Macdonald Stewart Art Centre
The Art Gallery of Guelph, formerly the Macdonald Stewart Art Centre, is a public gallery and adjoining sculpture park in Guelph, on the corner of Gordon Street and College Avenue. The AGG has a permanent collection of over 9000 works which is a focus of research, publishing, educational programs, and touring exhibitions.
The AGG is a non-profit charitable organization with three sponsors: the University of Guelph, the City of Guelph, and the Upper Grand District School Board. As the principal public art gallery serving Guelph and the surrounding region, the Art Gallery of Guelph, formerly the Macdonald Stewart Art Centre, was founded as a new cultural institution to benefit the broad community. MSAC was established in 1978 through a provincial act as a non-profit charitable organization. When the gallery formally opened as a public art gallery on November 7, 1980, the University of Guelph curator, Judith Nasby, was appointed director and curator of the MSAC. Architect Raymond Moriyama renovated the historic 1904 school building to create a public art gallery meeting international standards. In 1983, the Donald Forster Sculpture Park was established on the 2.5 acre site adjacent to the building. It is the largest outdoor collection at an institution in Canada and has since grown to include 39 works, with an overall objective of 50, representing artists from across Canada. In 2016, the Art Gallery of Guelph appointed new leadership: Shauna McCabe became the gallery's Director on August 1, 2016.
The AGG is housed in a 31,000 square foot building comprising seven gallery spaces on two floors. There are three open-concept galleries on the main floor, including a central clerestory gallery. The second floor boasts three uniquely configured gallery spaces, as well as a lecture room, large-scale art storage, and an art studio.
The AGG undertakes contemporary exhibition programming featuring international and national artists as well as the curation of exhibitions highlighting the work of emerging to established regional artists. The Art Gallery of Guelph collection includes a large assortment of Canadian art, an expansive Inuit art collection and many other unique pieces. In 1926, the Ontario Agricultural College (affiliated with the University of Guelph since 1964) purchased a painting by Tom Thomson called The Drive (c. 1916), which marked the start of the collection and is now one of the gallery's most celebrated works. Today the permanent collection of over 9000 works features First Nations, Inuit, Canadian and international art.