Gareth Bate

Artwork | News | Curatorial | Inspirations | CV | Bio | Writing | Press | Teaching | Get Free Updates | Contact

Do you find looking

at art intimidating?


Rebecca Bellmore, MoCA Toronto, Carl Beam, Ed Burtynsky, Charlotte Østergaard in the World of Threads Festival, and Käthe Kollwitz


Art World Untangled: Season 8

Fall 2018


I'll Be Your Guide

To The Toronto Art World.

  • Ever visited a museum and felt like you didn’t understand what you were looking at?

  • Is modern and contemporary art baffling to you?

  • Ever wished you could have people to discuss art with and ask questions?



I'm back for Fall 2018 with all new tours!

I hope you'll join me!


Seasons 1-7 had 1058 bookings!
Season 8 has 100 bookings so far!

Join a great group of people as we explore the amazing artworks in Toronto's museums and galleries.

My name's Gareth Bate. I'm a full time artist, curator and teacher of art history, drawing and painting. I'm knowledgable and experienced and very familiar with the local scene. I also love visiting museums and galleries!

I want art to make sense to you. Art should be accessible, understandable and relevant to the broader world. This is a non-judgemental environment and a zero artspeak zone. I have no time for art world snobs, or pretension.

Experience the art world with all the inspiration and none of the bullshit.

Art is for everyone.


“Gareth is the most amazing teacher I've had to date. He really brings his knowledge and passion into each class. He is an engaging teacher and his passion for art is contagious. He shares his thoughts on art but encourages you to think for yourself. His classes are creative, informative, quirky and fun. He loves to teach and wants to share everything he can about art with you. He is a skilled teacher and strives to make every student feel comfortable and welcome. It changed the way I see art. He is an intelligent, sensitive teacher with a great sense of humour.”
- Frances Cumberland




Art World Untangled trips
are for people who want to…

  • Learn about art in an unintimidating and friendly environment where your perspective is valued.
  • Join a fun group of people where you can have interesting discussions about art.
  • Become confident looking at art and interpreting it.
  • Experience art with a knowledgable guide.

If you want to take full advantage of the most exciting Toronto art shows this spring and summer this is perfect for you. Ask me anything.


“Changes? ‘Big time’! As a result of Gareth's courses I not only enrolled as a member at the AGO but I took to the road and explored Art museums in Boston, Washington D.C., New York City, Montreal and Ottawa. I never would have explored these great museums had I not enrolled in Gareth's course.”

- John McGoff.


Or you could miss out…

What most people do when feeling intimidated by art is to disengage or not even try. Or they get angry when art is challenging to their world view.

That’s a real shame.

I believe that art is the greatest thing we do as human beings. Encounters with art can be powerful, inspiring and sometimes even life changing. By not engaging with art you're missing out on some of the most compelling things that humans have made throughout history. With so many terrible things going on in the world, for me museums are a place of refuge, a kind of sacred space.



Here's what I find really sad…

  • Missing once in a lifetime exhibitions that have come to Toronto.
  • Feeling intimidated walking into art galleries.
  • Thinking art is a scam or impossible to decipher.
  • Wandering around museums not knowing which artworks matter and which don’t.


No art background - No problem.

You don’t have to know anything in advance about art. Just bring your enthusiasm and your own life experience. The intimidation many people feel around art is a failure of the art world and something I want to change.

You're NOT arriving as a blank slate and are quite capable of understanding it on some level.


“I believe I look at art far more differently than I did when I began taking the art history course and the museum classes. I now look at art for a longer period of time and now can really understand the various styles of each artist. I appreciate art far more now for it’s uniqueness and variances than I ever had before.” - Rachelle Bronfman.


It's time to stop ignoring Toronto.

In Toronto we generally ignore our own artists because we're always focused on other cities. We don't appreciate the amazing things we have right here. Toronto is filled with great exhibitions. This is especially true since crossing south of the border is less desirable.

When I go to shows I feel engaged with with the city. This is our culture.

