The Art Institute of Ontario (AIO) was incorporated in 1951 to circulate art exhibitions, lecturers, and instructional programmes to venues in smaller communities. The idea of an art institute had been discussed informally as early as 1948, and the Art Gallery of Toronto had organized circulating exhibitions. The AIO was formed when a grant from the Ontario Department of Education made it possible to sponsor a travelling exhibition throughout the province. Later grants from the Atkinson Foundation, the Canada Council, and the Province of Ontario Council for the Arts supported AIO’s operations. The AIO was an alliance of several Ontario visual arts institutions and organizations. Its founding members were the Art Gallery of Hamilton, Art Gallery of Toronto (now Art Gallery of Ontario), Hart House (University of Toronto), London Public Library & Art Museum, National Gallery of Canada, Ontario Association of Architects, Ontario Society of Artists, Royal Ontario Museum, Willistead Library and Art Gallery (Windsor) and the Windsor Art Association. The AIO maintained close ties with the Art Gallery of Ontario throughout its existence. It was absorbed into the extension programme of the AGO in 1968.