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Registration for the 2020 Creative Spaces Brainstorming Workshop is now open!

Creative Spaces: Brainstorming Workshop 2020 Banner Image

This brainstorming workshop is designed for arts organizations across Ontario considering or currently embarking on a creative space project.

This workshop provides the opportunity for participants to discuss their projects and openly problem-solve with others tackling similar projects. Participants will be guided through a series of exercises that will allow them to brainstorm solutions or ideas around their own issues. Arts leaders who have completed a capital project will provide a panel discussion and offer guidance to participants based on their past experiences.

Additionally, students from Conestoga College’s Bachelor of Interior Design (Honours) will present their mock plan for a creative hub at the Joseph Schneider Haus in Kitchener.

Projects can include:

  • Capital Projects
  • Facility Upgrades
  • Improving Accessibility
  • Fundraising and Capital Campaigns
  • Community Engagement
  • And more!

This workshop will be facilitated by Lucy White, Principal at The Osborne Group and former ABO Advisory Committee member.

Lunch will be provided to all participants. Please email any dietary restrictions/needs to Amy Poole at

Our Panelists Include:


Creative Space Projects: A Brainstorming Workshop 2020
Tuesday, February 25, 2020 | 10:00 AM – 3:30 PM
Ontario Heritage Trust; The Gallery, Toronto
$45 (Lunch included!)
Register Here!

Learn more about the panelists and workshop on the Brainstorming Workshop Page!

ABO welcomes Kristian Clarke as President and Chris Plunkett as Vice President of our Board of Directors

ABO is pleased to share the appointment of Kristian Clarke, Executive Director of the Dancer Transition Resource Centre, as ABO’s new Board President. A long time arts sector advocate, Clarke brings with him decades of knowledge and experience in the sector and we are thrilled to have him lead the Board of Directors through the next few years.

Joining Clarke, as the Vice President, is Chris Plunkett, VP of Global Communications coming from OpenText located in Waterloo. During another period of growth, we are thankful for Plunkett’s experience and knowledge of the tech sector locally here in KW.

ABO extends a heartfelt thanks to Past President, Chris Loreto, Principal with Strategy Corp, after serving for 9 years on the board. In 2012, Loreto joined the Board of Directors and soon began serving as President. Under his leadership Loreto led a fulsome strategic planning process and developed our first Strategic Plan in 2014. Three years later, he led a refresh that continued to support our ongoing initiatives and provided direction to new opportunities.

ArtsBuild would like to gratefully acknowledge the contributions of our outgoing board members for their contributions to our organization.

Will Chow served on ABO’s board for the past 4 years. Chow brought with him expertise in finance and capital infrastructure and we were fortunate to have his insight and participation as a mentor in our Creative Spaces Mentoring Network.

Randy Dalton was been a long-standing board member of ABO since 2012. Dalton was a tremendous support in our LEARN IT | BUILD IT | MANAGE IT program, bringing his decades of capital infrastructure to the program as well as financial contributions.

We would also like to thank the rest of our Board Members that continue to support our work; Bill Ralph, Treasurer; Nisha Dhaliwal, Director; and Zainub Verjee, Chair of our Advisory Committee.

Announcing the Creative Spaces Online Training Series!

Designed to support arts managers in building the core skills related to undertaking capital projects and ongoing operations, ABO is excited to share the news of our four part Creative Spaces Training Series! In this series, topic experts working in the sector will deliver four webinars. Each module focuses on selected topic areas identified by ABO’s network of 2,500+ arts organizations.

The Four Training Series Modules include:

Module #1: Strategic Planning and Partnerships
Presenter: Devin Glowinski, Co-Founder, Kilogram Studios
Thursday, November 14, 2019 | 1pm – 2:30pm
Cost: $25

Register HERE!

Module #2: Financial Management and Capital Projects
Presenter: Brian Arnott, Principal, Novita Interpares
Thursday, November 21,  2019 | 1pm – 2:30pm
Cost: $25
Register HERE!

Module #3: Capital Campaigns and Community Engagement
Presenter: Brian Arnott, Principal, Novita Interpares
Thursday, December 5th, 2019 | 1pm – 2:30pm
Cost: $25

Register HERE!

Module #4: Operational Planning Before, During and After a Capital Project
Presenters: Lauren Gould, Chief Operating Officer, Gardiner Museum and Jeanne LeSage, Principal, LeSage Arts Management
January 23, 2020 | 1pm – 2:30 pm
Cost: $25

Register HERE!

Read full module descriptions and presenter bios on the Training Series Webpage HERE!

Arts managers will have the opportunity to engage with presenters during the sessions. Participants will be provided with module materials, link to the recording and resources following the webinar.