Galleries are an excellent way to learn about what the artists of our time are creating. They have dedicated themselves to expressing the spirit of our age. Isn’t it important that we listen to what they're saying?


“What a wonderful experience! I really appreciated how organized you were and how you were also able to create space for the spontaneity of personal expression. I was also impressed with how you invited and validated the personal perspectives of everyone in the group. That's a really special quality. I've been raving about the experience to anyone who will listen.” - Christopher Lawley (Founder, StaffRoom Wellness)



Here's how the class works...

Get together with a group of people who love to look at art.

Each trip is a vigorous look at a section of a museum or temporary show. The class is usually two hours long with a maximum of 10 participants. It's a vastly different experience to spend a few hours in a show. We tend to walk through museums as if we can't wait to get out of there. In the permanent collections often the work is arranged with little sense of order, story or timeline. It’s confusing and hard to actually learn about the art.

Until now.

These trips are not a typical museum tour. You'll never be standing in front of a painting with me talking at you. This isn't a passive class. It's interactive. I'm interested in what YOU have to say. I visit the show the week before and plan a handout with questions. I let you wonder around on your own a bit and then we get back together to discuss the questions. I also create a slideshow on my laptop giving you the context so often missing from the show. This is hugely valuable and adds so much to the experience. Exhibitions assume the audience knows art history in advance - I don't make that assumption.

We often talk about:
  • How to interpret the imagery.
  • The evolution of the work and how it was made.
  • The artists's life story and their influences.
  • The social and historical context.
  • The curatorial vision of the exhibition.


"Gareth values the ideas of his students. We were asked to look at paintings without reading descriptors until after we had explored the work on our own. Gareth always makes us feel as if we have something worthwhile to offer and just because we are not artists or art critics ourselves, what we think has value. I really liked the open ended questions Gareth provided to help us look more deeply at a painting. The questions also provided a jumping off point for group discussion. He clearly planned each visit before hand with care and insight." - Wendy Ryerson



About Me

My name is Gareth Bate and I’m a full time artist, curator and art teacher. I work in painting, installation and photography. I've been asked if everything I do revolves around art and the answer is pretty much yes! I've travelled extensively and visited all the major museums in London, Paris, New York, Washington DC, Boston, Montreal and Cape Town. I'm Festival Curator of the World of Threads Festival an international festival of contemporary fibre and textile art in Oakville. I graduated with a BFA from OCAD University and a diploma from Central Tech's adult art program. I've been teaching since 2008. I’ve been featured on CBC News and Radio Canada and in the Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, Now Magazine and La Presse among others.

Here are the courses I teach:

Art World Untangled: Museum Tours
The Colour Mixing Detective
The Colour Match Maker
Outdoor Abstract City Drawing
Art History: The Masters: 1400-1850
Art History: The Moderns: 1850-1980
Abstract Painting

“You always find the most interesting art, that I almost wish that I could pack you up and bring you on my trips.” - K.S.


Booking for Art World Untangled: Season 8 is now OPEN! Choose from 14 new tours this Fall.

Each trip is a separate event. So when you see multiple trips for one show that's the same trip offered twice.


Important Note: Most of my tour days have changed for this season to Wednesday and Sunday.




AGO: Modern German Art:
Käthe Kollwitz & Joseph Beuys

Art Gallery of Ontario: Käthe Kollwitz: Art and Life & Joseph Beuys

Käthe Kollwitz (1862-1945) is most famous for her haunting self-portraits and images of greiving during the war. She worked primiarly in charcoal drawings and lithography prints. Her life spans several wars including the German Peasants' War, WWI and WWII. During WWI she encouraged her son to go off to war where he was killed. This event, as well as the other conflicts had an enormous impact on her and she depicts that in her work. I'll also share a really good podcast episode that talks about her life. This tour will focus primarily on Kollwitz.

