AWE Equity Statement


Ongoing Commitment to Diversity, Equity, Accessibility and Inclusion

Art Windsor-Essex is always learning how to better serve our community. We understand the work required to become community-driven will continually change. The work is an ongoing effort, and will never be finished.

We acknowledge that in the past, the gallery has been elitist and inaccessible. We take this to heart, and we are dedicated to changing our policies, and our approach to our exhibitions and programs to create a welcoming visitor experience.

Our staff and volunteers are working together to ensure Art Windsor-Essex is a space where all visitors feel welcomed and included.  As a team, we are forging a path to strengthen community trust to form lasting collaborative relationships with individuals and groups. We invite you to participate in this transformation.

Do you think that we have missed something? Help us improve by sharing your thoughts or concerns. Email: visit@agw.ca or call Visitor & Membership Services: 519-977-0013 ext.117.


Explore this page to learn more about our commitment to Diversity, Equity, Accessibility and Inclusion.


About Our Transformation

In September 2020, Art Windsor-Essex (AWE) formally engaged consultants from Warp and Weft to conduct a community consultation. The results of this consultation and accompanying recommendations were presented to the Board in Spring 2021. The report’s findings and recommendations inform the Gallery’s efforts to become a more equitable and inclusive space.

In Spring 2021, staff undertook self-directed learning in the areas of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI). In June 2021, an internal Diversity, Equity, Accessibility and Inclusion (DEAI) task force was formed, composed of AWE employees, who will meet four times annually.

Between June and September 2021, staff, volunteers, and Board are undertaking DEI training. Staff are continuing to pursue professional development that supports our goals to become more inclusive, engaging, and welcoming. In Fall 2021, our internal DEAI task force will work with external community members to review our equity statements and goals around equity.


Education & Engagement

Work is ongoing to ensure that our collection, exhibitions and programs reflect the diverse communities we serve. In 2020 & 2021, we have:

  • Introduced free art and wellness programs to over 600+ participants across southwestern Ontario and beyond
  • Designed two special education programs: Indigenous Perspectives Through Art and We All Belong (focused on 2S-LGBTQIA + artists from the collection), in partnership with the Greater Essex District School Board
  • Created teacher resources on several artworks in our collection, by artists who are Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour
  • Co-created “Art to Heart” with Autism Ontario, which provides free art kits and arts facilitation sessions to youth on the Autism spectrum
  • Added alternative text to our social media posts to describe our promotional images for screen readers
  • Added automatic, live closed-captioning to our live digital events and added closed-captioning on all pre-recorded videos
  • Engaged in panel discussions with other community organizations and groups to facilitate conversations on social justice topics that matter to our community, such as: how to talk about anti-Black racism in the arts; inspiring youth, art, and activism; and engaging with our communities through art
  • Created interactive arts workshops led by AWE Gallery Guides to engage seniors through the arts and encourage social connection and reduce social isolation
  • Partnered with Newcomer Youth-YMAP (London, Windsor and Sarnia) to deliver free arts programming to newcomer youth
  • Delivered a series of free drop-in workshops, focused on exploring various art-making techniques and materials
  • Offered virtual tours of the Collection to newcomers and immigrants in partnership with Women’s Enterprise Skills Training (WEST) of Windsor

Our Audience

Every visitor should feel welcomed and a member of our community.

Sharing Our Pronouns

As a Gallery, we are working to make our space more inclusive and affirm how everyone wants to be called. We believe that all people can choose to go by the pronouns with which they are most comfortable.

The majority of people use the pronouns “he/him” or “she/her.” A growing population of people choose to use “they/them” or another pronoun set. People who choose to use different pronouns may do so because they do not wish to use pronouns that imply a specific gender association, or potentially because they are nonbinary and identify as neither exclusively as a man or as a woman.

We find that sharing our pronouns normalizes the interaction, and creates a space where our guests can feel safe in sharing their own.

Learn more about pronouns.

Gender and Accessible Restrooms

We encourage all guests to use the restroom in which they are most comfortable. All washrooms are wheelchair accessible.

Free or reduced admission

The Gallery currently offers membership benefits for all youth under 25 and for artists and creators in our region through our new Membership program. Find out more

The Gallery offers free admission for Status cardholders and Métis Nation Members from the historic communities in Ontario, Manitoba, Alberta, and British Columbia.

Professional Personal Care Attendants are admitted to the Gallery free of charge. The gallery will introduce other free admissions, membership, and access opportunities in the coming months and years.

Wheelchair Accessibility

As a public institution, the Art Gallery of Windsor is compliant with all regulations set forth by the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA). We strive to make our building accessible for those with different abilities.

All restrooms are wheelchair accessible, and we have an elevator for guests to use.

Should you need one, wheelchairs are available to borrow at Visitor & Membership Services.

Accessible parking is available.

Interpretive Materials

The Gallery is committed to providing interpretive materials at Grade 8 reading levels to engage all visitors. Please bring your smartphone and headphones to enjoy a free audio tour of all our exhibitions, accessible via QR codes in the gallery.

Live closed captions are available on TV monitors.

Large print appears on all location signage.

Service Animals

Service animals are welcome throughout the Gallery.

Seating in the Galleries

Benches, chairs, and couches are also available throughout the galleries, should you need to rest or reflect.

Sensory Friendly

  • Our Visitor Services & Membership staff are happy to direct you to quiet areas of the Gallery should you need them.

Parents and Children

Infants and Young Children

We welcome children of all ages to AWE! Please feel free to bring a stroller. You are encouraged to explore the galleries at your own pace and in the ways that best fit you and your family’s needs. Guests will also enjoy the Studio, our interactive, hands-on learning space for all ages. Join us for Saturdays in the Studio or enjoy a self-guided activity.

Breastfeeding Parents

Parents are welcome to breastfeed in all public spaces throughout the Gallery.

Event and Programs Code of Conduct 

Click here to read AWE's Code of Conduct for programs and events. 


AWE’s Internal DEAI Task Force recognizes that there are pieces of our strategic plan that require definition. We want the people we work with, our audience, and our community members, to understand what we mean when we use these terms in our 2021-25 Strategic Plan, as they are relevant to our goals around equity. Click here for definitions of key terms.