGNES unrestricted rights to use submitted photos during and after this contest has concluded at its sole discretion. Please make a point of not disturbing other patrons in the exhibition when taking a photo. No touching the artwork and objects on display at any time. The winner will be chosen through a random number generator.

29 July 2019

Portrait of Jacquelyn N. Coutré. Photo: Tim Forbes

Dr Jacquelyn N. Coutré, Bader Curator/Researcher of European Art, will leave her position at Agnes Etherington Art Centre on 20 September to join the The Art Institute of Chicago, where she has accepted the post of Eleanor Wood Prince Associate Curator of European Painting and Sculpture before 1750.

Over the past four years, Jacquelyn has led the European art program at the Agnes, bringing fresh vitality to the gallery’s exhibitions, collections and publications. Highlight achievements include shepherding the acquisition of two remarkable Rembrandt paintings, and curating the ambitious Leiden circa 1630: Rembrandt Emerges exhibition, which opens this fall at the Agnes and will subsequently tour across Canada. Agnes Director Jan Allen remarks, “We will miss Jacquelyn at the Agnes: she’s been an outstanding team member, bringing intelligence, thoughtful scholarship, ingenuity, grace and good humour to all her work. I thank her for her many contributions to the gallery and wish her every success in this exciting next step in her career.”

26 July 2019

Occupational Therapy students at Queen’s University develop visual analysis and observational skills through the Art of Observation program in the David McTavish Art Study Room.

The David McTavish Art Study Room (DMASR) is a learning space created in memory of the late David McTavish, a respected scholar of Renaissance art, beloved professor and mentor, former Head of the Department of Art and transformative Director of the Agnes.  This room is an exciting, accessible space designed for small groups to examine, research and study original works of art. It furthers the academic mission of Queen’s University by supporting custom seminars, and, at the same time, offers flexible community access to the superb collections of the Agnes.

To make the most of this facility, we need to grow this Fund. Your gift will support outreach, coordination and art handling for real-time encounters with works of art. By making the collections more available for teaching use, the DMASR makes fresh, revelatory art experiences possible for students across a wide range of disciplines.

Donate today to make a difference tomorrow.

27 June 2019

Art Hive @Agnes. Photo: Garrett Elliott

Agnes offers a range of high-impact, youth-centred programs. The Rita Friendly Kaufman Fund, created by the Kaufman family in 1998 on the occasion of Rita Friendly Kaufman’s 80th birthday, is an important source of support for our art-education programs. This past year, the fund supported the March Break Art Camp, for children ages 6–12, and Art Hive @Agnes, a free drop-in program focused on art and wellness for young adults, covering such expenses as artist instructor fees and supplies.

Our hands-on studio programs are integrated with the exhibitions and collections to provide uniquely inspiring, high-quality learning year-round. As participation in these programs grows, so do our expenses. Please consider making a gift to support accessible creative programs.

20 June 2019

Portrait of Jan Allen. Photo: Tim Forbes

Jan Allen, Director of the Agnes Etherington Art Centre (Agnes) at Queen’s University, has announced her plans to retire effective 1 January 2020.

Allen has provided remarkable leadership in her time at the Agnes since her appointment in 2012 as acting director, followed by her appointment to director in 2014. During her tenure, she has overseen numerous exhibitions, publications, programs and acquisitions, including the most recent, a painting by Rembrandt van Rijn, Head of an Old Man with Curly Hair (1659), a gift of Linda and Daniel Bader. Under her leadership, the Agnes has won several prestigious awards and has nearly doubled its funding from the Canada Council for the Arts.

“Jan has laid a solid foundation for the Agnes’s continued success, working closely with the gallery’s Advisory Board, the university, and through her active engagement with the both the local and international art communities,” says Deputy Provost (Academic Operations and Inclusion) Teri Shearer. An award-winning curator, writer and assistant professor in the Cultural Studies program, Allen has served on numerous national-level juries and advisory committees and on the Boards of the Ontario Association of Art Galleries and the Canadian Art Museum Director’s Organization.

Reflecting on her career at the gallery—she joined the staff in 1992—Allen says, “I’m grateful to have had the pleasure and privilege of working with so many talented creators, generous colleagues and visionary supporters. As I prepare for an exciting next phase of life, it’s great to see the many ways in which the Agnes is thriving, buoyed by truly involved communities.” In the coming months, Allen will remain active with the opening of the new Franks Gallery; advancing plans for facility development and digital renewal; launching a new graduate program in Screen Cultures and Curatorial Studies with Queen’s Department of Film and Media; and assisting the leadership transition. The search for a new Director is expected to commence soon.

29 May 2019

Alysha Strongman, graduate student is Classics at Queen’s, was awarded the inaugural Research Studentship in Indigenous Art.

Noah Quinuayark, Hawk(e)/ Hawk and Prey, 1961, stonecut on paper. Gift of Margaret McGowan Arts’78, 2017 (60-003.01) Photo: Bernard Clark

Alysha Strongman, a graduate student in Classics at Queen’s, was awarded the inaugural Research Studentship in Indigenous Art. Her research involved curating the exhibition Puvirnituq Graphic Arts in the 1960s  under the supervision of Dr Norman Vorano.

When starting the process, Strongman quickly discovered that there was a lack of information about the history of printmaking in Puvirnituq, Nunavik, Quebec. She spent time in Ottawa at Library and Archives Canada to help fill in the gaps. Researching the early years of the print shop, Strongman was surprised to find that female artists not only carved and printed their own art but also editioned the prints of the male artists of the cooperative, and that their work was largely unacknowledged until later.

“This experience has greatly impacted my future career path as it has helped me to confirm that working within a museum environment is what I would like to continue to do,” says Alysha Strongman. “I now firmly know that curating art is something I hope to pursue in my future.” Strongman has recently been accepted to the Master’s in Art History program at Queen’s and she intends to work on prints from Puvirnituq.

This new program is funded by a generous gift from Margaret McGowan (Artsci’78). It supports a current graduate or upper-year undergraduate student at Queen’s University in completing research at Agnes in Inuit and North American Indigenous Art. The Studentship offers an in-depth experiential learning opportunity in Indigenous material culture within a professional museum environment.

21 May 2019

Tanya Lukin Linklater’s Open Rehearsal Process at The Isabel. Photo: Tim Forbes

Tanya Lukin Linklater’s new work We wear one another, comprising digital video with audio and wall text, is the final trace of Soundings: An Exhibition in Five Parts.

In this installation piece, you will see excerpts of text composed by the artist in relation to a Mackenzie Delta Inuvialuit gut-skin parka, held in the Hudson’s Bay Company Collection at the Manitoba Museum. The gut-skin parka was on view at Agnes as part of Soundings, where it became a score for a performance the artist developed with dancers Ceinwen Gobert and Danah Rosales, and composer/musician Laura Ortman, through an open-rehearsal process. The installation at Agnes remains on view through 30 June.

This performance, We wear one another, was presented at the Ka’tarohkwi Festival of Indigenous Arts at the Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts on 24 March 2019.

03 May 2019

Rembrandt van Rijn, Head of an Old Man with Curly Hair, 1659, oil on panel. Gift of Linda and Daniel Bader, 2019 (62-002).

Linda and Daniel Bader have donated Rembrandt van Rijn’s Head of an Old Man with Curly Hair (1659) to Agnes Etherington Art Centre in honour of Daniel’s late father and Queen’s alumnus, Dr Alfred Bader. Dr Bader,  chemist, entrepreneur, visionary  philanthropist, and discerning collector of art, passed away on 23 December 2018; 28 April would have been his 95th birthday.

Head of an Old Man with Curly Hair was one of my father’s favourite paintings” says Daniel Bader. “It hung in his living room, where he spent hours admiring it, until he gave it to me in 2001. My wife Linda and I are proud to present this beautiful painting to Queen’s in my father’s honour.”

This remarkable gift is the fourth Rembrandt painting to enter the Agnes collection. The other three were donated by Drs Alfred and Isabel Bader in 2003, 2007 and 2015 respectively. The museum now holds four of the seven paintings by this master in public Canadian collections.

Agnes unveils the notable addition to its collection during the Season Launch on 3 May. It remains on view in The Bader Gallery.

Dr Jacquelyn N. Coutré, Bader Curator and Researcher of European Art at Agnes, reflected on the impact of this generous gift saying, “The donation of Rembrandt van Rijn’s Head of an Old Man with Curly Hair by Linda and Daniel Bader is an extraordinary gesture. Not only is the work an exquisite rendering of old age and light that complements the three Rembrandt paintings in The Bader Collection, but its presentation to the Agnes honours Alfred’s memory in a tremendously appropriate manner. I am so pleased that this painting will be here to enrich possibilities for learning and discovery for all of our audiences.”

Head of an Old Man with Curly Hair is the latest addition to The Bader Collection, which comprises over 200 paintings spanning the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries, with a focus on Dutch and Flemish paintings of the Baroque era, which together reflect Rembrandt’s sphere of artistic influence. The quality of these works has brought international renown to the Agnes making it a destination in Canada for the research, study and enjoyment of Rembrandt and his circle.

“I am touched, and grateful for this wonderful gift of art in honour of a truly remarkable man: Dr Alfred Bader. This painting extends the impact of The Bader Collection at Queen’s in powerful ways,” says Agnes Director Jan Allen. “Thanks to the generosity and thoughtfulness of Linda and Daniel Bader, this outstanding painting will be available for present and future generations.”

Agnes Etherington Art Centre is a globally networked art museum, which is home to significant, high-quality collections. In addition to The Bader Collection, collections include concentrations in contemporary art, Canadian historical art, and smaller concentrations of African art, Indigenous art, and historical dress.

22 April 2019

Bernardo Bellotto, Architectural Capriccio with a Self-portrait in the Costume of a Venetian Nobleman, around 1762-65, Oil on canvas. Gift of Alfred and Isabel Bader, 2016 (59-006). Photo: Bernard Clark

Agnes regularly loans works from its collection to other museums around the world. Recently, this stunning painting by Bernardo Bellotto travelled to the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth, Texas, for the exhibition The Lure of Dresden: Bellotto at the Court of Saxony.

Architectural Capriccio with a Self-portrait in the Costume of a Venetian Nobleman marks a dramatic turning point in Bellotto’s career. With the death of Augustus III in 1763, Bellotto lost his privileged income and status at the Dresden court. The painter was granted a teaching position at the newly established Academy of Fine Arts, but he was forced to search for new patrons. Consequently, at precisely the time that this painting was created, his almost topographical manner assumes the new form of the capriccio, one based on major architectural monuments from Venice and Rome. Bellotto depicts himself here in the red robes of the Venetian nobleman attended by his servant Checo, thereby indicating his elevated status as an artist. This neoclassical emphasis, inflected with a whimsical sense of fantasy, was in keeping with the Academy’s ideals of decorativeness and idealization that influenced the taste of patrons in this period.

15 April 2019

Photo: Tim Forbes

Agnes Etherington Art Centre at Queen’s University has been awarded $50,000 through the Canada Council for the Arts’s Digital Strategy Fund. This breakthrough funding will support a digital needs assessment and a digital strategic plan, focusing on the gallery’s Contemporary Art and Indigenous Collection’s programs.

Recognizing that the power of digital and online tools is vital to the work of leading art museums around the world, Agnes aims to expand its digital presence and engagement with its contemporary and Indigenous collections, exhibitions, research, residencies, programs and publications. The overall goals are to create expanded avenues of participation around visual and media art and artists, and to participate in the evolution of digital visual cultures. “We are eager to extend our digital reach by creating new avenues for engagement with online collections, and with in-gallery and born-digital projects and programs” says Jan Allen, Director of Agnes Etherington Art Centre. “The digital needs assessment and digital strategic plan will enable us to shape a digital future at Agnes that’s both inspired and sustainable. This new capacity, through the Canada Council, is especially timely as we move towards launch of the new Screen Cultures and Curatorial Studies graduate program with the Department of Film and Media at Queen’s.”

