Some TDSB art headed to AGO should hang in schools: Trustee

Pieces of the Toronto District School Board’s multimillion-dollar art collection are leaving home, but at least one trustee hopes they’ll be back for a visit.

“The [Art Gallery of Ontario] is a wonderful environment for us to have the artwork in, but it would be even nicer if we can actually have some of these artworks in the schools,” said Gary Crawford, Scarborough Southwest trustee and Ward 36 councillor-elect. “One of the things we’re looking at is a loan program where we would actually be able to loan some of these paintings out to schools.”

Any artwork valued over $10,000 was removed from Toronto schools and placed in a vault two years ago over security concerns.

“We realized we had some very expensive paintings that could easily disappear,” Crawford said.

There were also conservation concerns, especially with some of the older paintings that were not hanging in the proper environment.

Though Crawford’s plan to return some of the pricier art to the schools remain wishful thinking for the moment, the school board and the AGO are moving ahead with their new partnership.

“We’ve been to see the collection and we have our curatorial team making a selection of the works that will come on display,” said Kelly McKinley, director of education and public programming for the AGO.

The paintings will be displayed in the new Weston Family Learning Centre, scheduled to open next fall.

“This is an absolutely one-of-a-kind arrangement to bring a school board with an art collection together with a major art museum,” McKinley said. “It’s a wonderful opportunity to provide access to learning for students.”