Capacity Building Programs and Services

Artscape DIY is a central component of Artscape’s Creative Placemaking Lab. For the first time in Artscape’s 25-year history, you can access information, tools, templates and examples to help you learn about our unique approach to creative placemaking, and move forward with your own cultural facility project. Read below to find out more about the Creative Placemaking Lab's programs and services.
Capacity Building Programs and Services
About Artscape's Creative Placemaking Lab
Artscape’s Creative Placemaking Lab builds on and shares Artscape’s 25 years of experience in creative placemaking and city building through the arts through:
  1. Advancing a community of practice: Building an effective mix of programs, services and tools to support the capacity building needs of a range of practitioners and extend the reach of Artscape's approach to creative placemaking.

  1. Research and development: Strengthening and informing the evolution of Artscape's creative placemaking practice by providing research and development capacity in the pre-development of new facility models and impact assessment and evaluation.

  1. Thought leadership: Strengthening Artscape's leadership role by undertaking creative placemaking research, dissemination, and strategic partnership and engagement activities.

Artscape’s Creative Placemaking Lab has shared resources, coached and collaborated with communities across Canada, the United States, and internationally, including the UK, Australia, Hong Kong, China and Germany.  
Artscape’s Creative Placemaking Lab  fosters dialogue about creative placemaking through a suite of programs and activities, including the Mentorship and Coaching Program, Creative Placemaking Workshops, the development of Online Tools and Resources, and Research and Development. You can find out more information about these activities below.
Mentorship and Coaching
Artscape’s Mentorship and Coaching Program is designed to build the capacity of organizations across Canada and internationally to develop the strategic, organizational and individual leadership skills to grow a creative space development organization and/or multi-tenanted creative and cultural facilities in their community.

From large municipalities to small not-for-profit organizations, Artscape has worked with a wide range of participants, providing a tailor-made program designed specifically for their needs. Participants benefit from direct access to the experience that Artscape has gained over more than 25 years in developing a portfolio of unique facilities that deliver sustainable and affordable production, rehearsal, exhibition and living space for creative practitioners, entrepreneurs and organizations.

The Program
Mentorship and Coaching Program participants work closely with Artscape’s senior specialist staff in a program that develops their capacity across a range of areas, including:
  • Organizational development and project planning
  • Strategic planning
  • Community engagement and project governance
  • Operational development and management
  • Design and environmental sustainability
  • Capital project management
  • Fundraising
  • Business planning
  • Property management
  • Leasing
As the particular needs of each organization are unique, there is no “typical” program of activities. Ranging from short-term interventions to long-term projects, Artscape works with each client to build a custom designed program from a menu of components that will suit their particular needs and priorities.

Program Components
The Mentorship and Coaching Program can include some or all of the following components:
  • SITE VISITS: Artscape’s specialist senior staff team spend time with the client organization in intensive site visits. Visits will be built around key themes, opportunities and challenges, and will be programmed to include one on one coaching sessions as well as discussions with key staff, board members, funders and partners.
  • CLIENT RESIDENCY WITH ARTSCAPE: The client will undertake a residency with Artscape at our head office in Toronto. The full program for the residency will be developed collaboratively but could include:
    • Site visits and tours
    • Job shadowing senior staff
    • Meetings with key department heads
    • Tenant engagement
  • ONLINE SUPPORT: Artscape will provide access to appropriate senior staff for online support and coaching throughout the mentoring period. This could include individual consultations as well as group sessions delivered in a webinar format.
  • ACCESS TO TEMPLATES AND DOCUMENTS: Mentorship and Coaching Program clients will be provided with access to templates and documents created by Artscape, in addition to any documents and templates available online as part of
  • THIRD PARTY PROJECT EVALUATION AND DOCUMENT REVIEW: Artscape senior staff can provide written third party evaluation and monitoring of your project, and assessment of a range of documents including budgets, strategic plans and operational/business plans.
  • PUBLIC PRESENTATION(S): Public Presentations by Tim Jones and other senior Artscape staff. This can include speaking engagements, meeting facilitation, or other presentations.
  • PARTNERSHIP DEVELOPMENT/BROKERAGE: Artscape senior staff can play an intermediary role in brokering new partnerships and development deals.
  • SPACEMAKING AND PLACEMAKING WORKSHOPS: Artscape can contribute to and/or provide a full one-day Spacemaking and/or Placemaking workshop, or a half-day introductory seminar.
  • STUDY TOURS: Artscape can provide a tailored, expert-guided tour of multi-tenant facilities in Toronto designed for a delegation from the client organization and its key funders/partners. Tours can include Artscape facilities such as Daniels Spectrum, Artscape Wychwoods Barns, and Artscape Distillery Studios as well as other innovative models throughout Toronto, such as Centre for Social Innovation, MaRS, Evergreen Brick Works and more.
Past Program Participants
Artscape has completed Mentorship and Coaching Programs with communities and organizations across Canada, including Arts Habitat Association, the City of Edmonton; Halifax Regional Municipality; the City of Vancouver and the City of Guelph.

