Artscape: 30 Years of Creative Placemaking

Artscape has grown from a small group of individuals concerned about the space-related challenges of artists to an international leader in the field of creative placemaking and city-building through the arts. For 30 years, Artscape has been making space for creativity and transforming communities. 
Artscape grows out of the Toronto Arts Council at a time when the real estate market is booming. City inspectors are closing down illegal artist live/work spaces located in warehouse buildings, and there is growing concern about the viability of artists and arts organizations continuing to live and work in downtown Toronto.

In association with the Toronto Arts Council, Artscape publishes No Vacancy, the first comprehensive review of space issues and concerns of Toronto’s arts community. This work is instrumental in achieving recognition and funding from the City of Toronto as its partner in addressing the space-related challenges of the arts.

Just after the bottom falls out of the real estate market in the early 90s, Artscape jumps into the real estate development business. Artscape’s first project at 96 Spadina Avenue provides affordable work studios in Toronto’s then-burgeoning gallery district.

Artscape continues to build its capacity as a studio provider with the opening of 45 work spaces at Artscape Liberty Village in the heart of Liberty Village at 60 Atlantic Avenue. This largely abandoned industrial area quickly becomes a hot spot for artists, designers, filmmakers and new media enterprises.

A home for new music is created with the 1993 opening of The Music Gallery. This Artscape development has since been demolished to make way for a condominium development.

Artscape Non-Profit Homes Inc. (ANPHI) is set up to build affordable artist housing.

Artscape opens the first legal artist live/work building, Artscape West Queen West, at 900 Queen Street West in Toronto. This prized Queen West location provides subsidized and market rate housing for 22 artists and their families, as well as six artist work studios.

The opening of the Parkdale Arts and Cultural Centre at 1313 Queen Street West marks Artscape’s first foray into mixed-use development in a project that combines low-cost artist live/work studios with business associations, social service organizations and a gallery.

Artscape Gibraltar Point opens, offering a range of space, programs and services for the arts, not-for-profit, government and education sectors in a unique and tranquil setting on the Toronto Islands.

Artscape introduces the Gibraltar Point International Artist Residency Program into its program portfolio, furthering the professional development of artists both in Canada and internationally.

Artscape publishes the first edition of Square Feet: The Artist’s Guide to Renting and Buying Work Space.

Artscape plays a catalytic role in the revitalization of The Distillery Historic District with the opening of Artscape Distillery Studios, comprising 60 work and retail studios, offices, rehearsal and performance spaces.

The City of Toronto grants approval in principle to the Artscape Wychwood Barns at the site of the former Wychwood Car Barns site.

Building on the success of previous conferences hosted by Artscape, Creative Places + Spaces brings together policy-makers and practitioners whose work will shape cities and creative communities of the future.

Queen West Art Crawl launches.

Artscape begins to share its knowledge with cities and communities across Canada and internationally, including New York City, Manchester, Kingston, Ottawa, Vancouver, Edmonton, Hamilton and Sudbury.

Creative Places + Spaces2 takes place in Toronto featuring more than 70 experts and hosting more than 600 international delegates.

Artscape Foundation launches to support Artscape’s charitable work.

Artscape breaks ground on the Artscape Wychwood Barns, an arts and environmental centre run by and for the community at the site of the former Wychwood TTC streetcar repair facility.

An innovative partnership is forged in the Queen West Triangle between Artscape, the City of Toronto, Westside Gallery Lofts (Urbancorp) and Active 18 that will see the creation of a 56,000-square-foot artist live/work project, Artscape Triangle Lofts, within the Westside Lofts development at 150 Sudbury Street.

Artscape Wychwood Barns opens – a $22 million retrofit of five derelict TTC repair barns into a community hub with affordable housing and a cultural centre.

Artscape Triangle Lofts is under construction and registration for sales of the below-market ownership units begins. 
Artscape publishes the findings of the Creative Convergence Project, a collaboration with TIFF, CFC, Evergreen, OCADU and MaRS, in “Convergence Centres: Building Capacity for Collaboration.” The study reveals new ways that talent, space and collaboration are being combined and leveraged to fuel our capacity for innovation.
Creative Places + Spaces: The Collaborative City takes place in Toronto in October 2009. The third major conference presented by Artscape engages global perspectives on collaboration and connects them with local change-makers.  Click here to view a series of brief films featuring key messages from the conference.
In December 2009, Artscape, Toronto Community Housing Corporation and The Daniels Corporation announce a collaborative working partnership with the local community on the development and operation of a vibrant new arts and cultural centre in Regent Park. Through federal and provincial sources, $24 million in capital funding is pledged under the Infrastructure Stimulus Fund. 

In January 2010, Artscape announces it has come to an understanding with the Toronto Lands Corporation, as agent for the Toronto District School Board, to purchase the century-old inner city Shaw Street School and repurpose it as Artscape Youngplace, a 75,000-square-foot centre for arts and community programming with a focus on youth.
Artscape launches its new Mentorship and Coaching Program to provide support to organizations and communities hoping to develop multi-tenanted centres. Artscape Creative Placemaking and Creative Spacemaking workshops have now reached more than 800 participating organizations and individuals from more than 100 communities across Canada.
November 2010 Artscape celebrates the opening of the Artscape Triangle Lofts providing 48 below market live/work condos and 20 affordable rental live/work units for artists along with a rental gallery in the heart of West Queen West.
Construction on Regent Park Arts and Cultural Centre begins.

Construction on Regent Park Arts and Cultural Centre and Artscape YOUNGplace is under way.
Artscape publishes “Advancing Toronto’s Centre for Creative Sector Entrepreneurship: Research and Sector Engagement Findings” and moves forward pre-project development on its proposed new Centre for Creative Sector Entrepreneurship – Artscape Launchpad.
Artscape publishes a completely revised, updated edition of “Square Feet,” now entitled “Square Feet: An Artist’s Guide to Renting or Buying Creative Space.”
Artscape completes a study for the City of Toronto exploring the potential to develop a new model of creative and cultural hubs in Toronto’s priority neighbourhoods. 

Click here to read in depth case studies on Artscape’s properties.
Click here to find out more about Creative Placemaking.
Click here to access tools and resources to support Creative Placemaking in your community.

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