ABO Responds to Ontario’s 2018 Budget

On Thursday March 28th, the Province of Ontario released their 18/19 Budget.

As anticipated there was no new news of a standalone Provincial Infrastructure fund that would support the infrastructure needs of our creative spaces province wide.

It did quietly acknowledge the Bilateral Agreement between the Feds and the Province that was announced back in summer 2016. This agreement, would see a joint fund created every year for the next ten years that would provide funds for cultural infrastructure. You can read the bilateral agreement in its entirety here. ABO met with the Chief of Staff of MTCS on January 15th and provided them with these recommendations, to inform the criteria of the fund.

Specifics about criteria and application should be released by fall of 2018. In the meantime, ABO is working with Ontarians for the Arts to communicate our recommendations to MTCS to ensure an accessible and relevant fund for our creative spaces province wide.

In addition to the bilateral agreement, they did announce that they will be allowing the City of Toronto to identify qualifying arts facilities, and provide them with up to 50% property tax reductions (see page 296 of the Budget). While this is Toronto specific, it does bode well in providing other cities and communities a precedent to advocate for similar reductions in their communities.

We are hopeful with the introduction of the bi-lateral agreement, but still believe strongly that the province should maintain, its own, capital infrastructure fund to continually support the infrastructure needs of our creative spaces province wide. ABO will continue to advocate for this fund.


Workshops and Webinars happening in April!

 

The Learning Series is a collection of learning opportunities for arts facilities around ArtsBuild’s core programs, including SpaceFinder, the Arts Facilities Mentoring NetworkEnergy Conservation and Asset Planner for the Arts.

Check out upcoming workshops:

Creative Space Rentals Workshop Series – Ottawa
Date | Tuesday, April 17th, 2018 | 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM EST
Location | Bytown Museum (1 Canal Ln., Ottawa, ON K1P 5P6)
Register Here!

Creative Space Rentals Workshop Series – Sudbury
Date | Thursday, April 26th, 2018 | 9:00 AM – 3:30 PM EST
Location | Laurentian University McEwen School of Architecture (85 Elm St, Sudbury, ON P3C 1T3)
Register Here!

Check out our upcoming webinar:

Free Webinar: Balancing Programing and Space Rentals
Wed. April 25, 2018 | 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM EST
Register Here!

Have questions about our Learning Series? Contact alex@artsbuildontario.ca!


ABO Blog: Philadelphia’s Sacred and Creative Spaces Uncovered

 Through support from the Metcalfe Foundation and project leadership of Trinity St. Paul’s and Faith and the Common Good, ArtsBuild Ontario and the Toronto Arts Council travelled to Philadelphia to see how their sacred spaces are evolving to also be creative spaces. Our aim was to investigate how sacred spaces are working with arts organizations to transform their facilities into spaces that also serve the creative community.

Philadelphia was our first city stop in exploring communities outside of Toronto that are adapting or repurposing sacred spaces for artistic use. There are already some examples within the province of sacred spaces working alongside arts organizations in one shared facility. But we wanted to explore how other communities outside of Ontario are approaching this model, how they are thriving and what challenges they are facing. From site visits and meetings with both sacred space administrators and arts organizations, our goal is to better understand where our sacred/creative spaces are headed, in Toronto and across Ontario. We wanted learn how arts organizations and sacred spaces are operating in the same space, exercising respective mandates, and sustaining their practices.

It is not new news that artists and arts organization are actively using sacred spaces for their work. More and more, we are seeing arts organizations hosting performances, rehearsals, workshops and meetings in churches – the space is often available and creatives need it.

Philadelphia has a number of historic structures, including many churches that span from one to two hundred years old. The population is dense and diverse throughout the city’s neighbourhoods. As parish numbers decreased, some churches opened up their doors to other community organizations as well as local arts groups. Other church buildings have become adaptive reuse spaces for artists and arts organizations.