This new support complements an ongoing digitization drive at Agnes. In December 2018, Danuta Sierhuis joined Agnes staff as Digital Development Coordinator to advance an ambitious three-year initiative supported by the Isabel & Alfred Bader Fund of Bader Philanthropies. That project will transform the digital presentation of The Bader Collection of European art. Sierhuis’s work includes deploying state-of-the-art interactive digital tools for in-gallery experiences, developing beautifully designed templates for born-digital exhibitions and publications, and enhancing the documentation and availability of critical research on The Bader Collection online.  

Inspired by this initiative, Agnes will harness these thrilling technologies to increase access to contemporary art and programs, and ensure a beautiful and balanced digital stream is built that reflects the full scope of the gallery’s achievements and capacity. The needs assessment and strategic plan components of the new project, which will take place from fall 2019 to fall 2020, will ensure these efforts meet the highest standards in this fast-evolving environment.

Agnes’s Contemporary Art and Indigenous Collections capture the emerging generation of artists and works that reflect contemporary life and diversity of Canadian society, including media-based works. It is national in scope, representing vital artistic impulses, diverse cultures, ideas and events of the current period and context, and capturing movements at the forefront of artistic practices.

The Canada Council for the Arts Digital Strategy Fund Special Initiative for Core Grant Recipients is a one-time initiative to support current core grant recipients in evaluating their digital readiness and developing a digital strategic plan.

We acknowledge the support of the Canada Council for the Arts.
Nous remercions le Conseil des arts du Canada de son soutien.

Logo: Canada Council for the Arts

15 April 2019

Raven Chacon and Cristóbal Martínez, A Song Often Played on the Radio, 2018, digital video from the exhibition Soundings: An Exhibition in Five Parts.

The Department of Film and Media, in partnership with Agnes, has begun recruiting students for a new graduate program in Screen Cultures and Curatorial Studies. Pending provincial government approval, this MA and PhD program will begin in fall 2019. This innovative offering links research and creation in legacy film, electronic media, online digital and curatorial studies and practice to equip graduates to thrive and participate in these interwoven strands of contemporary culture.

This hybridized, intermeshed relationship between studies and production has been central to the Film and Media Department at Queen’s since its inception in 1969. The integration of a curatorial stream into this mix, through a partnership with Agnes, takes the graduate program to another level, completing the triad of cultural production, criticism and reception.

Agnes Director Jan Allen points out, “With the support of the curatorial team and professional staff, students in this program will have access to experiential learning in a high-functioning art museum. At the same time, our public-facing programs will benefit from an infusion of new research and digital-culture perspectives. Curatorial studies is all about strategies for making meaning; multi-disciplinary access to these new graduate courses will inform and energize all our work.”

Learn more about the unique program, range of course options and professional opportunities for students in a 30-minute webinar on 7 or 16 May. Register here.

05 April 2019

Lorna Rowley speaks with Master of Conservation graduate students while Vanessa Nicholas examines a shawl from the collection through a microscope. Photo: Garrett Elliott

In residence until the end of April at the Agnes Etherington Art Centre and the Master of Art Conservation Program at Queen’s University, Vanessa Nicholas and Lorna Rowley are, respectively, the 2019 Isabel Bader Fellow and Graduate Intern in Textile Conservation and Research. They have learned about the oldest garments in Queen’s Collection of Canadian Dress, including a Regency style day dress that was once in Agnes Etherington’s possession. Their research on the provenance, style and material of this dress has taken them from the Cataraqui Cemetery to the colonial United States, and has piqued their interest in fashionable florals and silk worms.

On Sunday 15 April, 2–3:30 pm, Nicholas and Rowley will present an insider art talk to the public on their research into some of the oldest materials in the Agnes collection of Canadian Dress as part of the INSIDE AGNES: Music and Art Series. Admission is free, and all are welcome.

The 2019 Fellowship project has subjected two dresses and two shawls in the collection to historical and scientific analysis with the aim of determining their provenance and materials. “These garments and accessories all predate Confederation, and our oldest case study is a silk day dress made in a style that dates to the early nineteenth century” says Vanessa Nicholas. “Curiously, the dress’s silk likely dates to the 1770s or 1780s, and we have synthesized genealogy, fashion history and lab results to reconstruct the life of this object.” This research will be contextualized within environmental history, which studies the relations between human culture and the natural world.

Nicholas and Rowley work in office space at Agnes and lab space in the Master of Art Conservation Program. Throughout the project, they have been sharing their expertise with conservation students through workshops and discussions, as well as consulting with other conservators and professionals in the field about their research.

The Isabel Bader Fellowship in Textile Conservation and Research is a four-month residency and research opportunity that promotes investigation in textile conservation and costume history. Through the generous support of Dr Isabel Bader, the Fellowship links two of Queen’s University’s  unique resources: the Queen’s University Collection of Canadian Dress at the Agnes, which comprises over 2000 articles of fashion from the late 1700s to the 1970s, and the Master of Art Conservation Program, which offers Canada’s only graduate degree in conservation theory and treatment.

About Vanessa Nicholas and Lorna Rowley

Vanessa Nicholas is a PhD candidate in the Department of Visual Art and Art History at York University, and has an MA from the Courtauld Institute of Art and a BFA from Queen’s University. Nicholas has held academic and museum positions and internships at a number of institutions nationally and internationally, and has also published and presented on textile history and historical and contemporary art. In 2017, Nicholas was also the recipient of the SSHRC Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarship Doctoral Award.

Lorna Rowley holds an MPhil in Textile Conservation from the Centre for Textile Conservation and Technical Art History, University of Glasgow, and a BA in the History of Art and Design from the National College of Art and Design, Dublin, with a specialty in embroidery. Rowley has experience in the professional conservation field, having worked in the Dublin-based studio of Rachel Phelan, and with the Institute of Heritage Preservation Research, Bureau of Cultural Heritage, Tainan, Taiwan. In 2015, Rowley was joint recipient of the prestigious Indigo Arts Alliance Denese L. Easterly Conservation Training Pre-program Award for her passionate commitment to the field.

29 March 2019

Art Hive @Agnes. Photo: Garrett Elliott

This past winter, Agnes launched a pilot program focussing on art and wellness for young adults (ages 18–24). The free weekly sessions were facilitated by arts educator and certified art therapist Harper Johnston and offered participants a chance to relax and recharge in a creative studio setting.

Art Hive @Agnes aligns with Queen’s University’s focus on health and wellness. “In today’s times, where young adults are needing increasing amounts of mental health supports, it is important for them to have access to various types of therapeutic outlets and opportunities,” says Rina Gupta, Director, Counselling, Queen’s University. “The idea of being able to offer students the opportunity to express themselves through creativity and art is fantastic as it acknowledges the holistic needs of individuals.” Due to the success of this pilot program, and the great interest from Queen’s staff and adults in the Kingston community, we are offering an Art Hive series for all adults this spring on Thursdays, 9 May–13 June, 4–6 pm.

Art Hive @Agnes was made possible through the generosity of an anonymous benefactor: donors do make a difference!

06 March 2019

Students in ECON 244 view art objects in the David McTavish Art Study Room. Photo: Tim Forbes

Anishinaabe Artist (attributed), Bandolier bag, late 19th century, cotton, wool and glass (M77-068)


Heather Parker and Anya Hageman bring Indigenous economies to life through objects from the collection. Photo: Tim Forbes

Faculty from all departments and disciplines have been taking advantage of the rich resources at Agnes for vivid experiential learning. Professor Anya Hageman recently brought her Economics of Indigenous Communities (ECON 244) class to the gallery for two sessions. Students explored the Indigenous art exhibition Soundings: An Exhibition in Five Parts and encountered works from our collection including dentalium shell earrings, a beaver hat, a bison-horn cup and beautiful beaded bandolier bags. “Seeing objects expertly crafted from local and traded materials really brought pre-contact and early-contact indigenous economies to life for us,” said Professor Hageman. “The paintings we examined illustrated how Europeans’ view of Indigenous peoples was often romanticized, contributing to their marginalization.”

Agnes has expanded learning-through-art initiatives this year with the help of Heather Parker, Associate Curator, Academic Outreach, who is on a term appointment made possible by the Chancellor Richardson Memorial Fund. She has made creative connections between the exhibitions, programs and collections at Agnes and diverse course offerings. This targeted approach has attracted classes from Law, Nursing, Geography and Planning, Global Development, and Languages, Literatures and Cultures, along with Art History, Classics, Drama, Education, English, Film Studies, Gender Studies and others. While introducing young adults to art as a resource for lifelong learning, these encounters support students in developing the visual analysis and observational skills that will enrich and inform them in their disciplines and as global citizens.

20 January 2019

Danuta Sierhuis experiences the exhibition Soundings: An Exhibition in Five Parts with Sebastian De Line’s Walking Ohénton Karihwatéhkwen (walking + words before all else), 2018, audio tour. Photo: Paul Litherland

Danuta Sierhuis joined Agnes in December as Digital Development Coordinator. She is working to implement an ambitious project over the next couple of years that will transform the visitor experience in-gallery and online, opening expanded access to our collections, exhibitions and research.

Sierhuis  comes to us from the National Gallery of Canada, where she has been working as a curatorial assistant in Canadian Art. She holds an MA in Art History with a specialization in Digital Humanities from Carleton University, and a diploma in Interactive Media Management from Algonquin College, and has attained a suite of relevant experience in art galleries and archives. Her projects have spanned exhibitions, collections management, digitization, digital humanities projects including online exhibitions, augmented reality publications and 3D models, web design and social media management.

05 January 2019

Raven Chacon, American Ledger (No. 1), 2018, vinyl transfer. Photo: Tim Forbes

Curators Candice Hopkins (Tlingit) and Dylan Robinson (Stó:lō) bring an immersive and evolving experience of Indigenous cultures this winter, the outcome of several years of research and the product of multi-faceted collaborations and creative consultations. In Soundings: An Exhibition in Five Parts, Agnes is honoured to host and co-produce projects and performances by prominent artists from across North America; you’ll find details on the following pages and online.

Soundings is affiliated with The Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts’ concurrent Ka’tarohkwi Festival of Indigenous Arts featuring Canada’s leading Indigenous artists. They will present original new work inspired and shaped by the knowledge and creative practice of hundreds of generations, drawing on Indigenous art across theatre, dance, music, film and performance art. Visit The Isabel website for details and ticket information for festival performances.

Modern Fuel Artist-Run Centre will present ancillary exhibitions and programs: Peter Morin: Tahltan, 12 January–23 February, and Dayna Danger and Jeneen Frei Njootli: A fine pointed belonging, curated by Genevieve Flavelle, 8 March–20 April.

24 December 2018

Alfred Bader. Courtesy of David Bader.

Queen’s University alumnus Alfred Bader (BSc’45, BA’46, Msc’47, LLD’86) died on 23 December 2018: we deeply mourn the passing of this distinguished, visionary philanthropist.

Dr Bader, a successful chemist and entrepreneur and an astute collector of European art, sought to provide Queen’s with the “finest art museum of any university in Canada.” Over the course of fifty years, he donated more than five hundred objects—from paintings to works on paper and sculpture—to build a world-class collection of historical European art at the Agnes. Among its treasures are three paintings by the Dutch master Rembrandt van Rijn, an early devotional painting by the Greek artist El Greco and an intimate nocturne by the German painter Adam Elsheimer.