Joseph Beuys (1921-1986) is one of the most famous European late modern artists. His work is very challenging to understand, so we'll give it a go. He worked in performance, installation, drawing and was also known for his teaching and art theory work. He's like a combination of artist and shaman. This small AGO show features his drawings and a some installation work. (Admission not included)

Trip #1: Wed. Sept. 19, 3:00 - 5:00 pm, (5 Spots Available - Confirmed Running!)

Trip #2: Sun. Sept. 23, 3:00 - 5:00 pm, (3 Spots Available - Confirmed Running!)




AGO: Rebecca Bellmore

Art Gallery of Ontario: Rebecca Bellmore: Facing the Monumental

Rebecca Bellmore is a member of Lac Seul First Nation (Anishinaabe) in north western Ontario. She currently lives in Toronto. She's one of the most well known Canadian artists. She's a recipient of the Governor Generals Award for Visual arts and in 2005 she represented Canada at the Venice Biennial. This show features some of her most well known performance work as well as photography, sculptures and installations. The AGO writes "Her poetic and beautiful works respond to the pressing issues of our time, including water and land rights, women’s lives and dignity, violence against Indigenous people by the state and police, and the role of the artist in contemporary life." (Admission not included)

Trip #3: Wed. Sept. 26, 3:00 - 5:00 pm, (5 Spots Available - Confirmed Running!)



MoCA Opening: Contemporary Art

Grand Opening of The Museum of Contemporary Art - Toronto

Closed for nearly 3 years The Museum of Contemporary Art - Toronto will finally reopen in September in the newly transformed former Tower Automotive building at 158 Sterling Road near the Junction Triangle. This formerly derelict building will be Toronto’s newest museum. Shortly after it opens we’ll attend the inaugural exhibition of contemporary art. MoCA has long been one of the most interesting museums and one that gives Toronto artists their due while also exhibiting international artists. (Admission not included)

Trip #5: Wed. Oct. 24, 2:30 - 4:30 pm, (FULL - Confirmed Running!)

Trip #6: Sun. Oct. 28, 2:30 - 4:30 pm, (FULL - Confirmed Running!)



The works above are by: Anna Heywood-Jones, Charlotte Østergaard, Lori Birkbeck, Mary-Ann Wensley, Sun Young Kang, Tina-Struthers

World of Threads Festival 2018

Oakville: Local, National, International Contemporary Fibre and Textile Arts

This is the festival I curate with my mother Dawne Rudman. This is my fifth festival and her eighth. It happens every two years and is a major exhibition of international fibre and textile art. This is a full day field trip. We’ll take the Go Train to Oakville. Once there we’ll explore the shows with a 30 minute break in the middle. The tour will take you behind the scenes. (Admission and GoBus tickets not included.)

Festival 2018 features 303 artworks by 65 artists from Canada, Denmark, England, Hungary, Netherlands, Northern Ireland, Norway, Russia and USA. The main gallery exhibition will be a show called “Flow" and is all about work that evokes rivers, erosion and change. There’s a massive installation of paper vessels, a show of floral works, sculptures and clothing. And many solo exhibitions in all the halls. (Admission is FREE. Transit not included)

Trip #7/#8: Fri. Nov. 2, (Full Day) (3 Spots Available - Confirmed Running!)

Logistics: Because this is a full day tour it counts as two. We'll meet at Union Station at 9:40 am. We'll board the Go Train at 10:13 am. It takes around an hour. We'll then board a bus in Oakville that takes us directly to the gallery. We'll aim to get home around 5 pm or earlier. If it's easier for you to meet us in Oakville - rather than take the train that is an option.

Note if you'd like to attend the opening there will be a bus running from Toronto to Oakville on Saturday Oct. 20th. This will be the big opening event but it doesn't include my tours. 




AGO: Anthropocene

Art Gallery of Ontario: Anthropocene, Photographer Edward Burtynsky and filmmakers Jennifer Baichwal and Nicholas de Pencier.

