Welcome to Artscape DIY, Artscape’s knowledge sharing website for information and inspiration to support creative placemaking in your community.

As you explore the site you will find case studiestools and resources, including downloadable templates and examples, films, guides and articles designed to help you through the often complex and risky business of developing sustainable, affordable space for culture and creativity which responds and contributes to the transformation and revitalization of communities.

With 30 years of experience under our belt, Artscape has a longstanding commitment to sharing our experience in Toronto with communities elsewhere. Since 2012 Artscape DIY has been a central component of the Creative Placemaking Lab’s Programs and Services. Through knowledge sharing activities, Artscape hopes to:

  • Engage communities across Canada and beyond in the cultural, environmental, social and economic contribution of creative placemaking
  • Build community capacity to integrate creative and cultural facilities and activities into the cultural, social and economic fabric of their communities through creative placemaking projects
  • Build a community of practice in creative placemaking

Why Did We Develop Artscape DIY?

A growing body of evidence indicates that fostering cultural and creative activity is an essential strategy in building quality of place, maximizing talent, enhancing sustainability and defining competitiveness in the knowledge economy. From large metropolitan areas to smaller towns, creative placemaking is becoming a crucial means of mobilizing creative entrepreneurship, supporting cultural diversity, attracting new residents, talented workers, and tourists, and leveraging investment.

Municipalities and their partners across Canada and around the world are increasingly interested in developing proactive strategies to develop cultural infrastructure and facilities that support local talent, enhance diversity and foster collaboration. They are actively seeking to develop new approaches to “placemaking,” – the development of places in their communities, including downtowns, cultural quarters and main streets, with a distinctive sense of place. Places where creativity and culture, diversity, density and authenticity combine to support the development of sustainable economies and more livable and attractive communities where people want to live, work and play.

A national study of cultural infrastructure undertaken by the Centre of Expertise on Culture and Communities at Simon Fraser University identified a growing trend across Canada towards cultural facilities designed to leverage the benefits of collaboration and co-location. This trend includes:

  • Multi-use hubs that integrate arts, culture, heritage and library facilities to share resources and operation costs, and to develop strategic partnerships
  • Cultural or creative incubators that, in various ways, offer a platform of support for creators and enable connection, production and networking among creators and with the public
  • Multi-sector convergence centres that are designed to maximize socialization, networking, and random collisions, and thus become major connecting hubs and economic engines in communities
  • Artist live/work or studio complexes that focus on live/work studios, artist living spaces and a variety of space uses including rehearsal spaces, retail and cafés
  • Integrated community projects that include cultural, environmental and social uses

This emerging landscape of infrastructure leads to a complex and evolving array of partnerships, models and purposes that requires a cross-pollination of thinking, greater openness to risk-taking, nimble partnerships, and compelling solutions that bridge the many traditional silos of city-building.

Who is Artscape DIY For?

Over 30 years, Artscape has learned that creative placemaking is a challenging process that requires out-of-the-box thinking, unique partnerships and a collaborative approach to development. Cultivating the conditions that allow creative places and facilities to flourish relies heavily on engaged politicians and a multi-dimensional, cross-sector approach that builds shared values and understanding and which supports leadership, as well as innovative municipal policies and legislation. This is an approach that requires solutions that cross over traditional organizational and sector-based silos.

Artscape’s mission to “make space for creativity and transform communities” is situated at the intersection of community, cultural, urban and economic development. As a result we expect Artscape DIY to be of interest and useful to the broad range of practitioners, professionals, organizations and institutions which need to collaborate and partner to drive a creative placemaking project from inception to completion, including:

  • Arts and culture organizations and individual artists
  • Architects, property owners and developers;
  • Municipal staff working in culture, economic, development, planning and many other departments
  • Community activists and community-based organizations and groups
  • Politicians from all tiers of government
  • Local business organizations
  • Philanthropists and financial/funding organizations
  • Provincial and regional economic and cultural development agencies and organizations
  • Academics and researchers

We hope you will visit often as we update and add to the resources available here. We would also love to hear about your projects and the approaches you have taken.