With typical generosity and foresight, Dr Bader created special funds to ensure the long-term physical and intellectual care of this superb body of works. Dr Bader’s profound generosity will have a lasting impact, as The Bader Collection continues to educate and enchant the Queen’s community and visitors from around the globe for decades to come.

18 December 2018

Photo: Garrett Elliott

Heather Parker is our newly appointed Associate Curator, Academic Outreach. In this role, she will cultivate and facilitate course-specific access to Agnes exhibitions and collections, formulating strategies for active use of original works of art within university curricula and, more broadly, as a research and teaching resource.  Learn more.

Parker’s career has spanned academic teaching and administration, with a focus on building bridges between faculty, students, staff and the public in interdisciplinary environments. She has held positions as Coordinator, Library Accessibility Services and AODA Advisor at the University of Waterloo, and as Assistant Director at the Centre for Scottish Studies, University of Guelph.  She holds a doctorate in history from the University of Guelph and a Master’s in Scottish History from the University of Edinburgh.

06 December 2018

Elisabetta Sirani, The Holy Family with Saints Elizabeth and John the Baptist, around 1650–1660, etching on paper. Purchase, Franks Fund and European Art Acquisition Fund, 2018 (61-010). Photo: Bernard Clark

In the fall, Agnes acquired Elisabetta Sirani’s etching The Holy Family with Saints Elizabeth and John the Baptist. “This is the first work by a woman artist made before 1900 to enter the European collection,” says Dr Jacquelyn N. Coutré, Bader Curator/Researcher of European Art. “And as such, it’s a splendid acquisition in the wake of the 2018 Powers of Women exhibition.” This rare etching is one of only ten known compositions that Sirani produced in print.

In her arrangement of the Holy Family, Sirani privileges female kinship and the domestic environment. She presents the Virgin Mary in the earthly act of breastfeeding as she entertains the infant St. John. His mother, in turn, is seated behind him, winding swaddling cloth. Joseph, wielding his axe and a piece of wood, is relegated to the background. The artist interprets the Holy Family in terms of charmingly observed familial contentment.

Elisabetta Sirani (1638–1665) was an exceptional example of a female artist in the early modern era: she was the first woman to specialize in history painting, the most esteemed of genres. She also established an informal art academy that educated a dozen women in the foundations of painting, and was patronized by kings, princes and scholars. Upon her unexpected death at the age of 27, she was mourned with numerous poems, commemorative music and a grand catafalque.

03 December 2018

Tau Lewis in her Ontario Hall Studio on campus. Photo: Tim Forbes

This year’s 13-week residency through summer and early fall 2018 was a rich platform for Toronto-based artist Tau Lewis’s artmaking process, culminating in the solo exhibition when last you found me here. Especially exciting, recent and current Queen’s BFA (Visual Art) students Ramolen Laruan and Julia Fast-Grass worked closely with Lewis through the creation phase of the residency in a spacious sculpture studio at Ontario Hall, where she made new work for her exhibition at the Agnes and other forthcoming shows.

Artists and audiences from across the community connected with the work and ideas of this extraordinary, generous young artist. Tau Lewis met with BFA (Visual Art) seminars and with MBA students in the Art Worlds: A User’s Guide workshop series, led a hands-on sculpture workshop, and created a podcast with CFRC radio. She gave a moving Artist Talk focusing on the inspiration she found in the powerful vernacular art of civil rights movement-era Birmingham, and participated in Art and Black Canada, a panel discussion with Yaniya Lee, Charmaine Lurch and Katherine McKittrick.

Lewis shared her artmaking process in workshops, including one with Roots and Wings Kingston, a program for racialized girls. “Getting to be a part of the Roots and Wings program was a great privilege for me,” she says. “I always feel blessed to encounter children’s artworks and the process by which they create them, because you’ll rarely encounter a more honest kind of storytelling. I feel honoured to work with such a talented and diverse group of young women, and happy that I’m able to contribute to something that was crucial to me as a kid, and I think in some ways helped me to arrive to where I am now.”

The program was generously supported by the Stonecroft Foundation for the Arts, the Queen’s University Department of Gender Studies through Dr Katherine McKittrick and the Queen’s Arts Fund–Visiting Artist in Residence, and the BFA (Visual Art) Program.

01 December 2018

Unknown maker, Wedding dress, 1886, silk and lace (C68-596.1a-c)

In January, we welcome the 2019 Isabel Bader Fellow and Graduate Intern in Textile Conservation and Research for their four-month residency. The Fellow, Vanessa Nicholas, is a PhD candidate in the Department of Visual Art and Art History at York University, with an MA from Courtauld Institute of Art and a BFA from Queen’s University. Graduate Intern Lorna Rowley holds an MPhil in Textile Conservation from the Centre for Textile Conservation and Technical Art History, University of Glasgow, and a BA in the History of Art and Design from the National College of Art and Design, Dublin, with a specialty in embroidery.

Their project will focus on the environmental history and ecological significance of late nineteenth-century wedding dresses and bridal accessories in the Queen’s University Collection of Canadian Dress. They will be working with the textile collection in our vaults and in the Master of Art Conservation (MAC) Program labs, and will offer talks and workshops: watch for notices of these events.

Since 2011, this rare biennial program has supported the study, care and treatment of Canadian historical costume and textiles, linking two unique resources at Queen’s University: the Collection of Canadian Dress at Agnes Etherington Art Centre and the Master of Art Conservation Program, Canada’s only graduate degree in conservation theory and treatment.

01 December 2018

Photo: Garrett Elliott

Kate Ducharme joined the Agnes team in November. As Visitor Services Assistant, she ensures smooth operation of public spaces at the gallery, providing a warm welcome for visitors, scheduling events and supporting communications.

Ducharme brings to her role a BAH in History and Fine Art (Wilfred Laurier University), a diploma in Applied Museum Studies (Algonquin College), and a wealth of experience gained as Gallery Manager/Curator at the Kingston Glass Studio & Gallery and Curator at MVS Gallery, St Lawrence College, Brockville.

15 November 2018

Photo: Tim Forbes

Carina Magazzeni rejoins the Agnes as the Assistant Curator, Contemporary Art — Special Project, focused on Soundings: An Exhibition in Five Parts, curated by Candice Hopkins and Dylan Robinson. Magazzeni also maintains an active independent curatorial practice, with recent projects including Many Voices: Indigenous Art, co-curated with Tania Willard; PARK LIFE: Interventions in Public Space as part of LandMarks2017 / Repères2017; and Cheryl L’Hirondelle: STANDING UP SITTING IN, SOUNDING OUT, co-curated with Ellyn Walker. She was recently selected as the 2018 Curator-in-Residence, Curatorial Residency in Paris—Programme Ville de Paris aux Récollets—Fonderie Darling, Centre Culturel Canadien and the Curator-in-Residence with La Panacée at l’ESBA Montpellier Contemporain MoCo.

Magazzeni is a co-founding member of various artist collectives based in Kingston, including Small Potatoesthink tank, and The Hysterics. She is the Co-Chair on Modern Fuel Artist-Run Centre’s Board of Directors and a Director on the Board of Reelout Queer Film Festival. She is a femme settler from the Niagara Region, on Haudenosaunee and Chippewa territory.

02 November 2018

Installation view of Tau Lewis: when last you found me here. Photo: Paul Litherland

The Ontario Arts Council (OAC) awarded Agnes $149,860 for the third and final year of the multi-year Public Art Galleries – Operating Grant. This 10.5% increase over last year’s allocation reflects the OAC’s funding principles and Agnes’s peer assessment.

“I’m grateful for the visionary public funding that will support our artistic programs through 2018-2019, and also proud of the excellent staff efforts and imaginative teamwork that have made this success possible,” says Jan Allen, Director. “In addition, our Advisory Board members play a vital role in sustaining our creative momentum. Their ideas and encouragement, and probing questions, continue to make us better.”

The program’s priorities are to support diverse public art galleries that demonstrate a commitment to Ontario’s visual arts infrastructure, including exhibition, presentation, production, distribution, artist development, and opportunities created for the public to interact with contemporary visual art.

20 October 2018

Photo: Tim Forbes

This fall Leyla Pavão Chisamore joined Agnes as Program Assistant. In this role, her focus is administrative coordination, which includes public outreach, facilitating children’s tours, school invoicing, studio materials and leading the occasional tour.

Chisamore is an aspiring historian researching gender, sexuality, heresy and witchcraft histories in the late medieval/early modern periods, as well as contemporary feminist art and art historical practice. She is the former President of the Board of Directors at Modern Fuel Artist-Run Centre and a Summer Intern at Union Gallery. She is currently a BA (Honours) candidate at Queen’s University (History & Art History), with a certificate in Gender and Sexual Diversity through the Department of Gender Studies.

11 October 2018

Installation image of the infinity mirrored interior of Teresa Carlesimo and Michael DiRisio’s artwork titled, a form of formlessness. Photo: Paul Litherland

The Ontario Association of Art Galleries  has announced the 41st season of its coveted OAAG Awards will take place at Toronto’s Harbourfront Centre Theatre on 19 November, celebrating the exhibitions, publications, and programming of Ontario’s public art galleries over the past year.

Agnes is one of 34 public art galleries up for an award – A Form of Formlessness (Teresa Carlesimo and Michael DiRisio) is on the short list for ‘Exhibition of the Year, Budget Under $10,000’. Sunny Kerr, Curator of Contemporary Art is up for a Curatorial Writing Award for his essay in Les Levine: Transmedia, 1964 to 1974.

“The Awards recognize excellence and celebrates the significance of Ontario’s Public Art Galleries,” said Zainub Verjee, Executive Director of OAAG. “We share an unbounded optimism in our services to Ontario’s Public Art Galleries’ impact and relevance in shaping and enriching the lives of Ontarians through art.”

Visit here for the complete version of the 2018 OAAG Awards Shortlisted Nominees:

20 August 2018

Tau Lewis presents her work during a session of Art Worlds: A User’s Guide. Photo: Garrett Elliott

CFRC 101.9 FM’s interview with artist Tau Lewis is available as a podcast here. Listen to Tau speak about her body of work, her method and inspirations, her work with Kingston-based Roots and Wings, a grassroots community group that works towards making space for racialized girls in Kingston, and her upcoming exhibition at the Agnes.

The first part of Tau Lewis’s 13-week artist residency is wrapping up this week with the installation and opening of her exhibition, when last you found me here. She will return to Kingston 16–28 September for a series of public programs including a workshop, the season launch, and an artist talk.

16 August 2018

Tau Lewis (left) and Julia Fast-Grass (right) working together in the Ontario Hall studio. Photo: Tim Forbes

Ramolen Laruan  and Julia Fast-Grass have been working closely with Stonecroft Artist-in-Residence Tau Lewis this summer. Their assistance has allowed Tau to produce new work that will be part of her solo exhibition at the Agnes in the fall.

Based in a spacious studio in Ontario Hall, they are helping with the production of Tau’s labour-intensive sewing  and sculptural work. “Assisting Tau during her residency at the Agnes goes beyond the exchange of labour and energy,” says Ramolen. “It means being able to talk through the work with her, and it is a privilege to ask questions and form a relationship with an artist who gives so much to her work.” This experience offers the emerging artists meaningful contact with a dynamic and successful contemporary artist, one who is engaging with urgencies of contemporary racial politics.

This spring, Ramolen graduated from Queen’s  with a BFA (Honours), and a minor in Art History, and will be pursuing her MFA from Western University in the fall. Julia will be returning to Queen’s as a third-year BFA student.

These assistantships are made possible by the Stonecroft Foundation Artist-in-Residence program.

