Originally opened in 1975 and formerly called the Macdonald Block Gallery in the heart of Queen’s Park, the seat of the Government of Ontario in Toronto, Canada. Due to fiscal restraints, the gallery was directed to close, but due to the efforts of Canada’s legacy art societies – Ontario Society of Artists (OSA), Sculptors Society of Canada (SSC), the Canadian Society of Painters in Watercolour (CSPWC), the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts (RCA), and the Ontario Crafts Council, the gallery re-opened as an independent not for profit organization in 1985. The gallery was named the John B. Aird Gallery in honour of the 23rd Lieutenant Governor of Ontario (1980-1985) and his support for arts and culture.
The John B. Aird Gallery is one of the few remaining public art galleries in Toronto. For over 30 years we have been connecting people and ideas – offering a space for contemporary art to be displayed, discussed and enjoyed.
The Aird is a non profit, registered charity supporting artistic expression, public dialogue and lifelong learning. We believe visual culture inspires, engages and amplifies communities. Toronto’s arts and culture industry contributes over $11B to the city’s economy. We do our part to stimulate and support artists from a diverse range of backgrounds and disciplines. We provide the canvas for visual culture to be realized, explored and appreciated amongst those that love it most. We leave no one behind.
As a point of destination and home to Canada’s legacy art societies, we have featured thousands of artists from across Canada. We have provided exhibition space for the Ontario Society of Artist (OSA), Sculptors Society of Canada (SSC), and the Canadian Society of Painters in Watercolour (CSPWC). We look forward to continuing this journey and doing our part to enhance the quality of life and economic vitality of our country’s art community.
The gallery relocated to Artscape 906 Queen West in 2019 and will remain at this swing-space until renovations are completed at its original location in the Macdonald Block (at Bay Wellesley) in 2024-25.
The Aird is a generous, safe contemporary art exhibition space where visual culture can be shared and explored by an audience as diverse as its makers.
To fulfill its mandate, the Aird Gallery Board strives to encourage excellence in visual art; to provide an accessible exhibition space in downtown Toronto with professional curatorial standards for the presentation of work; to focus on the works of contemporary artists; to present a variety of media, disciplines and styles; and to provide opportunities for study and education in conjunction with the exhibitions.
The John B. Aird Gallery is a not for profit charitable organization that serves the public and the art community. As a charity, all of our events and activities go toward charitable causes.
Charity Business Number: 85850 5191 RR0001
Carla Garnet is the Director and Curator of the John B. Aird Gallery and the JOUEZ curator for the annual BIG on Bloor Festival of Arts and Culture in Toronto. She has worked as the curator at the Art Gallery of Peterborough (2010-2013), as a guest curator at Gallery Stratford (2009-2010), as an independent curator (1997-2010), and was the founder and director of Garnet Press Gallery (1984-97). Garnet holds an Associate Diploma from the Ontario College of Art and Design and a Masters Degree in Art History from York University. Garnet is interested in the politics of the art exhibition and its potential to function as a common—a public space for dialogue. Her curatorial area of interest engages with an exploration of work that presents the possibility of existing simultaneously in many tenses or occupying more than one subject position at once, or both as a way to open up space for greater empathy. For Garnet, an artwork’s significance is tied up with an ability to say what otherwise might be unsayable.
AIRD GALLERY BOARD
The Gallery is governed by a Volunteer Board of Directors. Board members are volunteers from the community and representatives from four art societies that exhibit at the Aird: the Canadian Society of Painters in Water Colour (CSPWC); the Ontario Society of Artists (OSA); the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts (RCA); the Sculptors Society of Canada (SSC). The Board directs the gallery and its operations and an Executive Director/Curator, appointed by the Board, works to achieve the aims of the gallery and manage day-to-day operations.
Jane Weninger, Acting President
Rhoda Payne (OSA)
Executive Administrative Assistant
The John B. Aird Gallery would like to recognize the contribution and support of our amazing interns and volunteers. We could not continue our mission without them!
Stanislav (Stas) Guzar