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Image courtesy of the Ottawa Art Gallery.

Admission to the Ottawa Art Gallery is free on opening weekend—04.28.18 & 04.29.18

By Greggory Clark on April 24, 2018

Admission has always been free, but that’s beside the point. The Ottawa Art Gallery has undergone a massive expansion that is set to open to the public on Saturday, April 28.

Image courtesy of the Ottawa Art Gallery.

The new $38.8 million facility is located next to Arts Court, the gallery’s home since opening its doors for the first time in 1988. Now up to 55,000 square feet in size, the OAG is quadrupling its gallery space and gaining a café, art shop, studio space, as well as a multi-purpose programming space and stunning outdoor terraces.

On top of five levels for the OAG, the new building also includes a blackbox venue and studio classrooms for the University of Ottawa theatre department, a private hotel and condos.

Image courtesy of the Ottawa Art Gallery.

One of the new gallery spaces will hold the Firestone Collection of Canadian Art and the larger Spencerville Gallery will host shows such as the Àdisòkàmagan / Nous connaitre un peu nous mêmes / We’ll All Become Stories retrospective opening this weekend—OAG’s inaugural exhibition of historical art as well as contemporary and newly commissioned works, reflecting 6,500 years of art-making in and around present-day Ottawa.

“[Our inaugural exhibition] is the most extensive and multilayered exploration of the region’s art history and contemporary production to date,” says Alexandra Badzak, Director and CEO. With 193 works by 181 artists on display, it’s by far a landmark exhibition of unparalleled scale for Ottawa; a sign of the ambitious projects to come as we look past opening weekend and into the OAG’s future.

Image courtesy of the Ottawa Art Gallery.

In addition to the Spencerville Gallery and a permanent gallery for the Firestone Collection, the expansion includes changing galleries for touring exhibitions and Galerie Annexe, OAG’s commercial space showcasing works by regional artists.

Accessibility: The Ottawa Art Gallery is committed to providing a barrier-free environment. All entrances, galleries and venues are fully accessible and the OAG provides gender-neutral washrooms. Free childcare services are offered during opening receptions and from 3–7pm on Wednesdays.

Opening Weekend at the OAG

Admission is free on April 28 and all weekend long for visitors to explore our city’s new gallery:

Saturday, April 28

  • 11am: Inauguration @ OAG Lobby
  • 12–5pm: Tours every hour on the hour
  • 12–4pm: DJ JFUN @ Jackson Café
  • 12–3pm: Drop-in collaborative creation @ OAG Studio
  • 4–9pm: Free childcare for visitors
  • 7–10pm: Dance at Dusk @ Alma Duncan Salon

Sunday, April 29

  • 9am: Tai Chi on the Terrace @ BMO Skylounge
  • 10am–2pm: Family-friendly animation films @ Alma Duncan Salon
  • 10am–2pm: Make your own stop-motion animation @ OAG Studio
  • 10am–1pm: Meet the artists @ OAG Shop
  • 12–5pm: Tours every hour on the hour

The Ottawa Art Gallery (50 Mackenzie King Bridge) is set to open its new building to the public on Saturday, April 28. Visit for a full schedule and information about free opening weekend activities. Follow @OttawaArtGallery on Instagram and RSVP on Facebook