16 August 2018
Jessica Lanziner

Thanks to SWEP, Jessica Lanziner has engaging, challenging and rewarding employment as the summer Collections Assistant. Working closely with Collections Manager Jennifer Nicoll, she assists with record keeping and physical care of the gallery’s collection. Jessica’s special project involves completing the digitization and rehousing of the Collection of Canadian Dress. This work will enhance research access and further preserve the Agnes’s rare collection.

Jessica’s past experience includes working at La Biennale di Venezia and serving as an intern at Modern Fuel Artist-Run Centre. This fall, she will enter the fourth and final year of her Bachelor degree in Fine Art and Art History at Queen’s University.

13 August 2018

Rebecca Belmore, Quote, Misquote, Fact, 2003, graphite on cotton rag vellum. Gift of Rebecca Belmore, 2004 (47-005)

Rebecca Belmore: Facing the Monumental, on view at the AGO until 21 October 2018 and curated by Wanda Nanibush, Curator, Indigenous Art, features two works from the Agnes collection: Quote, Misquote, Fact and Black CloudRebecca Belmore is one of the most important contemporary artists working along the border of art and politics today. Her poetic and beautiful works respond to the pressing issues of our time, including water and land rights, women’s lives and dignity, violence against Indigenous people by the state and police, and the role of the artist in contemporary life. Read more about the exhibition.

Kingston residents will recognize the text of this piece, based on rubbings excerpted from the inscription on the base of the Sir John A. Macdonald statue in City Park. Belmore created this drawing when she was Koerner Visiting Artist in the BFA (Visual Art) Program at Queen’s University in 2003.

30 July 2018
Amelia Glancy

Amelia Glancy is the Curatorial Assistant in European Art at the Agnes this summer. Her work,  funded by Young Canada Works, focuses on digitizing materials concerning the Agnes’s three Rembrandt paintings for The Rembrandt Database developed by RKD – Netherlands Institute for Art History. The goal of this database is to give scholars and the public access to art historical information and technical documentation on works by the Dutch artist from institutions around the world. 

Amelia’s past experience includes commercial environments and art exhibitions, in addition to work at the Venice Biennale and the Art Gallery of Ontario. At the Agnes, she is gaining new, valuable experience  before commencing her Master’s degree in Art History at Queen’s in the fall.

23 July 2018
Kim Renders

Like many in our community, we were deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Kim Renders on 17 July, following a short illness. A writer, director, actor and designer, Kim was a member of faculty in Queen’s University’s Dan School of Drama and Music. She was a prolific, generous and daring contributor to creative life in Kingston and beyond.

Kim lent her voice to the 2015 exhibition The Artist Herself, in a beautiful performance of Pauline Johnson’s The Song My Paddle SingsListen here.

16 July 2018
Julia Hegmann

This summer Julia Hegmann is working at the Agnes as Program Assistant, under the Young Canada Works program. Working closely with the School of Rehabilitation Therapy and under the guidance of our Program Coordinator Shannon Brown, Julia will use her background in education to assist in shaping an important new art education program designed for differently-abled children and youth under the title Art Makes Sense. Throughout the summer, she will assist with Summer SmARTs camps and help plan school and public programs for the fall.

Julia has recently graduated with a Bachelor of Arts Honours in Art History and Mathematics. In the fall, she will be returning to Queen’s for her fifth and final year of Concurrent-Education.

16 July 2018
Agnes facade

Agnes has been awarded an Operating Grant of $75,000 from the City of Kingston Arts Fund (CKAF). This fund nurtures the capacity of the arts, artists and the arts sector in Kingston while fostering creativity, encouraging social cohesion, enhancing quality of life and stimulating economic development through direct investment. Agnes Director Jan Allen, responded to the good news, saying, “We are deeply grateful for this support, which reflects and reinforces the ways our programs, collections and exhibitions connect with the community around us. The annual CKAF grant is crucial to sustainability, for us and for many key organizations and initiatives across the city.” To view the full list of recipients, see the Kingston Arts Council’s website.

09 July 2018

Photo: Tim Forbes

The talented Jacqueline Bell joined the staff team as Administrative Coordinator in June. She brings to her role more than ten years’ administrative experience working with nonprofit and not-for-profit organizations, most recently at University Hospitals Kingston Foundation, where she provided administrative support to the Annual Giving team and oversaw the direct marketing portfolio. She currently serves as the board secretary for Resolve Counselling Services Canada.

A graduate of Queen’s School of Music (B.Mus ’02), Jacqueline is delighted to be back on campus.

02 July 2018

Kwakwaka’wakw or Ts’msyan (Tsimshian) artist, Frontlet, undated, wood, paint, abalone shell, metal and hide. Gift of Dr. Archibald Malloch, 1910.

Queen’s Alumni News recently featured The Dodge Family Indigenous Art Collection Research Fund, which was established this past year through a generous donation from Chancellor Emeritus David Dodge (Arts’65, LLD’02) and his wife, Christiane (Arts’65). The Fund aims to enable the gallery to shape an informed approach to  care and development of its Indigenous art collections, and to encourage fellow alumni, friends, and faculty to support Indigenous arts at Queen’s.

Read about how this new fund will help Agnes discover the history of some of its most important artifacts.

02 July 2018

Portrait, Shannon Brown Photo: Tim Forbes

We are happy to welcome Shannon Brown, who joined the Agnes team as our new Program Coordinator in June. A Kingston native, Shannon received her B.Ed from Queen’s in the ACE (Artist in Community Education) stream, a Certificate in Human Psychology from Bishop’s University and her BFA from Concordia University in Studio Arts. Her experience in community/audience engagement and programming at both the Tett Centre for Creativity and Learning as well as the Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts will be a great asset. Shannon is known for her imaginative, ground-breaking arts programming for all ages and abilities.

25 June 2018

Ho Tam, Chrysanthemum, excerpt from Ming Blue, 1996, oil on panel. Gift of Herbert O. Bunt, 2000. (42-22.03)

We lost a lovely collector and patron on 19 June, with the passing of Herbert O. Bunt, in his 96th year. He’ll be missed and fondly remembered for his raucous incisive aesthetics, his pronouncements, wicked teasing humour, generosity, and, most of all, for his passionate, unstinting faith in artists.

Herbert left an amazing legacy within the Agnes collection, to which he donated works of art across four decades.

25 June 2018

Reception Team, Summer 2018. Photo: Tim Forbes

These friendly faces will greet you at the Agnes this summer. The reception team: Top, left to right: Sarah Punzalan, Evelina Domeikyte, Christopher Grant, Leyla Chisamore and Bruce Kauffman. Bottom, left to right: Ali Dixon, Amelia Rankine, Chiara Gottheil, Kyle Holleran and Miranda Ramnares.

This talented and knowledgeable group maintains the highest standards of courtesy, efficiency and service to make your visit a great one.

25 June 2018

Installation view of Picturing Arctic Modernity at Canadian Museum of History

Picturing Arctic Modernity: North Baffin Drawings from 1964, curated by Norman Vorano, continues its run at the Canadian Museum of History through 3 September 2018, with the national tour to follow. In June of 2018, two satellite version of the exhibition travelled to the North Baffin Region of Nunavut. One will be on view at the Nattinnak Visitors Centre in Pond Inlet and the other, curated by Mike Jaypoody, at Piqqusilirivvik in Clyde River until September of 2018.

Dr Vorano has been in Clyde River to assist with the installation and to host informal community drop in sessions to share the research and the collection. He writes,”The drawings were mounted in a small reading room in Piqqusilirivvik. Staff were excited to see the drawings, welcoming, and offered so much assistance. People from the community dropped in to take snapshots, marvel at the drawings, and chat afterwards over coffee and cookies. More than once I overheard a visitor point to a drawing and say, “that’s my grandmother’s!””

11 June 2018

Sarah Swedberg and Victoria Bowen Photo: Tim Forbes

Victoria Bowen and Sarah Swedberg are working at the Agnes this summer, developing and delivering interactive education programs for youth ages 6 to 17. Building on their experience as student docents, they will be delivering the school program, Canadian Patchwork  in May and June. In July, they will provide studio support to Summer SmARTs campers and art educators. Lastly, they will collaborate in designing and developing the Agnes school program for 2018–2019 under the guidance and direction of the Program Coordinator.

Victoria is a Queen’s Art History student entering her fourth year, with a minor in Drama. In the fall, she will be returning to the student docent program, as a Head Docent.  Sarah is a Queen’s Fine Arts student receiving a minor in Art History. In the fall, she is looking forward to studying paint and printmaking. Their positions are made possible by Queen’s Summer Work Experience Program, which supports career-building on-campus jobs for undergrads.

11 June 2018

Tau Lewis next to her work, Making it work to be together while we can, 2018.

Curious about this year’s Stonecroft Artist-in-Residence, Tau Lewis? Find out more about this internationally admired artist and join us for coffee and treats in Etherington House as we kick off her 13-week residency in Kingston. This Canadian artist is the Agnes Etherington Art Centre’s second annual Stonecroft Foundation Artist-in-Residence, hosted in collaboration with Queen’s University’s Department of Gender Studies and the BFA (Visual Art) Program.

After introductory remarks, you’ll enjoy a bite to eat and mingle with the artist and Curator of Contemporary Art Sunny Kerr. Read more about the artist.

04 June 2018
Portrait of Kate Yüksel. Photo: Tim Forbes

Kate Yüksel has taken on the new role of Communications Coordinator at the Agnes. Her experience with arts administration and communications, as well as her background in graphic design and photography, make her a strong asset to the Agnes team. Always sensitive to the role and mission of the art museum, she aims to shape a communications program that connects with diverse audiences locally and globally.

Director Jan Allen noted, “Kate is a gifted, creative communicator with a deep understanding of our mission and an uncanny visual imagination. This position brings her focus to sharing our collections and compelling new avenues for art engagement.”

28 May 2018

Installation image of the infinity mirrored interior of Teresa Carlesimo and Michael DiRisio’s artwork titled, a form of formlessness.

The Agnes has been busy preparing a new Digital Publication platform for you. Our first to launch is A FORM OF FORMLESSNESS: an informed and formless response with an essay by Carina Magazzeni. This beautiful publication is responsive to different forms of viewing including desktop, mobile and tablet. Spend time enjoying the installation photographs and getting to know Teresa Carlesimo and Michael DiRisio’s work. This exhibition was presented at the Agnes 26 August–3 December 2017.

09 April 2018

Caitlyn Picard at work, with the Queen’s University Collection of Canadian Dress. Photo: Garrett Elliott

Since joining the Agnes last summer as Textile Conservation Technician, Caitlyn Picard has completed condition and risk assessments for the entire Queen’s University Collection of Canadian Dress. Over 2,700 objects have been examined, ranging from feathered hats and evening gowns to walking sticks and children’s shoes, fulfilling a goal set when the dress collection came onsite in 2000. Caitlyn’s year-long position, generously funded by Dr Isabel Bader, built upon the research and recommendations of Isabel Bader Fellows in Textile Conservation and Research. For the second phase of her project, Caitlyn is overseeing the collection’s digitization, which will ultimately allow online public access to the textile riches held within the Agnes vaults.

An exhibition featuring this collection is planned for next year.

26 February 2018
Leah Cox

The Agnes welcomes Leah Cox as our new Collections Assistant. Leah will be assisting the Collections Manager with the record keeping and inventorying the collection. She will also facilitate seminars in the David McTavish Art Study Room, coordinate collections volunteers, and assist in the management of the Queen’s University Portraits of Record.

After graduating from Ryerson with a BAH in Arts and Contemporary Studies (History) and completing the Museum Management Program at Fleming College, Leah worked for CBC Toronto’s Library and Archives, caring for their historic still photographic collection. She currently splits her time between the Agnes and the Kingston Frontenac Public Library where she is working in Programming and Outreach.

