Keeler has been active as the curator and director of programmes at the AGM since 2011. Since arriving, he has tried to grow the sense of contemporary currency and experimentation at the gallery, increasing its public profile; attendance reportedly has doubled.
Keeler is particularly interested in public art and community engagement, having curated projects at Nuit Blanche Toronto and recently authored the book Service Media: Is it “Public Art” or Art in Public Space?
Though Mississauga is Canada’s sixth-largest city, it is often regarded as a suburban environment, being located along Toronto’s western boundary. In a fall interview with Canadian Art, Keeler said that there was much opportunity to be had in working in this locale: “The reason I took this job [as curator and director of programmes] over another one in Toronto is I knew there would be an amount of liberty here, because people think of it as small and it’s new territory for the city in terms of curating culture and art events.”
In that same interview, Keeler also stated that the AGM collection was reorienting towards photographic and digital practices. He noted this decision, among others like the desire to expand, emerged from a couple of core questions: “How do we begin to set ourselves apart from other public galleries in the 905 that might have a similar style or a similar history?” and “How can the AGM emerge as a leader?”
There are dozens of art institutions in the 905 area code, which stretches from the Niagara Peninsula in the west to past Port Hope on the east, encompassing cities such as St. Catharines, Hamilton, Brampton and Oshawa.
Added Keeler in a February 22 release, “I look forward to bringing the collaborative spirit of the AGM into the social fabric of Mississauga and by continuing to build a space that will fulfil our artistic vision: to engage, think and inspire. My goal is to provide accessible programming that offers innovative textural, collaborative experiences.”
Born in Vancouver, Keeler earned his MFA at the Art Institute of Chicago.