It has only been five years since the John and Maggie Mitchell Art Gallery (MAG) first opened its doors in Allard Hall, but you would never know it.

Although more than a third of its existence was logged during the pandemic, the MAG has held 38 exhibitions, welcomed 126 artists and eight guest curators, organized 86 public events, brought in almost 20,000 visitors and hosted 47 class visits. 

While Carolyn Jervis, the gallery’s director and curator, is proud of how MAG’s programming has supported meaningful conversations, relationships and community partnerships, her biggest point of pride is how the entire workings of the gallery have become a site of inquiry. 

“We’ve supported experimentation with curatorial methodologies, formed interdisciplinary partnerships, explored new ways of thinking about what supports artists need to participate meaningfully in exhibitions, pushed the envelope on what public art can look like and mean,” says Jervis. “And we’ve knit meaningful hands-on student opportunities into every aspect of what we do.”

On November 17, the gallery welcomed artists and guests to dream about what’s next. 

“We always emphasize engaging, participatory opportunities in our programming, and this event was no different,” says Jervis. “As we celebrated what we’ve accomplished over the past five years, we also invited community into the process of imagining what the next five years of the MAG should look like.”

Thinking about the future also means considering how MAG fits into Teaching Greatness, the university’s new strategic vision. 

“We are so proud of the mark the gallery has already made in only five years,” says Dr. Annette Trimbee, president and vice-chancellor. “We remain incredibly grateful for John and Maggie Mitchell’s contribution, and I’m excited to see the creative new ways MAG will grow its deep commitment to artists, our students and the vibrancy of our downtown.”

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