26 February 2018
Tina Kuniliusie

Picturing Arctic Modernity, curated by Dr Norman Vorano, is now open at the Canadian Museum of History in Gatineau, QC, and will be on view there through 3 September 2018. The featured drawings eloquently document Inuit perspectives of daily life, history and memory during a time of profound social change. Through accompanying video clips, visitors to the exhibition will encounter the contemporary voices and reflections of the artists, their descendants, and friends, who provide an intimate connection to the people, events and themes depicted in the drawings, while underscoring the importance of cultural heritage to communities today.

19 February 2018

Mattiusie Manakudluk (QC 1911-Puvirnituq QC 1968), In Summer They Went Camping, In Winter They Went for Seals, 1968, stonecut on paper, 27/30

We are excited to announce that the Agnes has received a donation of twenty-three stone-cut and stencil prints from Puvirnituq, along with funding to establish a new Research Studentship in Indigenous Art. Heartfelt thanks go out to Margaret McGowan, Artsci’78, for these generous gifts. Margaret, along with her husband, also created two bequests in their estate that will benefit Queen’s and the Agnes.

We asked Margaret about the inspiration for her philanthropy. Her response:

As a student at Queen’s, I visited the Agnes regularly to see the exhibits and enjoy the peace and beauty of the original house. When it came time to think about estate planning, my husband and I created two legacy bequests—one to provide funds for a research studentship in Indigenous art, and another to enable children and youth to participate in fee-based programs at the Agnes.

Recently, a more immediate opportunity to make a gift presented itself. For years I collected early Inuit prints from Puvirnituq, a small community on the coast of Hudson Bay in northern Quebec. I offered the collection of twenty-three prints to Queen’s, and was thrilled that Professor Norman Vorano was enthusiastic about adding them to the Agnes’s collection. He suggested that the prints would offer possibilities for programming, exhibitions, and academic and community-based research.

As a complement to this gift, funds were also provided for an active research studentship specific to Indigenous art, with a priority focus on Inuit art. I am hoping this funding will provide opportunities for Queen’s students to further their studies in art history, art conservation, or Indigenous studies; to enable research into the prints of Puvirnituq; and to benefit the collections and programs at the Agnes.

A selection of the Puvirnituq prints donated by Margaret McGowan, Artsci’78, will be displayed at the Agnes in spring/summer 2019.

05 February 2018
Faculty of Education students at Agnes in fall 2017

Since beginning her role as Curatorial Assistant, Academic Outreach in September, Marla Dobson has arranged  custom art encounters for over 3000 Queen’s students, more than doubling such visits over last year’s tally. These activities range from curator-led tours and art-based study sessions to course assignments and special collaborations. In addition to regular visits from the Department of Art History and Art Conservation, the Agnes has recently hosted classes from Political Studies, the Department of Geography and Planning, Cultural Studies and History, to name a few. Marla is also developing creative  new programs for students in the Faculty of Health Sciences, the Faculty of Law, and the Smith School of Business.

Marla Dobson’s position piloting dedicated staff support for learning-through-art  initiatives has been made possible by a gift of the Ballymenagh Foundation.

08 January 2018
Exterior facade of Agnes Etherington Art Centre

In recognition of the Agnes’s programming excellence in contemporary art, the Canada Council for the Arts has awarded the gallery a significant increase in support over the 3-year funding cycle of the Engage and Sustain program under Council’s New Funding Model. Our annual allocation will rise from $105, 000 to $200,00, extending our capacity to bring creative modes of presentation and interpretation to the work of artists, and to develop inventive forms of participation.

Gallery Director Jan Allen responded to the news, saying, “I’m grateful to the Canada Council for embracing our vision, and I offer my heartfelt congratulations and thanks to Curator of Contemporary Art Sunny Kerr and the entire staff team for the remarkable achievements that have made this possible. Such an increase is a tremendous affirmation of the quality of our contemporary art programs and our team’s capacity to work astutely, imaginatively and responsively with artists and communities. We’re excited about the new possibilities opened by this additional support, and eager to bring these to life.”

18 December 2017

Unknown maker, Mittens, no date, deerskin, velvet, flannelette, silk, ribbon and cotton (M77-043a-b)

The Agnes is delighted to announce that we have received a generous contribution from the Community Foundation for Kingston & Area to support our project: Listening to Our Communities: Storytelling through the Arts. This project addresses the need to directly listen, respond, and provide creative resources to our immediate communities in Katarokwi/Kingston areas, most especially Indigenous youth. In partnership with Four Directions Aboriginal Student Centre, the Agnes will facilitate a series of after-school artmaking sessions for Indigenous youth to the tell their stories and engage with artist mentors through the lens of Kent Monkman’s exhibition: Shame and Prejudice: A Story of Resilience.

27 November 2017
Virtual tour view of the exhibition The Golden USB: Richard Ibghy and Marilou Lemmens

The videos in the Richard Ibghy and Marilou Lemmens exhibition can be viewed as part of the virtual walk-through. You’ll want to see the in-gallery show to experience the real-time magic of the intermingling sonic environment of The Golden USB. But, you’ll appreciate this online access too, which gives you more time to contemplate the understated aesthetic control these artists bring to their project.

21 November 2017
Docent working with students in the Studio

Elementary school children visited the Agnes last week for the “A Space Within” program. Students in Grades 1–3 from Truedell Public School, Central Public School, Storrington Public School, and Winston Churchill Public School explored cultural identity through domestic interiors in the exhibition At Home: The Interior in Canadian Art.

In this 90-minute program, students spent time in the At Home exhibition and in the Studio. In the gallery, we introduced aspects of Canadian history and cultural diversity through the depicted interior spaces of various peoples, traditions and times. In the Studio, they explored block printmaking techniques while creating a unique print on fabric squares. Each square will be pieced together to form a final collaborative classroom quilt.

20 November 2017

Ciara Phillips introducing her exhibition.

The Ontario Association of Art Galleries (OAAG) Award winners will be announced on 27 November 2017: you can join us for this celebration of high achievement in presentation of visual art in Ontario! For details, see

Agnes is shortlisted for awards in these categories:

Exhibition of the Year, $20,000+ (Monographic)
Ciara Phillips: Comrade Objects

Innovation in a Collections-Based Exhibition
The hold: studies in the contemporary collection

Exhibition Catalogue  Design
Lauren Wickware, Graphic Designer, for
Brendan Fernandes: Lost Bodies

07 November 2017
Marla Dobson

In her new role as Curatorial Assistant, Academic Outreach, Marla Dobson has been facilitating course-specific access to Agnes exhibitions and collections, helping faculty incorporate object-based learning in their courses. She is also researching and developing new opportunities for experiential learning and student engagement. Presently completing a PhD in art history at Queen’s, Marla has worked in the museum sector for more than ten years, both in Canada and abroad.

This one-year “pilot” position is made possible through a gift of the Ballymenagh Foundation.

06 November 2017
William Hale, Portrait of John Smith, around 1842, oil on canvas. Gift of Grace Thon and Family, 2008 (51-008), conservation treatment completed in 2009 by Amanda Gray for Agnes Etherington Art Centre

John L Russell and Gerald Brenner Fund Surpasses Goal

We are thrilled to announce that, thanks to the generosity of over 50 donors, we have surpassed the $50,000 fundraising goal for the John L Russell and Gerald Brenner Fund, the threshold required to endow the fund. An endowed Fund not only creates an enduring, active legacy in memory of John L. Russell and Gerald Brenner, it also provides much-needed ongoing support for conservation treatment of Canadian art. The Fund will generate enough income to support the restoration of one to two paintings, sculptures, drawings or artifacts each year in perpetuity. A heartfelt thank you to all who contributed. We continue to be amazed by the possibilities that are realized through philanthropy.

The Agnes will continue to accept donations to the John L Russell and Gerald Brenner Fund. To make a gift click here.

12 October 2017
Art professor André Biéler and his students stand at the entrance of the new Agnes Etherington Art Centre in the summer of 1958. (Queen's University Archives)

Dive into The Agnes in Six Decades, our new online chronology capturing the people, landmark events, exhibitions, collections and turning points from 1957 to the present. Launched at our 12 October Gala, this will be an ongoing resource and record.

The chronology has been compiled by Chief Curator/Curator of Canadian Historical Art Alicia Boutilier, Curatorial Research Assistant Sarah Dougherty, and Public Programs Manager Pat Sullivan, with assistance from Sarah Dalglish, Public Programs volunteer. All images are from the Agnes Etherington Art Centre and Queen’s University Archives.

This initiative is generously funded by the George Taylor Richardson Memorial Fund, Queen’s University.

30 August 2017

Photo: Tim Forbes

Carina Magazzeni
Curatorial Assistant, Contemporary Art

Carina Magazzeni has been supporting contemporary programs by assisting with grant writing, research, development and coordination of an artist residency and exhibitions, ancillary programming and publications. A recent MA graduate from the Cultural Studies program at Queen’s University, Carina’s position is supported by the Young Canada Works at Building Careers in Heritage program.

Carina is an emerging curator, cultural worker and artist who has been interning, volunteering and working at the Agnes since arriving in Kingston in 2014. She was recently awarded the Queen’s University Marty Memorial Scholarship for independent curatorial research on Alternative Archives: Kingston’s Carceral Histories and Contemporary Realities, which will be activated at the Centre for Indigenous Research Creation this fall.

21 August 2017

Carl Beam, New World (#1, Columbus Suite), 1989. Purchase, Chancellor Richardson Memorial Fund, 1990 (33-013.01) Photo: Paul Litherland

Look for works by Carl Beam, Rebecca Belmore and Wally Dion featured in the Agnes Atrium. These powerful works from the Agnes collection variously address the natural environment, enduring spiritual values and the ravages of colonization.

14 August 2017

Photo: Tim Forbes

Caitlyn Picard
Textile Conservation Technician

Caitlyn Picard is working at the Agnes for the next year as the new Textile Conservation Technician. She is responsible for completing a full survey and risk and condition assessment of the Queen’s University Collection of Canadian Dress. Caitlyn will also digitize selected items for our online collections database, and rehouse objects, completing minor treatments as required. Her work will greatly enhance access to and research of our remarkable Collection of Canadian Dress, which numbers over 2500 objects, including dresses, shoes, fans, parasols, jackets, hats and much more.

Holding a graduate degree in Textile Conservation from the Centre for Textile Conservation at theUniversity of Glasgow, Scotland, Caitlyn is excited to apply her passion and skills for textile conservation at the Agnes.

The Textile Conservation Technician position is generously funded by Dr Isabel Bader. AgnesDirector Jan Allen points out, “We are thrilled to welcome Caitlyn to the Agnes! A full year of technical care and documentation will be of immense benefit to the collection, and her work will broaden research access to these rare holdings. I’m tremendously grateful to Isabel Bader for her sustained interest in and support for the care of  Queen’s Collection of Canadian Dress.”

Planning has begun for an exhibition drawn from this collection for presentation in 2019.

31 July 2017

Fire Road Bridge, over Vermilion River, Kootenay National Park, British Columbia, 1975. The Ian M. Collier Collection, Gift of Ian Collier, 2016 (59-017.59)

A flood of visitors have been arriving, and returning again with friends, to enjoy Road Trip: Across Canada with Alan C Collier. Curator Alicia Boutilier’s selection of paintings from the 2016 gift of the artist’s son Ian Collier is sparking fresh appreciation of Alan Collier’s artistic vision.