“We have been very appreciative of Artscape’s guidance in the development of HRM’s cultural facilities. Pru and Tim have the rare knack of providing expertise in a way that respects the unique needs, talents and circumstances of participants. Their advice was based on a realistic evaluation of the situation, supported by a wealth of experience and knowhow. After working with Artscape, it is clear why they have been so successful as catalysts for innovative space development. They are ideally suited to the mentorship role and we are all very excited to continue tapping into this amazing resource.”
Leticia Smillie, Cultural Planner
Halifax Regional Municipality

“Arts Habitat Association is thrilled to be part of the Mentoring Program with Artscape Toronto. The scope of the program fits our needs perfectly…The three days were jam-packed with in-depth analysis of our business plan, brainstorming sessions, meetings with our Board, one-on-one problem solving with our staff, and meetings with municipal stakeholders – which have led directly to strengthened partnerships...”
Linda Huffman, General Manager
Arts Habitat Association

“Our residency at Artscape was incredible!  We came away from our week with you with renewed excitement and determination to move forward with our project.  More importantly, we came away with a clear, specific and achievable plan to reach our goal.
Nan Hogg, Board Member
Guelph Arts Platform

To learn more about this program and discuss the needs of your community or organization, please contact Barb Besner, Program Manager, Creative Placemaking Lab, at 416-392-1038 x 41 or via email at barb [at]

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Designed to Empower. Guaranteed to Inspire. 
Artscape’s suite of workshops are one-day or half-day events that focus on building the organizational and leadership capacity of communities to develop sustainable space for the arts and culture and to engage art, culture and creativity in revitalization efforts. Over the last five years, Artscape has facilitated workshops in Oshawa, Windsor, Vancouver, Calgary, Halifax, Markham, Kingston, Hamilton and Toronto, and has connected more than 800 participants from more than 100 different communities.
Ensuring a Local Perspective and Focus 
Artscape workshops provide the opportunity to learn from the experts and apply that learning to the particular challenges and opportunities in your community. Up to two local spotlight presentations will be planned within each workshop to highlight particular projects or opportunities/challenges in your community. Local spotlight presenters also join our faculty for the very popular workshop commons session, an opportunity for participants to discuss local projects, challenges and opportunities with the workshop team.
Supporting Cross-Sector Dialogue
Our workshops are designed to attract interdisciplinary and cross-sector participants. One of the great benefits of the workshop is the opportunity for arts organizations, local economic development and planning professionals, local politicians, funders and property owners/developers to meet each other, network and share the inspiration and the practical tools that we can offer. 
Who Should Attend? 
Artscape workshops will appeal to individuals, organizations or partnerships that are engaged in cultural facility projects, including:
  • Arts/cultural organizations
  • Municipal cultural, planning, economic development, real estate, housing and other staff
  • Architects, property owners and developers
  • Local business organizations
  • Individual social entrepreneurs
  • Municipal and regional politicians
  • Community activists and community-based organizations/groups
  • Individual artists
  • Arts philanthropists
  • Arts umbrella organizations
  • Financial/funding organizations
  • Academics and researchers
Artscape offers three workshop options, depending on the needs and priorities of your community. They are:

  • Creative Spacemaking*
  • Creative Placemaking*
  • Artscape: Making Space for Creativity and Transforming Communities (new)
*Note: Both the Creative Spacemaking and Creative Placemaking workshops are developed in cooperation with the host community to ensure that workshop content is reflective of local context and concerns. Please contact Barb Besner, Program Manager, Creative Placemaking Lab at 416-392-1038 x 41 or via email at barb [at] to discuss your specific needs and priorities. 
1. Creative Spacemaking (one-day)
Artscape’s Creative Spacemaking workshop brings together top practitioners for a comprehensive learning experience that demystifies the complexity of cultural space development, connects participants with similar-minded practitioners and highlights innovative partnerships that have successfully anchored creative communities within sustainable and affordable spaces.  
This one-day workshop offers leading advice, tools and a chance to meet the experts during interactive sessions on topics ranging from community engagement and project planning to feasibility analysis, capital fundraising and governance models. The Creative Spacemaking workshop is suitable for up to 80 participants. 
2. Creative Placemaking (one-day)
Artscape’s Creative Placemaking workshop investigates strategies to connect and leverage the creative and cultural resources of communities in generating quality of place and supporting local economic development.
Participants learn how to nurture and sustain the conditions for culture and creativity to thrive in downtowns, cultural districts, neighbourhoods and mainstreets, and explore the potential of the arts and culture as a key tool in revitalization and creative city-building. Participants learn practical planning tools for undertaking creative placemaking initiatives in a range of different contexts. Topics include strategic planning, governance and cross-sector partnerships and community engagement. The Creative Placemaking workshop is suitable for up to 80 participants.
3. Artscape: Making Space for Creativity and Transforming Communities (half-day)
Our newest workshop is an intensive look into Artscape practices and projects. Over the last 25 years, Artscape has developed a reputation as Canada’s leading practitioner in multi-tenant space development for the arts and culture sector, successfully transforming a portfolio of underutilized buildings across Toronto into dynamic community assets. Artscape projects provide sustainable and affordable production, rehearsal, exhibition and living space for hundreds of artists, designer/makers, galleries, theatres and not-for-profit organizations. These projects have been catalysts for the regeneration of some of the city’s most vibrant and creative neighbourhoods. 
This workshop will be focused around Artscape’s belief that the arts and culture can transform the lives of individuals and communities. Participants will take an in-depth look at how Artscape has developed many of its projects, including common challenges and strategies for success. The workshop is designed to bring together anyone with an interest in city-building through the arts, including arts professionals, local and regional government representatives, planners, architects, and designers, as well as students and researchers interested in Artscape’s practices. This workshop takes place over a half-day, and is suitable for groups of 30 to 50 participants. 
If you are interested in hosting this workshop please contact Barb Besner, Program Manager, Creative Placemaking Lab at 416-392-1038 x 41 or via email at barb [at]
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Online Tools and Resources
Artscape DIY is Artscape’s home for online resources and tools for creative space development and city-building through the arts. In the future, we hope to grow Artscape DIY to include more information, resources, and different ways for practitioners across Canada and internationally to connect and share their advice and expertise.

Square Feet: The Artist’s Guide to Renting and Buying Creative Space” is an indispensible, free resource manual for artists, arts organizations and collectives looking to rent or buy creative space. “Square Feet” answers the questions Artscape hears most often: How do I go about finding a space? Gross lease, net lease, net-net lease – what’s the difference? Should I consider buying a place? What are my rights as a tenant? This manual answers these questions and covers a broad range of legal and regulatory matters/requirements that the arts and cultural sector should be acquainted with.

In order to ensure “Square Feet” remains a current and useful resource, Artscape has released a new, fully-revised and updated edition in 2011. Click here to be directed to Creative Placemaking, where you can download your free updated copy of Square Feet: The Artist’s Guide to Renting and Buying Creative Space.

“Square Feet” in Your Community
Interested in adapting “Square Feet” for use in your community?  Although Artscape has a Toronto mandate and some information in this manual is Toronto-specific, much of the information is relevant to the needs of artists across Ontario. If you are interested in this opportunity please contact Pru Robey, Director, Creative Placemaking Lab, at 416 392 1038 ext. 23 or via email at pru [at]

Research and Development
As a multi-disciplinary practitioner and learning organization, Artscape integrates practical expertise with pioneering research and international collaborations. 
Artscape leads or contributes to strategic research and development projects which impact on our own development projects and practice, builds strategic partnerships and develops the evidence base for the sector.
Click here to explore some of Artscape’s most recent research activity, or visit the “Placemaking” section of the Artscape DIY resources here.
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Unless otherwise noted, all content on Artscape DIY is copyrighted to Toronto Artscape Inc., all rights reserved. Click here for more information and to view the disclaimer.
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