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The Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) in Toronto, Canada, is changing its admission policy to diversify its audience. Beginning May 25, the gallery will allow free admission to all visitors age 25 or below.
Furthermore, the gallery announced that it will stop charging additional fees to view special exhibitions beyond the museum’s permanent collection. A new price of 25 Canadian dollars (~$18.50) per ticket will grant access to all museum sections for individuals over 25.
Visitors can also choose to pay 35 Canadian dollars (~$26) for a new annual pass that gives them unlimited admission to the museum, including access to special exhibitions.
Stephan Jost, AGO’s director, told CBC that the museum’s current price point is “prohibitive for a certain segment of the community.” In addition to making the museum accessible to individuals from disadvantageous socio-economic backgrounds, the new admission policy aims at shaping the art consumption habits of people in their early 20s. “We know that people form their cultural choices for their life in their late teens and early 20s,” Jost said. “We want the AGO to be a habit. We want it just to be part of your normal life.”
The new admission plan is supported by 1.8 million Canadian dollars (~$1.34 million) in funds raised from individual and corporate donors, according to the museum. The plan will be tested for a year before a final decision is made.
The museum will celebrate the new admission policy with three days of activities including music concerts, workshops, and artist talks. Traditional AGO annual memberships will remain the same, beginning at 45 Canadian dollars (~$33) for students and 110 Canadian dollars (~$82) for individual adults.