03 July 2017

Photo: Tim Forbes

Kyle Holleran
Visitor Services Assistant

Kyle Holleran joined us as Visitor Services Assistant a year ago. In this short time he has made a big difference, offering a warm welcome for visitors and handling a growing number of facility bookings. The Agnes is  a busy place, and Kyle Holleran, an ever gracious multi-tasker, ensures every visitor has a great experience.

Kyle is a Queen’s University alumnus (Drama ’15, Artist in Community Education ’16). He is also an emerging theatre artist and has acted in and directed performances in Kingston and Toronto.

07 June 2017

Otto Naumann, the leading name in Old Master paintings in North America, speaks at Grant Hall on Tuesday 6 June after receiving an honorary degree from Queen’s University.

From left to right: Jan Allen, Director of Agnes Etherington Art Centre; Otto Naumann; Stephanie Dickey, Professor and Bader Chair in Northern Baroque Art and Jacquelyn N. Coutré, Bader Curator / Researcher of European Art.

Dr Otto Naumann met with graduate students from Queen’s Department of Art History and Art Conservation in The Bader Gallery, generously offering insights into masterpieces in the exhibition “Alfred Bader Collects.”

Queen’s University conferred an honorary degree on Otto Naumann, in recognition of his distinguished contributions to the field of European art history. Dr Naumann is a renowned dealer of Old Master paintings, and a generous mentor and connoisseur. He has played a pivotal role in working with Drs Alfred and Isabel Bader to shape The Bader Collection at the Agnes.

Learn more here.

16 May 2017

Agnes staff welcomed Peg Dunnem as our new Program Coordinator on 1 May 2017.

Dunnem brings to the role seven years of experience as Curator of Education at Gallery Stratford in Stratford, ON. Following completion of a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Studio Art and Art History at Indiana University, she worked extensively in public art, art education and textile design in Chicago, Illinois. Her success in creating, leading and facilitating public programs has brought her an OAAG award nomination in education and a City of Stratford Woman of the Year in Arts nomination. Dunnem’s achievements in programming include initiating grant-funded opportunities for seniors, people with disabilities, youth and multicultural communities. In her role at the Agnes, she is excited about creating new opportunities for engaging with both the Queen’s and Kingston communities.

13 February 2017

Charles Frederick Gibson, The Royal Artillery Encampment at Kingston, around 1832, pencil and watercolour on paper. Purchase, Chancellor Richardson Memorial Fund, Susan M. Bazely, John Grenville, Brian S. Osborne and Joan M. Schwartz, 2016. Photo: © Christie’s Images

With the generous support of local donors and the Chancellor Richardson Memorial Fund, the Agnes Etherington Art Centre recently acquired, from a London UK auction, six important early views of Kingston by Major Charles Frederick Gibson (1808–1868). Gibson began his military career in 1825 with a commission as Ensign in the 66th Berkshire Regiment of Foot. In 1827, he sailed to North America and, for the next six years, was variously stationed in Upper and Lower Canada (today Ontario and Quebec). After serving in Ireland, Gibraltar and Malta, he returned to Canada in 1841 with his new bride, Barbara Fraser, to assume employment as Assistant Military Secretary in Halifax, where he was promoted to Captain. In 1845, Gibson departed for England, thus ending his stint in British North America.

Gibson produced numerous drawings and paintings while based in the UK, Mediterranean and Canada, including Kingston between 1831 and 1833. His artistic activity, however, is lesser known than that of military colleagues, such as James Pattison Cockburn (1779–1847) and Edward Charles Frome (1802–1890), both of whom were also roaming the streets of the garrison town at the same time. Until the recent auction, the bulk of Gibson’s production had been kept by descendants in Britain. Carefully rendered in pencil, ink and watercolour, his scenes offer a fresh perspective on Kingston’s changing townscape and military presence.

The Royal Artillery Encampment at Kingston, for example, presents a scene unique to existing artistic works from the period, with military tents dotting the east side of Point Henry overlooking Deadman Bay. This was possibly the camp created out of epidemic necessity in 1832. In Events of a Military Life, Walter Henry, surgeon to the forces, recounted that cholera had reached Kingston on 17 June. In order to isolate the disease, “a camp was formed on the hill near Fort Henry, and the barrack gates were shut.” Married military men and their families, in particular, were moved to healthier grounds.

07 December 2016

Ch. Bertrand, Day Dress  (detail), 1908–1912, silk. Gift of Edith van Straubenzee, 1963 (C63-561.2)

Sophia Zweifel, the new Isabel Bader Fellow in Textile Conservation and Research, holds graduate degrees in both Art History and Art Conservation from University College London, UK, and Queen’s University, Kingston, respectively. She also brings conservation experience with various public and private institutions, including the Canadian Conservation Institute (CCI); Conservation of Sculpture, Monuments and Objects (CMSO); McCord Museum; Canadian Museum of History; and Canadian Centre for Architecture. Most recently, Zweifel was part of a team at CCI that conserved Fannie Parlee’s 1860s Confederation Quilt, comprising leftover silk and velvet pieces from gowns fashioned for attendees of the Charlottetown Conference galas.

Gennifer Majors is the 2017 Isabel Bader Graduate Intern in Textile Conservation and Research. Majors has a Masters of Philosophy in Textile Conservation from the University of Glasgow, UK. For the past year, she was the Conservation Fellow at The George Washington University Museum and The Textile Museum, where she worked with the newly donated Bea Roberts collection of Chinese minority textiles. Majors has also interned in the Costume and Textile Conservation Department of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

The winning 2017 Fellowship project, proposed by Zweifel, combines social and material history with conservation treatment and analysis. Zweifel, with Majors’s assistance, will use the Queen’s University Collection of Canadian Dress at the Agnes to investigate cleaning and care practices of garments in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, highlighting a domestic history that is often overlooked. Techniques of textile conservation will be applied to analyze traces of those processes that remain on the objects. Prior to their collection by museums, many textiles have had a long history of extreme maintenance to keep them looking clean and new, as social constructs demanded. Recent conservation methodology, however, has come to accept and preserve signs of wear and soiling as part of a garment’s lived history. This project explores how current efforts to preserve these signs contest with historical efforts to remove them.

Knowledge gained about the collection during the fellowship and graduate internship will be disseminated through blog posts and other social media platforms. The residency of Sophia Zweifel and Gennifer Majors at Queen’s University will also provide students in the Master of Art Conservation Program with opportunities for learning and interaction in the field of textile conservation and study.

The Isabel Bader Fellowship and Graduate Internship in Textile Conservation and Research link two unique resources: the Queen’s University Collection of Canadian Dress at the Agnes Etherington Art Centre and the Master of Art Conservation, Canada’s only graduate degree in conservation theory and treatment.

05 December 2016

This book explores Canadian artist Brendan Fernandes’s mediation of dance and Western collections of African art. It extends his cross-disciplinary 2016 Agnes exhibition Brendan Fernandes: Lost Bodies, curated by Contemporary Art Curator Sunny Kerr, developed in partnership with the Textile Museum of Canada, and presented at the Agnes 9 January–10 April 2016. The publication includes essays by specialists in art performance, dance history and African art: Delinda Collier, Kevin D. Dumouchelle, Amanda Gilvin, Amanda Jane Graham, Erica P. Jones and Nat Trotman. The publication’s striking design was created by Lauren Wickware, Hamilton, in consultation with the artist. This exhibition is on view at the Textile Museum of Canada in Toronto until 19 March 2017.

Collection-based exhibitions are platforms for vital conversations. Lost Bodies brought artist Brendan Fernandes’s visual and choreographic work into dialogue with two of the country’s best collections of African art: The Justin and Elisabeth Lang Collection of African Art at the Agnes and the collection of the Textile Museum of Canada (TMC). Starting with the body as a place of knowing, Fernandes offered multiple points of connection that drew upon traditional costume, gestures of ballet and the choreographies of the vault. With this fresh approach to re-presenting African artifacts, he invoked a long-absent live-ness and reconsidered selections from both collections in a set of new video, print and spatial intercessions. Fernandes’s montage of classical dance and the collected object was concentrated around precise body language that raised questions about the visual and discursive habits that shape understandings of African art within Western museums. The exhibition Lost Bodies received the Ontario Association of Art Galleries’ 2016 Innovation in Collections-based Exhibitions Award.

Books can be purchased at the gallery, or call (613) 533.2190. Distributor:

ISBN 978-1-55339-493-8; 128 pages, $27

For more information, please contact Kate Yüksel, Administrative Coordinator, at (613) 533.2190 or

17 November 2016

For the Winter Season Launch in 2016, Brendan Fernandes mesmerized audiences with In Touch, a solo dance performed in the galleries by Lua Shayenne. Photo: Tim Forbes

Visitors enhance their experience of the exhibition The Artist Herself through the online component.

Screen shot from the award-winning interactive project designed by Studio Blackwell.

Jennifer Nicoll

The Ontario Association of Art Galleries (OAAG) has honoured the Agnes Etherington Art Centre with three major awards this year: Innovation in a Collections-Based Exhibition Award, Digital Project Award and Colleague of the Year Award. The Innovation in a Collections-Based Exhibition Award was given to Brendan Fernandes: Lost Bodies, a contemporary art project that sprang from the Justin and Elisabeth Lang Collection of African Art. The Digital Project Award for design was awarded to Studio Blackwell for the interactive and online component of The Artist Herself: Self-Portraits by Canadian Historical Women Artists. Jennifer Nicoll, Collections Manager and Exhibition Coordinator, was named Colleague of the Year. The winners of the 39th annual OAAG Awards were announced on Thursday, 17 November 2016 at the Gladstone Hotel in Toronto.

The OAAG Awards are annual, province-wide awards for artistic merit and excellence. They recognize excellence in exhibitions, publications, programs and community partnerships produced by Ontario’s public art galleries over the previous year.

Agnes Director Jan Allen reflected on this year’s Awards, “Such peer recognition of the quality of our work is a fantastic achievement. I’m completely delighted. These awards point to the success of the whole Agnes team; their ongoing enthusiasm, generous efforts and commitment to excellence are making an impact.”


The Agnes was recognized for the exhibition Brendan Fernandes: Lost Bodies, curated by Contemporary Art Curator Sunny Kerr, developed in partnership with the Textile Museum of Canada, and presented at the Agnes 9 January–10 April 2016. This exhibition is now on view at the Textile Museum of Canada in Toronto.

Collection-based exhibitions are platforms for vital conversations. Lost Bodies brought artist Brendan Fernandes’s visual and choreographic work into dialogue with two of the country’s best collections of African art: The Justin and Elisabeth Lang Collection of African Art at the Agnes and the collection of the Textile Museum of Canada (TMC). From these collections, Fernandes selected objects with origins in former French West Africa and reconsidered them in a set of new video, print and spatial intercessions. He explored their postcolonial dynamics through ballet—a form of courtly deference that itself became professionalized in colonial France. Drawing upon his background as a former dancer, Fernandes attempted to invoke the lived experiences lost to African objects by mixing the legacies of this pivotal colonial moment. By re-articulating museum display through classical dance, Fernandes’s intervention allowed works from the Lang and TMC collections to perform differently—sometimes positioned as looking subjects, as bodies of queer mash-up, or as the objects of long overdue deference. The exhibition galvanized large audiences and invited new forms of participation across disciplines and in the wider community, and was a site for rich dialogue about museums, audience and postcolonial ethics and aesthetics.