This is the major AGO show of the fall. Ed Burtynsky is a world famous photographer from Toronto who travels all around the world and shoots large format photographs of environmental degradation due to industry and human impact. In this new massive show which has a sister exhibition at the National Gallery in Ottawa, the photographer and film makers went to five continents to document the human impact on the earth. The Anthropocene is word that scientists are urging us to adopt to indicate that we are now in a new geological epoch defined by human impact on the planet. This promises to be a pretty extraordinary show. (Admission not included)

Trip #11: Wed. Nov. 7, 3:00 - 5:00 pm, (FULL - Confirmed Running!)

Trip #12: Sun. Nov. 11, 3:00 - 5:00 pm, (FULL - Confirmed Running!)




AGO: Indigenous & Canadian Art

Art Gallery of Ontario: Indigenous & Canadian Art in the Permanent Collection

Times have changed. The AGO has radically rehung their Canadian art collection. For the first time Indigenous art is now a major component. This exciting rehanging refreshes the collection by diversifying it and creating thematically curated rooms that include 19th century, modern and contemporary works side by side. There are also many more women included. These galleries are packed with fascinating works and because each room is a theme there's so much to talk about that we'll be doing it in two parts! Each part will focus on different rooms. (Admission not included)


Trip #13: Wed. Nov. 14, 3:00 - 5:00 pm, (Only 3 Spots Left - Confirmed Running!)

Trip #14: Sun. Nov. 18, 3:00 - 5:00 pm, (Only 1 Spot Left - Confirmed Running)


Trip #15: Wed. Nov. 21, 3:00 - 5:00 pm, (Only 3 Spots Left - Confirmed Running!)

Trip #16: Sun. Nov. 25, 3:00 - 5:00 pm, (Only 3 Spots Left - Confirmed Running)


Here's how to book...

Each trip is it’s own separate event. When you register you indicate which trips you want by using the numbers. There are a maximum of 10 people per trip. I require 5 people to run a trip.


Join Us This Fall!



Five-Pack: $139

Individual Trips: $29



Plus Photocopy Fee: There is a 60 cent fee per trip.

I require a commitment at registration when you book your trips. You pay in advance for the season.




Gareth's Art Rocks!
100% Money Back Guarantee

I’m committed to offering you an inspiring and informative trip. If you aren’t happy I don’t want to take your money. If after any trip this Fall you're not satisfied or don’t think this is right for you, I offer a 100% money back guarantee for your bookings. No problem. Just let me know via email. I'll send you an e-transfer right away. No strings attached. The only thing I ask is for you to let me know what didn’t work for you. Refunds are offered all the way until Dec. 1, 2018.


Refunds Policy

If I cancel a trip you booked onto then I'll give you a credit for a future trip. If you're unable to attend a trip you booked onto and cancel within 48 hours I will offer you a credit towards another trip. I do not offer refunds for trips that you book onto but are unable to attend. Please let me know in advance if you are not coming.


How to Pay

When you book I'll send you an invoice with your amount calculated. You can send me an online e-transfer or you could also pay by cheque or cash during your first trip. Payment is required on your first trip.


Here's how to Join...

Send me an email:

Subject Line: Booking: Art World Untangled Season 8

What to include in the email:

Your Full Name 

Your Email

Your Cell Phone (So we can communicate if lost or separated on the day)

Which trips above are you registering to attend? Use the numbers designating each trip. Just send me a list like this... 3, 4, 6, 12, 14, etc.

What Payment Method: e-transfer in advance, cash or check on the first class.

Packages: Five-Pack or Individual Trips

Do you have a membership for any of the museums?

How did you hear about my tours?



  • Please check your personal calendar. This is an official booking.
  • If you're booking for multiple people please include their names and emails as well so I can communicate with them and send them the info for the trip.


What happens next?

I'll confirm your booking via email then send you an invoice with your individual amount calculated plus the photocopy fee.  I'll send you an email the week before your trip with the details about where to meet.


Do you have any questions?

Send me an email:



I'm looking forward to seeing you!


Please share these trips with anyone you know who might be interested. Thanks!