Fonds LA.SC034 - Art Institute of Ontario fonds

Identity area

Reference code



Art Institute of Ontario fonds


  • 1959-1968 (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

27 cm of textual records and graphic material

Context area

Name of creator


Biographical history

Paul Bennett (1928-2014), curator and arts administrator, was the first Field Director / Adviser of the Art Institute of Ontario (1959-1964). He then became Director, serving until 1968.

Name of creator


Administrative history

The Art Institute of Ontario (AIO) was officially incorporated in 1951 to organize and circulate exhibitions, lectures, and instructional programmes throughout the province of Ontario with the help of its institutional members. The AIO’s founding members were the Art Gallery of Toronto (now Art Gallery of Ontario, the Art Gallery of Hamilton, the Art Gallery of London, Hart House, the London Public Library and Art Museum, the National Gallery of Canada, The Ontario Association of Architects, The Ontario Society of Artists, The Royal Ontario Museum, and The Willistead Art Gallery of Windsor. A proposal to form the AIO was originally put forward as early as September 1948 by the Art Gallery of Toronto, which had begun circulating exhibitions. However, funding was not formalized until 1951 when a grant from the Ontario Ministry of Education made it possible to sponsor an exhibition circulating throughout the province. In later years the AIO would also receive funding from the Atkinson foundation, Canada Council (since its founding in 1957), and the Province of Ontario Council for the Arts.

Harold C. Walker (President of the AGT from 1948-1950) originally served as the AIO’s Chairman while Martin Baldwin (Director of the AGT from 1948-1960) was its Director until 1964, when Paul Bennett took over the role (Baldwin stayed on as President). Bennett had previously been hired as the AIO’s first Field Director in 1959, serving as Director until the institute was absorbed into the AGO’s Extension Services in 1968.

Archival history

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Records were donated to the Art Gallery of Ontario by Paul Bennett ca. 1991.

Content and structure area

Scope and content

Fonds consists of Art Institute of Ontario records accumulated by Paul Bennett, in the course of his duties as Field Director / Adviser and later Director of the Art Institute of Ontario. Fonds includes Adviser’s service reports, minutes of annual meetings, director’s reports, funding briefs, and two scrapbooks documenting the activities of the AIO. Fonds is comprised of the following series: 1. Adviser’s service reports 2. Minutes, director’s reports and funding briefs 3. Scrapbooks

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling


No further accruals are expected.

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Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access

Open. Access to Special Collections is by appointment only. Please contact the reference desk for more information.

Conditions governing reproduction

Material in this fonds is in the public domain. Permission of the Art Gallery of Ontario is required for publication.

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Related units of description

Activities of the Art Institute of Ontario are documented in the archives of the Art Gallery of Ontario, particularly in the records of the Education and Extension departments.

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Notes area


Publications received with this fonds have been added to the collection of the E.P. Taylor Research Library & Archives. A list of these titles is available on request.

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Archivist's note

Prepared by Amy Marshall, 2004.

Uploaded and adapted by Nirvana Chainani, 2019.

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