The Digital Project Award is a design prize awarded to Kelsey Blackwell and Jonathan Gallivan of Studio Blackwell, Toronto, for the interactive and online component of The Artist Herself: Self-Portraits by Canadian Historical Women Artists, co-curated by Alicia Boutilier and Tobi Bruce and co-produced by the Agnes Etherington Art Centre and the Art Gallery of Hamilton. Pat Sullivan, Public Programs Manager at the Agnes, and Alicia Boutilier compiled the interpretive material for the digital project. Visitors to The Artist Herself were invited to learn more about three works in the exhibition: Pauline Johnson’s Performance Costume, Lady Marie-Reine-Josephte Belleau’s Sentiment Album, and Marion Wilson’s and Margaret Frank’s Button Blankets. This interactive component remains available on the Agnes website today. Studio Blackwell created a gorgeous, fluid online space that sensitively expanded on the exhibition content, bringing life to the extraordinary material culture of this exhibition.


Through almost ten years at the Agnes Etherington Art Centre, Jennifer Nicoll has excelled in her dual role as Collections Manager and Exhibition Coordinator. While significantly advancing the storage rationalization and digitization of the Agnes collection of 16,000+ works, she has smoothly coordinated numerous loans, acquisitions and exhibitions. In addition, she has conscientiously and generously mentored future young professionals in the field of museum exhibitions and collections management. Under her guidance, students, interns and volunteers have gained hands-on experience in digitizing, inventorying, cataloguing, condition examining and re-housing collection and exhibition objects. This award recognizes Nicoll as an astute and thoughtful administrative powerhouse who always takes the time to further her professional knowledge, and to nurture and share with others.

07 October 2016

Agnes Director Jan Allen in front of the installation of Dave Kemp’s Data Collection. Photo: Tim Forbes

Detail view of Dave Kemp, Data Collection, 2009. Photographic installation; inkjet prints on Sintra, 28.9 x 40.3 cm (each of 101 parts). Gift of the artist, 2012 (55-008a-gggg)

Wally Dion, Seated Thunderbird, 2015. Circuit boards on plywood, nails, acrylic medium and pigment. 104 x 122 x 5.7 cm. Purchase, Art Centre Acquisitions Trust, 2015 (58-011)

On view in the Atrium through 30 April 2017

In conjunction with Queen’s University’s 175th anniversary and a cross-faculty series on Big Data (BD175), the Agnes presents two major art works that speak to the dataverse. Information about these pieces, which are drawn from the Agnes collection, may be found here.

Dave Kemp, Data Collection
This multi-part work from the Agnes collection by artist and Queen’s alumnus Dave Kemp (BSc ENG, 1997) complements the “Big Data 175” series of talks and events this fall and winter term. The piece probes individual attitudes to privacy through photo portraits of the wallet contents of 101 subjects. Each card represents a database, a striking and familiar mix of public/governmental and corporate caches.

Wally Dion, Seated Thunderbird
For artist Wally Dion (Saulteaux), the creation of an ancient sacred being from discarded computer processors reflects the renewal of enduring flows of power. Thunderbird takes on new forms for successive generations. His Thunderbird series is a reflection upon Indigenous systems of thought and their continuing relevance in the contemporary world.

20 September 2016

Emma Neale and Elaine MacKay discuss the Collection of Canadian Dress housed at the Agnes. Photo: Tim Forbes

2017 Isabel Bader Fellowship and Graduate Internship in Textile Conservation and Research

Experienced conservators and textile specialists are invited to submit proposals for the 2017 Isabel Bader Fellowship in Textile Conservation and Research. Recent graduates of conservation training programs are also encouraged to apply for the assisting position of Isabel Bader Graduate Internship in Textile Conservation and Research.

In existence since 2011, this exciting biennial program supports the study, care and treatment of Canadian historical costume and textiles. The Fellowship and Internship link two unique resources at Queen’s University: the textile collection (including the Queen’s University Collection of Canadian Dress) at the Agnes Etherington Art Centre, and the Master of Art Conservation Program, Canada’s only graduate degree in conservation theory and treatment.

Application Deadline: 28 October 2016. Click on the documents below for more information.

The Isabel Bader Fellowship in Textile Conservation and Research Call for Proposals
The Isabel Bader Graduate Internship in Textile Conservation and Research Call for Applications

14 July 2015

Christaodoulos Panayiotou’s work in Two Days After Forever.

Curator of Contemporary Art Sunny Kerr visited the 56th International Art Exhibition in Venice in June. The trip allowed him to research contemporary artists at an event that gathers the global contemporary art worlds into one dramatic setting.

Sunny’s favourite exhibition experience at this year’s Biennale, Slip of the Tongue, was curated by artist Danh Vō in collaboration with Caroline Bourgeois at Punta Della Dogana / Francois Pinault Foundation. Vō’s signature exquisitely sensitive approach to space made this installation a stand out. Another highlight of this exhibition was meeting the Pinault Foundation’s Head of Exhibitions, Marco Ferraris, along with instructor Julie Hollenbach and her class of Queen’s students studying in Venice in Art History 380 (Venice and Its Biennale). Sunny presented a talk to the Venice Summer School students on what curating entails and his role at the Agnes, and, after visiting the Biennale’s main pavilion with the class, led a discussion about interpretations of the show and the intentions of Biennale curator, Okwui Enwezor.

Among other highlights, Sunny was drawn to the work 2008 by Christaodoulos Panayiotou in his Cypress Pavilion solo show titled Two Days After Forever featuring shredded Cypriot pounds acquired when Cyprus joined the Eurozone. In the tradition of artists referring to the Biennale’s host city, Panayiotou also showed handmade shoes created from fake designer handbags sold on the streets of Venice.

15 June 2015

Mike Bayne, White Building, 2007, oil on masonite panel.  Purchase, Donald Murray Shepherd Bequest Fund, 2012 (55-002) Photo: Bernard Clark

In an exciting step extending access to the rich collections of the Agnes, the first phase of the Agnes Online Collections Initiative is now available for browsing and searching. Over the past six months, with the help of a Development Grant through the Elizabeth L. Gordon Art Program (through the Ontario Arts Foundation), a small team led by Collections Manager Jennifer Nicoll prepared images and documentation for nearly 2500 works of art to create an accessible virtual vault of art treasures.

Gallery Director Jan Allen explained the drive to create an enduring online repository, “Art museums today are embracing public demand and interest in exploring collections virtually, and the Agnes is no exception. We’re eager to share our extraordinary collections, to make them available locally and globally to everyone with access to the internet. This initiative builds on past efforts, and extends and synthesizes these in a major upgrade to our new web platform”

In this first phase of an ambitious digitization program, the team focused on recently acquired and high-demand works. Featured material includes the gallery’s renowned collections of Canadian and European historical art, contemporary art, and African Art. All works acquired in the past decade are presented, as well as important Canadian artworks acquired through significant donations by Ruth Soloway, and Ayala and Samuel Zacks, and major contemporary art purchases made with the support of the Canada Council for the Arts Acquisition grant and Queen’s University’s Chancellor Richardson Memorial Fund, established to further the study of Canada. Signature items from the Historical Quilt Collection and the Queen’s University Collection of Canadian dress have been added.

Jennifer Nicoll points out another benefit of posting complete and accessible records for rare art and artifacts: “Digitization contributes to the preservation of the artworks by reducing the need for handling and resulting wear and tear when these objects are examined. By offering easily retrievable information and high quality images, this initiative has improved our capacity to use technology to further enhance and support our collection and programs.”

The Agnes on-line searchable collections attract many users, from members of the general public to artists, art historians, researchers and scholars from varied fields, teachers, students of any age, museum professionals and collecting institutions. Jan Allen affirms, “This work is crucial to the gallery’s vitality. There is a tremendous potential here. As resources are found, we will push forward to make our collections, and our research and artistic contributions fully available online.”

14 May 2015

Dr Jacquelyn N. Coutré

Dr Jacquelyn N. Coutré arrived at Queen’s University in Kingston last month to complete the Agnes Etherington Art Centre team of curatorial specialists. Gallery director Jan Allen emphasized, “We’re extremely glad to welcome Jacquelyn Coutré to Queen’s as Bader Curator/Researcher of European Art: she is an excellent scholar and a beautiful fit for cultivating fresh understandings of The Bader Collection.”

An expert in the art of Jan Lievens, Dr Coutré will work with the Agnes’s celebrated holdings of European art, which features the world’s largest concentration of paintings by this celebrated artist of the Dutch Golden Age. She holds a PhD from New York University and brings to the gallery thirteen years of museum experience garnered at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; and, most recently, the Indianapolis Museum of Art. An accomplished researcher and interpreter of the art of the Baroque period, Dr Coutré is particularly interested in the ways in which works of art reflect the social, political and economic realities of their time.

Dr Coutré is already busy with the collection, familiarizing herself with its character and researching potential acquisitions. She reflects on the possibilities before her, saying, “The Agnes offers an outstanding opportunity to produce intellectually robust exhibitions, publications, and dialogues focusing on European historical painting. The Bader Collection—Queen’s is the only institution in Canada with two Rembrandt paintings—has incredible potential to intensify student engagement with art. As an extension of this work, I’m eager to explore partnerships with other institutions in Canada and internationally to develop the profile of this singular group of paintings in relationship to other fine collections.”

The Bader Collection comprises over 200 paintings spanning the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries, with a focus on Dutch and Flemish paintings of the Baroque era, including two character study paintings by Rembrandt. The collection, donated to Queen’s University by philanthropists Dr Alfred Bader and Dr Isabel Bader over the past four decades, includes paintings by Rembrandt’s associate Jan Lievens and major works by such important Rembrandt pupils as Govert Flinck, Willem Drost and Aert de Gelder. The quality of these works has brought international renown to the Agnes Etherington Art Centre. Paintings by El Greco, Dosso Dossi, Luca Giordano, Georg Pencz and Sebastien Bourdon represent other European schools at a similarly significant level.

13 May 2015

Creating an ArtZone: The Community Foundation for Kingston and Area supports innovative program for teens at the Agnes

The Community Foundation for Kingston and Area (CFKA) has awarded a grant to ArtZone, a new program for teens that will be offered at the Agnes Etherington Art Centre in the fall of 2015. ArtZone is a free drop-in after-school art program for youth ages 14–18 being offered in the beautiful André Biéler Studio of the Agnes. Kingston artists will lead this program for artistically-inclined youth who want to explore materials and ideas in-depth in a setting that will encourage creative expression and build skills. This ten-week pilot program will run from September to December 2015, on Thursdays, 3 to 5 pm.

Agnes Director Jan Allen describes the origins of the project, “In keeping with Kingston’s Youth Strategy, we realized we could address youth interests and improve access to our programs by creating a free youth-friendly space at the gallery. The CFKA grant will assist us in paying professional artists to facilitate art projects in the studio, subsidize teens’ travel to the Agnes, and provide materials and light refreshments in a welcoming, inspiring milieu.”

“This is a new format for the Agnes, and offers outreach to Kingston’s teens in an informal open structure that suits their leisure-time needs,” said Pat Sullivan, Public Programs Manager, who developed the project with input from artists, educators and youth. “It will be wonderful to see more youth engaging with art in our exhibitions, and exploring new materials and techniques in the studio. We are very grateful to the CFKA for its support.”

The grant of $3489 is awarded through the Edward Ratcliffe Fund and the Marla and Gregg Rosen Fund.