These modules are designed for arts managers working within creative spaces under a variety of operating models and communities. If you have any questions about the series or would like more information, please contact Amy Poole, Program Manager, at

This project is made possible by the Department of Canadian Heritage.

Fall Workshops for LEARN IT | BUILD IT | MANAGE IT

This Fall,  don’t miss your chance to experience LEARN IT | BUILD IT | MANAGE IT Part 1 in Orangeville, Waterloo and Guelph!

This year, topics will be on Alternative Financing for Capital Projects and Engaging Community in Capital Projects with presenters from Community Forward Fund and Cobalt Connect.

Date: Tuesday, October 22, 2019
Time: 9:30 a.m.  – 3:00 p.m.
Location: Theatre Orangeville
Host: Theatre Orangeville
Register HERE!

Date: Tuesday, November 19, 2019
Time: 9:30 a.m.  – 3:00 p.m.
Location: Visitor & Heritage Centre
Host: City of Waterloo
Register HERE!

Date: Thursday, February 27, 2020
Time: 9:30 a.m.  – 3:00 p.m.
Location: 10 Carden
Host: Guelph Arts Council
Register HERE!


Alternative Financing for Capital Projects

While securing funds to renew and develop creative spaces is often top of mind for arts leaders, the answer is never simple. In this session, we will explore alternative funding and financing methods that can help creative spaces support their projects. Drawing on recent examples and local successes, Julia Vlad, the Vice President of Lending for the Community Forward Fund, will offer insights and alternative strategies to finance capital projects.

Julia Vlad leads the investment and portfolio management for the Community Forward Fund and the Canadian Co-operative Investment Fund. She has over ten years of experience in banking, finance and the non-profit sector. Her experience includes investing and portfolio management at the World Bank’s private sector arm, IFC, in Panama, Senegal and USA; advising social entrepreneurs at an accelerator in Nicaragua and financial analysis and forecasting at Scotiabank. She holds an MBA from HEC Paris, a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Toronto and is a CFA charter holder.

Engaging Community in Capital Projects

When building or renovating a creative space, uncovering and integrating community needs are essential for the success of a project. In this session, Jeremy Freiburger, Chief Connector and Cultural Strategist of Cobalt Connect, will be sharing strategies and recommendations for engaging the local community in capital projects and developing creative spaces around community needs.

This session is intended for non-profit arts, culture, heritage, faith and community organizations looking to engage community in their current or upcoming creative space project.

Jeremy Freiburger is the Chief Connector and Cultural Strategist of Cobalt Connect. Jeremy has been a leader in Hamilton’s creative community for over 15 years. His experience ranges from producing award-winning theatre and ballet with the RBC Festival of Classics and Canadian Ballet Youth Ensemble, to developing more than 200,000 square feet of studio facilities, to writing policy and plans for municipalities focused on creative sector development.

Focusing primarily on regional and municipal partnership development, and organizational development, Jeremy is the founder of Cobalt Connects. Jeremy has spoken at dozens conferences on the subject of creative community economic development, and has sat on many boards and committees including the Our Cultural Community Committee (Chair, City of Hamilton Cultural Plan), Supercrawl, CANVAS and the Bay Area Restoration Council.

Announcing new Interim Executive Director at ABO

ArtsBuild Ontario (ABO), through Board Chair, Chris Loreto, would like to announce that Executive Director Patricia McKinna, has departed ABO to begin her new role as Executive Director at the Siminovitch Prize. The Board of Directors thanks Patricia for her contributions to ABO and wishes her well in her new capacity. Alex Glass, Program and Assistant Executive Director, will be assuming the role of Interim Executive Director, effective immediately. Details regarding a call for a permanent Executive Director will be released in the fall.

Ms. Glass has been an integral part of the team at ABO since January 2015, having held roles in marketing, communications and programming, and most recently as Program and Assistant Executive Director. In this role, she has successfully launched new programs under funding from the Department of Canadian Heritage, Ontario Trillium Foundation, Canada Council for the Arts and Province of Ontario. In addition, she has provided leadership to our creative hub space at 44 Gaukel.

Ms. Glass can be reached at 519.880.3670 ext 103 or

Lindsay Golds, former Executive Director will be working directly with Alex and the board of directors to assist with this transition.


ArtsBuild Ontario is the only organization in Ontario dedicated to realizing long-term solutions for building, managing and financing the sustainable arts facilities needed in Ontario communities. We are a non-profit arts service organization that provides organizations with training, tools and resources that support the development and management of creative spaces such as theatres, galleries, concert halls, museums and other creative spaces.

44 Gaukel Street
Kitchener, Ontario N2G 4P3