Making Spaces for Art: Case Study – MacKenzie Hall Cultural Centre

machallWith a speedy response from Google, one can easily find a great deal of information about Mackenzie Hall. The address, current events calendar, a programming overview and links to even more detailed information. Even with all of that information just finger flicks and nanoseconds away, there is so much more to be said about Mackenzie Hall.

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Making Spaces for Art: Case Study – The Grand Theatre

kingstonSome things are timeless, ageless, and truly grand.  And while theatre as an art form is a perfect example of this, theatres themselves, tend to have an expiration date–especially ones that were built well over a century ago.  Such was the case of The Grand Theatre in Kingston. Built in 1879, the time had come for a major overhaul that would preserve and maintain the grandeur of this historic building while simultaneously expanding the space for an ever-growing audience.

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Here, there – and everywhere!

On April 9, ArtsBuild Ontario set out on the first of nine Sustainable Creative Spaces sessions to engage communities on a conversation about arts facilities. We invited funders, municipal employees involved in culture and related departments, facilities managers and of course leaders of arts organizations – some who operate or wish to operate in a facility of their own. In all the communities so far we tried to host the session in an arts space to inspire the conversation and keep us engaged.
Ontario in Canada on the map.

ArtsBuild operates out of Waterloo and often travels to Toronto for meetings, but this was our opportunity to visit other communities and have conversations with organizations that we might not otherwise and of course see their facilities.

In a one on one conversation I had while in Thunder Bay an arts volunteer asked if the conversations had been different across the communities I had been too and my initial response was “No, it’s quite consistent”. On my flight back from Thunder Bay I realized that that response was not entirely true. Although similar themes had reappeared in the six communities we had visited so far (Mississauga, Hamilton, Kitchener/Waterloo, Sudbury, Orangeville and Thunder Bay), each community has its own unique set of circumstances, projects, investments and passions. Each space we visited in the various communities had its own fascinating story, sometimes a struggle and sometimes a triumph. While it was a day shaped around conversations amongst the arts community and its stakeholders, we made time to visit arts facilities and to talk one on one.It was during these meetings that the conversations were able to come alive.

In response to these unique and community minded spaces we began to profile these and other arts spaces around the province in our case study series so that the rest of the arts sector could learn about what other spaces are doing, how they are doing and what made it possible. The Making Spaces for Art series is a great way to get a snapshot of the creative and passionate work done by the arts sector across the province.

We are going to finish off the sessions by visiting Kingston, Windsor followed by Toronto in the New Year. At the end of all of these sessions we are going to summarize the findings for all nine communities and pull out the collective needs and successes of all nine communities. We are here to advocate for the arts spaces in Ontario so we will be presenting this report to relevant funders so that they can hear what these communities had to say.

Our next stop is Kingston on November 6th – if you are in Kingston – hope to see you there!

If you are from Kingston or Windsor and are part of the arts community and in an arts space contact, to reserve a seat and be a part of the conversation. Summaries from the first four sessions can be found HERE.


Sustainability Matters for the Arts: Article

We posted this article back in the spring (when it was originally written) but with winter looming, it might be a good time to start talking about your energy plans again.

As the article states, the time to act on your ‘green dream’ is now. While the article focuses on examples from the UK, the Ontario Power Authority has introduced incentive programs that will help subsidize some of the costs required to make your facilities more energy efficient. These savings can be put to use to enhance your organization’s mandate, in the form of programming, or other building needs.

You can read the full article HERE. This article provides an example of how environmental consciousness is evolving in the UK; hopefully it helps spark your organizations to talk about how you can begin the evolution of your own energy conservation plans.

Not sure where or how to begin these energy conversations? We’re here to help! 

Making Spaces for Art: A Case Study – Thunder Bay Art Gallery

tbayagAfter a few decades in school, the Thunder Bay Art Gallery is finally graduating. The gallery has been located in a hidden away corner on the campus of Confederation College for the past thirty-seven years. Those years are in the process of coming to an end.

The Gallery has outgrown its current location. Home to one of the largest collections of contemporary Aboriginal art, the Gallery needs more space to exhibit and properly store these works as well as to present public programming. The idea to move came about during a strategic planning exercise in 2009.

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