24 March 2015

Elaine MacKay and Emma Neale discuss a piece in the Collection of Canadian Dress with a Master of Art Conservation student. Photo: Tim Forbes

Emma Neale and Elaine MacKay examine a piece in the Collection of Canadian Dress housed at the Agnes. Photo: Tim Forbes

Emma Neale, Elaine MacKay and Curator of Canadian Historical Art, Alicia Boutilier discuss the Collection of Canadian Dress housed at the Agnes. Photo: Tim Forbes

Elaine MacKay with a piece from the Collection of Canadian Dress housed at the Agnes. Photo: Tim Forbes

Dress historian Elaine MacKay and textile conservator Emma Neale have been uncovering the lives of nineteenth-century Kingston women through the fashions they wore. Photo: Tim Forbes

Dress historian Elaine MacKay and textile conservator Emma Neale have been discovering the lives of nineteenth-century Kingston women through the fashions they wore. Until April, MacKay and Neale are in residence at the Agnes Etherington Art Centre and in Queen’s Art Conservation Program as the 2015 Isabel Bader Fellow and Intern in Textile Conservation and Research. A gown worn by Laura Roche at her coming out party; Eliza Gordon’s new dress as she embarked on a new chapter of her life wedded to Rev. D. M. Gordon; and an outfit owned by Mrs. W. R. P. Bridger, wife of a Royal Military College professor: these are the figures that have been populating MacKay’s in-depth research. “Clothing is fundamental to a woman’s self-image,” she says, and can be used to read biography. But MacKay is not just interested in the dress alone; she is investigating the whole ensemble, accessories and all, for a more complete understanding of the messages that clothing conveys at different stages in a woman’s life.

In her work, MacKay is ably assisted by Neale, who brings her high-level conservation training to bear in the meticulous reconstruction, repair and cleaning of the historical garments. At the final stage, the ensembles are brought back to life through professional mounting. This focused project not only raises the profile of the Queen’s University Collection of Canadian Dress housed at the Agnes, but also deepens understanding of Canada’s sartorial history and material culture.

The Isabel Bader Fellowship and Internship in Textile Conservation and Research are awarded to two successful applicants every two years and generously sponsored by Dr Isabel Bader.

21 January 2015

The Agnes Etherington Art Centre at Queen’s partners with Kingston’s independent cinema, The Screening Room, to present the award-winning documentary The New Rijksmuseum in a one-time-only showing on Wednesday 28 January, at 6 pm. This engrossing film follows the decade-long story of the refurbishment of Amsterdam’s beloved national museum, home to many paintings by the renowned Dutch master Rembrandt van Rijn. Director Oeke Hoogendijk captures the travails of directors, curators, press officers, architects and government officials as they struggle to complete the visionary project. Even militant Amsterdam cyclists, fighting to maintain their favoured route through the 19th-century building’s venerable arches, have their say. In spite of many bureaucratic setbacks, chronicled with sensitivity and humour in this engaging film, the museum re-opened in the spring of 2013, and art-lovers are again pouring in to admire the creations of the Dutch Golden Age.

The New Rijksmuseum is the 2014 winner of the Beeld en Geluid IDFA Award for Dutch Documentary, whose jurors praised it as “A wonderful portrait that lets art conquer the mechanics of adversity.”

Dr Stephanie S Dickey, Bader Chair in Northern Baroque Art, Art History Program, Queen’s University, will give a short introduction to the film, which is presented in conjunction with the Agnes exhibition Artists in Amsterdam.

The documentary is 216 minutes long, so will be shown with an intermission. Beer and wine will be available for this screening. $10 general admission / $8 seniors & students. Advance tickets can be purchased at: The Screening Room is located at 120 Princess Street, Kingston.

To read reviews of the film, please see

For more information, please contact Pat Sullivan at (613) 533.2190 or


14 January 2015

Don Maynard, Smoke Signal #1, 2004, copper and aluminum. Gift of artist, 2007 (50-023)

Rebecca Soudant, A Tapestry of Birth, 2011, cotton and silk embroidery thread, marker and acrylic on cotton. Gift of Rebecca Soudant and Jim McCullough, 2011 (54-016)

Two accomplished artists in the region, Don Maynard and Rebecca Soudant, will speak at the Agnes Etherington Art Centre at Queen’s on Sunday, 25 January, from 2 to 3 pm. Each will present a short slide presentation on their current projects, followed by talks on their works on view in the exhibition I hope humanity . . .: Maynard’s dramatic sculpture Smoke Signal #1 and Soudant’s exquisite A Tapestry of Birth. Admission for this special event is free, and light refreshments will follow.

Rebecca Soudant is a Kingston-based artist who teaches Visual Arts at Smiths Falls Collegiate. She has created works in paint, print, fabric and metal; for the last four years, embroidery has been the focus of her practice. She is currently working on a parenting tapestry and another about Kingston community gardens.

Recently re-located to Picton, Ontario, Don Maynard is working on two public art commissions: Wave for the City of Toronto and Stand of Birch for the Cyrville Station of the Ottawa Light Rail Transit Line. Previous public art works include Archive and Fallen Star for the City of Ottawa. The Agnes featured his solo exhibition, Franken Forest, in 2010. Maynard has upcoming exhibitions at the Art Gallery of Mississauga and at Newzones Gallery of Contemporary Art in Calgary.

Programs for I hope humanity . . . are supported by the Community Foundation for Kingston and Area. For more information, please contact Pat Sullivan at (613) 533.2190 or

10 December 2014

Pat Sullivan, Public Programs Manager, discusses a work in I hope humanity . . . with grade 3 and 4 students.

Grade 6/7 students use tinfoil to make facial moulds in a mask-making project after looking at African art.

The Agnes played host to two elementary classes last fall as part of Beyond Classrooms Kingston. A Grade 6–7 class from Holy Name Catholic School and a Grade 3–4 class from Mother Teresa Catholic School each spent a week based in the André Biéler Studio. The teachers used our exhibitions as a springboard for collaborative and inquiry-based learning in a range of subjects from art to mathematics.

03 October 2014

In a new partnership with Kingston’s education community, the Agnes Etherington Art Centre at Queen’s has been chosen as a host site for three local elementary classes in the Beyond Classrooms program that brings teachers and their students into the community for a week-long learning experience. While teaching their regular curriculum, teachers will use exhibitions and gallery resources as a springboard for collaborative and inquiry-based learning.

The first session takes place during the week of 6–10 October, when Dianne LaFortune and her Grade 6–7 class from Holy Name Catholic School arrive. Later in the month, Anthony Cox, from Mother Teresa Catholic School, will be at the Agnes with his Grade 3–4 class, and, in May 2015, Randy Archer will bring his Grade 7–8 class, also from Holy Name Catholic School. Each class will be based in the light-filled André Biéler Studio, with frequent forays into the adjacent exhibitions to learn about the works of art and the nature of a public art gallery. Students will create art, fill their journals and speak with Agnes staff about their work.

“I’m thrilled that Beyond Classrooms has reached Kingston,” said Pat Sullivan, Public Programs Manager. “I’ve been aware of this program since its beginning as Open Minds in Calgary in the early 1990s. It offers a wonderful enriching experience for students. I commend Linda Lamoureux, the local Coordinator, for her efforts in organizing this exceptional opportunity with the School Boards and teachers.” In Kingston, Beyond Classrooms is a collaborative initiative of the Limestone District and the Algonquin and Lakeshore District School Boards through the Kingston Area Museums, Historical Sites and Galleries organization.

For more information, see, or contact Pat Sullivan at (613) 533.2190 or

04 September 2014

The Agnes Etherington Art Centre and Master of Art Conservation Program, Queen’s University, are pleased to announce M. Elaine MacKay as the recipient of the 2015 Isabel Bader Fellowship in Textile Conservation and Research. She will be in-residence at Queen’s through the winter 2015 semester. See details.


03 September 2014

Problems That Arise from Continually Confusing Left & Right
Opening Reception: 13 September 3:30­­–5 pm

On Saturday, 13 September, all are invited to the Agnes for a reception celebrating the completion of this dramatic work in the Atrium, and will have the opportunity to meet artist Derek Sullivan, who will be onsite for the duration, and the artists who assisted him in creating the work. Refreshments will be provided.

This new commission builds upon the Art Centre’s acquisition last year of Derek Sullivan’s piece #32, Le poeme de l’angle droit, Corridor, Folding Stair, an accent misstep. Problems That Arise from Continually Confusing Left & Right retains Sullivan’s careful handmade method and conceptual rigor but also signals a shift in approach, through its monumental scale and attention to the site of the artwork. Occupying a space above the gallery’s reception desk that might normally be used for wayfinding, Sullivan’s drawing raises the problem of mixing up directions from our fluctuating “central” position. “The title,” says Sullivan, “refers to my own difficulty of remembering left and right (it has got me into many troubles over the years).” This large-scale drawing is slated to remain on view for two years. Subsequent versions of Problems… will be composed using a template and a set of instructions provided by the artist for this conceptual in situ work.

Derek Sullivan is a Toronto-based artist whose work has been exhibited in solo and group exhibitions internationally at institutions including Galerie Emmanuel Hervé, Paris and the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa. Sullivan was twice recognized on the Sobey Art Award Ontario Long List and, in 2012, on the Sobey Art Award Short List.

Thanks are extended to the following artists for their generous assistance in the creation of the drawing: Jane Derby, Erin Milliken, Sara Perosa, Joan Scaglione, Anna Soper, and Aida Sulcs.

BONUS EVENT: Come early for Derek Sullivan’s launch to participate in the ArtsVote Kingston campaign launch at 2:30 to 3:30 pm, organized by the Advocacy Committee of the Kingston Arts Council in preparation for the upcoming municipal election.

This commission was made possible by Canada Council for the Arts Acquisition Grants program and the Donald Murray Shepherd Bequest, Queen’s University, 2014

Image: Derek Sullivan, Problems That Arise from Continually Confusing Left & Right (in progress), 2014, coloured pencil on wall, (57-012).

For further information contact Emily Marshall at

28 August 2014

Homecoming Weekend
Friday–Sunday, 17–19 October

The Agnes offers free admission to alumni over Homecoming Weekend, with free guided tours at 11 am on Saturday and Sunday. We are open 10 am–4:30 pm on Friday, with extended hours (10 am–5 pm) on Saturday and Sunday.

Musée canadien des civilisations, Archives institutionnelles = Canadian Museum of Civilization, Institutional archives
28 August 2014

Dr. Norman Vorano has been appointed Queen’s National Scholar (QNS) in Indigenous visual and material cultures of the Americas in an innovative joint appointment to the Department of Art and the Agnes Etherington Art Centre. Beginning this fall, he will integrate teaching in art history with the collections and programs of the gallery, animating these while cultivating mutually beneficial links with Indigenous communities, and across disciplines. His expertise promises to transform the way our audiences experience Indigenous art.

Holding a PhD from the University of Rochester, Vorano has established an impressive record of fieldwork, research, teaching and curatorial achievement. In the study of Inuit art, he is acknowledged as a leading scholar of his generation. Prior to arriving at Queen’s in August, he led major research projects resulting in scholarly publications, exhibitions and public programs as Curator of Contemporary Inuit Art at the Canadian Museum of History (formerly the Canadian Museum of Civilization).

27 August 2014

In June we welcomed Sunny Kerr, an artist, educator, writer and curator, to the Agnes. A master of inventive collaboration and of stretching models of public engagement, he describes his curatorial vision and approach to the presentation of contemporary art as “responsive, flexible and rhizomatic.” Kerr brings to his role degrees from Queen’s University, Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, and York University. A PhD candidate in Cultural Studies at Queen’s, he has taught at Ontario College of Art and Design University, the University of Toronto and Queen’s. While in Toronto, Kerr animated the U of T Art Centre as an education coordinator and curated artists’ projects with WayUpWayDown. Since arriving in Kingston in 2010, he helped found Corridor Culture, served on the Board of Modern Fuel Artist-run Centre, spearheaded the Princess Towers Notions Group and participated in the city’s hottest new collective, Agitated Plover Salon. In 2013, he curated the Agnes exhibition, Déjà déjà visité: Mike Bayne, Jocelyn Purdie, Maayke Schurer.