Art Gallery of Peterborough announces plans to celebrate its 50th anniversary

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Exterior of Art Gallery of Peterborough with rainbow - , photo credit: Art Gallery Exterior, c. 1992, photo attributed to Robert S. Hood

AGP logoThe Art Gallery of Peterborough marked its 50th anniversary on Friday, March 15, 2024 by announcing a lineup of events that will be held throughout the year to celebrate the founding of the Gallery in 1974.

In addition to preserving the past through its collection, the Art Gallery of Peterborough provides a space to tell stories and share ideas – it’s a special place where everyone is welcome, said Debby Keating, Board of Directors, Art Gallery of Peterborough.

“This is a chance for us to recognize and thank our community, our artists, our volunteers, our talented staff and our partners at the City of Peterborough who have been supporting the Art Gallery of Peterborough for 50 years,” Keating said. “The Art Gallery of Peterborough Board sees this year as an opportunity to recommit ourselves to the future of the gallery.”

The Art Gallery of Peterborough (AGP) received its Letters Patent from the Province of Ontario on March 15, 1974, incorporating the AGP as not-for-profit charitable organization “To establish an art gallery in the City of Peterborough to preserve, maintain, exhibit and display works of artistic interest.”

In 1977, the AGP’s Board expanded on these aims and objectives: “This gallery recognizes that, in a changing environment, its role is not static, but must be open to change; that it must reach out to its community; that it must be both a permanent institution and a ‘museum without walls’.”

For 50 years, the AGP has continued to showcase the extraordinary art produced by artists from within the community and beyond, offer enriching educational experiences for all ages and built a collection to reflect the vibrancy of the community and keep pace with emerging currents in the practice of contemporary art.


Mayor Jeff Leal congratulated the Art Gallery of Peterborough, including all the staff, volunteers and board members, who have contributed to making the Gallery an organization that reflects the talents of the Peterborough Region, inspires ideas and conversations about art, and is a leader within Peterborough’s exceptional community of cultural entities.


“Peterborough is a regional hub for the arts, with the Art Gallery of Peterborough at its foundation. There are countless artists and arts organizations that have benefited from the work and the presence of the Art Gallery of Peterborough – and our City benefits from the cultural impact that ripples through our community,” Leal said. “Thank you to the Art Gallery of Peterborough and I look forward to joining you as we mark the Gallery’s 50th anniversary this year.”


Join the Art Gallery of Peterborough as it marks its 50th anniversary

Current Exhibitions:   seams and strata

November 23, 2023 – March 17, 2024

Reflecting on 2024 being the Art Gallery of Peterborough’s 50th Anniversary year, this juried exhibition invited artists to submit original works of art that resonate with themes of legacy, archives, nostalgia, ghosts, memory, survival, and growth.


For Posterity: works from the Permanent Collection

February 17 – March 24, 2024

Gathering works from the gallery’s early acquisitions, For Posterity reflects important gifts from key supporters and past exhibitions of the Art Gallery of Peterborough. The works from these early acquisitions chart the path of a nascent and savvy institution, driven primarily by women, dedicated to the creation of something strong and stable. It is a gift to future generations.


Galleria Extravaganza: The Best Sale of the Last (Half) Century

Opening Event: April 5, 7:00pm – 9:30pm

Sale Continues: April 6 – 7, 11:00am – 5:00pm

This weekend event is inspired by a fundraising sale that was hosted annually by the dedicated group of volunteers who supported the Art Gallery of Peterborough through their first decades. In celebration of the gallery’s 50th anniversary, this sale will offer a collection of artful items donated by members and volunteers making this a great opportunity to find some treasures!


A selection of special items will be available through an Online Auction which begins Friday, March 22. Bidding closes Friday, April 7 at 9:00pm during the opening event. Browse the selection in the AGP’s Main Gallery all weekend as the in-person sale continues: April 6 – 7, from 11:00am through 5:00pm.


Proceeds from this sale will be directed to the Art Gallery of Peterborough’s Acquisition Fund from which artwork is purchased for the Permanent Collection. The AGP presents changing exhibitions curated from the Permanent Collection in dialogue with current exhibits throughout each year. See more about the Art Gallery of Peterborough’s Permanent Collection on their website:

50th Anniversary Celebration

Tuesday, August 20

McDonnel Street Community Centre

The Art Gallery of Peterborough has 50 years of accomplishments to celebrate and are hosting a gathering at the McDonnel Street Community Centre. Gallery Director, Celeste Scopelites invites the public to, “join us as we indulge in reminiscence and look towards our future. Stay tuned for more details but we can assure you, there will be cake!” 


Special guests will include founders and key members of our community who have made significant contributions the gallery and its ongoing successes. Scopelites writes, “Raise a glass and toast to the members of our founding institutions: the Women’s Art Association and the Canadian Federation of University Women, along with sponsors, City of Peterborough Officials, and other supporters as we thank them and celebrate their work.”


It’s All About ART Fundraising Auction

Saturday, October 26, 7:00 pm

The Venue

The annual fundraising auction, It’s All About ART, is an initiative of the Art Gallery of Peterborough’s Board of Directors. Each year they raise funds in support of the gallery’s outstanding exhibitions and education programs. In honour of the decade of the gallery’s origin they will be celebrating with a 70’s theme. AGP Director, Celeste Scopelites writes, “Get ready for bell bottoms, disco music, and some of the best art on offer all year.”


Upcoming Exhibitions: Exhibitions during the Art Gallery of Peterborough’s 50th anniversary are rooted in intergenerational dialogue, reflecting the AGP’s 50 years of commitment to contemporary artists and emerging practices. This Spring, the AGP will present work by two Peterborough based artists. Antoine Mountain’s Ets’ehchi’I: Traditional Dene Burial Practices opens with a special event on March 23rd from 2:00pm – 4:00pm. Stan Olthius’ Interconnected includes large-scale kinetic sculpture with dance performance and sound to explore relationality, duality, and exchange.

Kawartha Autumn Studio Tour – 40th Anniversary

September 28 – 29

The Kawartha Autumn Studio Tour is a two-day event that offers the public a unique opportunity to connect with local artists and makers from Peterborough and the Kawarthas, and to learn about their artistic practice with a behind-the-scenes look into the artist’s studio. “We do our best when we uplift the work of the incredible artists in our community,” gallery Director, Celeste Scopelites writes. She also notes that, "this season is the 40th Anniversary for the Kawartha Autumn Studio Tour. We have plans to create even more opportunities to support emerging artists, improve tour signage, and expand promotion. Help us make this annual event the best yet by supporting the artists of our region.”


Just for fun

The Art Gallery of Peterborough has dusted off their original logo and have made stickers, temporary tattoos and more! Keep an eye out for their retro logo as the Art Gallery of Peterborough celebrates their 50th anniversary throughout the year!