Art centre takes on a new name and attaches a promise to it: Art Gallery of Burlington, creativity will live there.

theartsBy Pepper Parr

May 25, 2014


It was an interesting week for the arts. The Arts and Cultural Collective got closer to what its mission will be while the Performing Arts Centre released its program for the 2014/15 season to more than acceptable comment.

Not to be outdone, the former Burlington Art Centre decided to go for a whole new look and re-branded themselves and will forever after be known as the Art Gallery of Burlington – AGB; the place where Creativity Lives.

AGB logo with colour graphic

The arch in the A is supposed to signify the Skyway bridge – sure – with art the view is always in the eye of the beholder.

The BAC, old acronym for the Burlington Arts Centre, made it a bit difficult for many people to figure out which was which.  While the BAC – oops, that’s  the AGB now, had a much stronger pedigree and “involved” more people, there was still the sense that the building on Lakeshore road needed a stronger look and an identity that made it stand out.

The BAC board put together a very strong presentation during the budget cycle and got the funding they needed to do the re-brand.  They brought in John Duff to do the work.

The new name reflects their identity as a centre for art and supporting artists in the  community and the evolution of the place as a multi-faceted gallery.  For the past several years, the gallery administrators have been working to increase the profile and quality of their exhibitions and promote their acclaimed collection of Canadian contemporary ceramics.  Today, they are positioned to host national and international exhibitions, tour their ceramics collection and further develop their award winning educational programs.

The Art Gallery of Burlington also brought in a new curator, Denis Longchamps, who uses the title Director of Programs, has some very clear ideas on the direction he feels the gallery should be going in.

The Art Gallery of Burlington has gone so far as to attach a promise to their brand – to embrace and celebrate creativity and integrate the gallery into the community at large.  Delivery on this promise includes the promotion of three key messages:

  1. Art Gallery  providing the highest quality, stimulating exhibitions and contemporary ceramics collection
  2. Programs   that embrace the qualities of creativity, inspiration and supporting artistic development
  3. Outreach  that takes the AGB beyond its brick and mortar and into the community with partner events, school programs, city initiatives and connecting through Art Etc Gallery Shop

The tag line, CREATIVITY Lives Here!  is the first example of how the Art Gallery of Burlington is going to define itself an operate.

In a letter to the membership President Ian Ross said: “We are increasing our investment in exhibitions, responding to emerging artists, celebrating our national-significant ceramics collection, enhancing creativity in our educational programs, and reaching throughout our community and forming new partnerships.”

Putting meat on the bones of that statement means that the AGB is committed to celebrating and promoting the innovative and imaginative elements in all that they do and in all that they are.  Creativity will be the foundation seen in – Programming – Education – Partnerships – Membership – Strategy.

Founded by a number of guilds, the Art Gallery of Burlington has come up with a way to end the confusion as to who they are – Performing Arts Centre and Burlington Art Centre – PAC or BAC was confusing, but it will take more than a new name to get the message across.

What the public has not seen is the strength, energy and vision of two new staff members who are adding to the strength of the team that was already in place.

Leslie Page who runs the educational side, Johnathan Smith who has built the ceramics collection into what it is today are now joined by Kim Varian, Director of Enterprise and Dennis Longchamps, Director of Programs.  This team is what will make the difference.

BAC aerialThe ceramics collection needs a home; a place where it can be properly and effectively displayed.  Right now it gets scattered about the gallery with hundreds of pieces stacked on shelves in a storeroom.

Many at city hall have wondered if the land the gallery sits on is the most effective use of that piece of property.  Heard aloud were the words: “great place for a high end condo” and indeed it would be.  Selling the site would free up some money to build the kind of location an art gallery needs to display its ceramics collection.

More on the new team members, the ceramics collection and where the Art Gallery of Burlington might take the city in a future article.


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1 comment to Art centre takes on a new name and attaches a promise to it: Art Gallery of Burlington, creativity will live there.

  • Joan

    I am very interested to see the outcome of new initiatives and programs with other partners. A new location? There is the Elizabeth St. bldg. or any of the spaces for sale downtown would be more central for everyone as the transit hub is there.