Published April 14, 2021

April 14, 2021 – Online 

As museums and galleries are becoming cultural hubs, they must work to attract new audiences. Public programming is becoming an increasingly important part of engagement and audience development. This workshop will explore recent programming trends, from engaging and activating existing collections to investigating new models such as dedicated performance programs and independent talks on broader cultural issues inspired by works and exhibitions, which can be used to deepen the experience. 

Art galleries and museums have been notorious for being spaces where you can look but cannot touch. Housing thousands of works behind glass, institutions have been focused on preservation and collecting rather than being a space for public engagement. How can institutions engage the public in a meaningful and impactful way? This workshop will answer the questions such as, what is the balance between collection-based vs. independent programming? How can broad thematics be used to create a seasonal approach to content, and create dynamic, multiple entry points for new audiences, such as using digital to enhance and increase public interaction with artworks from their collections.

Sessions included:

  • New Models of Engagement;
  • Making Links – Partnerships that Lead to Engagement;
  • Digital Outreach – Putting the Digital Engagement Framework in Practice;
  • Case Study with Art Etobicoke
  • Panel Discussion – What Does the Future of Programming Look Like.

Moderator: Devyani Saltzman, Writer, Curator and Former Director, Public Programming, AGO


  • Devyani Saltzman, Writer, Curator and Former Director, Public Programming, AGO
  • Alexis Boyle, Curator, Community Access, Ottawa Art Gallery
  • Josh Heuman, Curator of Education and Public Programs, Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery
  • Melissa Smith, Assistant Curator of Community Programs, Public Programming and Learning, Art Gallery of Ontario
  • Shyam Oberoi, Chief Digital Officer, Royal Ontario Museum 
  • Dr. Julie Nagam, Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Arts, Collaboration and Digital Media, Artistic Director of Nuit Blanche Toronto 2020/21, Director of aabijijiwan New Media Lab and Co-Director of Kishadigeh Collaborative Research Centre & Associate Professor at the University of Winnipeg 
  • Wendy Rading, Executive Director,  Arts Etobicoke 
  • Akshata Naik, Program & Gallery Manager, Arts Etobicoke

GOG gratefully acknowledges the funding contribution from the Museums Assistance Program with the Department of Canadian Heritage.