We must hold the AGM accountable
The Art Gallery of Mississauga (AGM) has caused significant harm to individuals and communities.
This harm includes: mistreatment including harassment of BIPOC people, lack of leadership (including bad governance), conflicts of interest, lack of transparency/accountability, and pretending to care about marginalized communities in Mississauga (including BIPOC, 2SLGBTQ+, immigrant and refugee, and more).
They must be held accountable.
It is time for change.
This open letter was sparked by AGM’s former Community Activator who bravely shared what she faced while working at the AGM.
- Mistreatment of BIPOC people: Sharada and numerous others have documented their experiences of bullying, belittling, gaslighting, harassment and tokenism by current and former Board and Leadership.
- Lack of leadership (including bad governance): The Board of Directors is dysfunctional and currently operating contrary to its own bylaws; the Director role has been filled by white folks with self-interest, there has not been meaningful strategic planning or visioning.
- Conflicts of interest: Board and leadership has documented examples of conflicts of interest which have not been declared or addressed. This includes examples where there is financial or personal gain.
- Lack of transparency/accountability: Decision-making has not been transparent to staff or members. When issues have been raised on multiple occasions in the past, they have not been addressed – instead, silence and harm are the tactics.
- Pretending to care about marginalized communities in Mississauga: Board, leadership and white staff with decision-making power pay lip service while making oppressive comments to BIPOC artists, pushing out BIPOC staff, calling themselves allies, and undermining welcoming features of the AGM’s space (such as the all-gender washrooms).
Read Sharada Eswar’s post on the Stories page, copied from her original facebook post.
The AGM is currently a toxic workplace with a culture of fear.
The Art Gallery of Mississauga has refused to acknowledge and address the community’s ongoing concerns. Instead, the Gallery characterizes the emerging accounts, the truth telling, as a “smear campaign.”
From conversations Hold AGM Accountable has had with individuals who have asked to remain unnamed, this tactic of erasure and gaslighting is a normalized practice in the AGM’s work culture.
Given the consistency of this experience, we believe it is our duty to warn all potential visitors, collaborators, volunteers and staff that the AGM is a toxic workplace with a culture of fear.
Do you have a story about the AGM you’d like us to post?
If you have a story you’d like us to post, you can email us or share it anonymously via our Contact page.
Stories shared with us will be posted here.
If you’d like to submit anonymously: our Contact form does not require your email address, and you are welcome to use “Anonymous” as your name, or your relationship to the gallery, such as, “Artist,” “Former Staff,” “Workshop Participant,” etc.
Hold AGM Accountable is a movement of artists, community members, and organizers.