Philadelphia is also the home base for Arts in Sacred Places – a branch of Partners for Sacred Places that brings together artists and arts organizations that need space for rehearsals, studios, performances, offices and other functions with congregations and houses of workshop who have unused or underused space. Through past work with scared spaces in Philadelphia, Arts in Sacred Places took us to a number of churches that are operating both as functioning parishes and arts spaces. They also showed us a few adaptive reuse creative spaces of former churches that have been renovated for arts organizations and entrepreneurs.

While we saw a number of sacred spaces in Philadelphia, we wanted to share three spaces that stood out to us during the trip.

Christ Church Neighborhood House
The Neighborhood House was built by the Christ Church parish in 1915 to serve the residents of the industrial Old City. Eighty years later, local artists seeking unusual, flexible and affordable space discovered the building. Today the Neighborhood House serves cross-disciplinary performing artists, offering subsidized performance and rehearsal rentals. They have a 2000 square foot theatre, a Great Hall, sanctuary, and meeting room available to rent. They have over 50 artists and ensembles using their space each year.

Fleisher Art Memorial
Fleisher Art Memorial is made up four heritage buildings including the St. Martin’s College for Indigent Boys and Church of the Evangelists. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Fleisher Art Memorial has fully adapted a church, college and two roadhouses into a nonprofit community art school. The school has studio spaces available to rent, exhibition space which displays student and community works, and a sanctuary that actively houses art programs. The sanctuary is a striking space, with the original walls, stained glass and pulpit  in place from 1884-1886.


Calvary Centre for Culture and Community
The Calvary Centre for Culture and Community is the operating body of the Calvary United Methodist Church. Located in West Philadelphia, the church has positioned itself as a community hub, serving over 5,000 members each year. The church is still active, but after congregation numbers began to decrease, they opened their doors to artists, community organizations and other religious groups to use their facility. They currently use the Chapel as rehearsal and worship space for Jewish, Muslim and Christian groups. Meanwhile, their sanctuary holds a fully erected black box theatre where their resident theatre company rehearses and performs. The rest of the facility provides ample space for rehearsals, twelve steps groups, refugee groups and so much more.

These are just three examples of sacred spaces evolving into creative spaces, and yet they remain diverse in how they operate and who they serve. The biggest commonality in all the spaces we visited in Philadelphia was the strength and sustainability that arts organizations and sacred spaces found in partnership with one another. Rather than go at it alone, we saw churches leverage the space they have by inviting artists and creatives to make a home in their facility – and in most cases, both are helping each other to fulfil a mandate to serve their communities with the arts. We also saw some great examples of former churches that have become adaptive reuse spaces for artists and creatives.

We will be on the road again to other cities outside the province to see how their sacred spaces are incorporating arts and culture within their walls. Following our research, a final report of our findings will be shared with the public.

We look forward to sharing highlights from our next trip in the New Year – stay tuned!


Announcing SpaceFinder York Region!

ArtsBuild Ontario, in partnership with the York Region Arts Council, Town of Newmarket, Town of Richmond Hill, City of Markham and Toronto and Region Conservation, are pleased to announce the upcoming launch of SpaceFinder York Region in Spring 2017.

SpaceFinder offers a large-scale solution for artists and creative spaces in York Region. Billed as an “air bnb” for artists, SpaceFinder is a free online tool for artists to search for space, and for creative spaces to promote their rentals. SpaceFinder is designed to help increase the visibility of creative space, helping artists easily find space, and helping venues promote their under-utilized rental space.

Created by Fractured Atlas, a non-profit arts service organization based in New York, SpaceFinder is a first-of-its-kind online service that enables venues to market their spaces by creating listings with photos, rental rates and equipment, and uploading a digital calendar to the website. Artists and renters can search for creative workspaces that meet their needs based on location, price, amenities and up-to-date availability.

SpaceFinder first launched in Canada in November 2014 with SpaceFinder Toronto. Since introducing the tool to the city’s creative community, it has become a primary resource for artists to discover creative space. SpaceFinder is currently active in three Ontario regions, including Toronto, Hamilton and Waterloo Region. The site is also active in British Columbia, Alberta and Manitoba, as well as 15 U.S. cities.

The York Region Arts Council has partnered with ArtsBuild Ontario to deliver this tool in addition to community partners; Town of Newmarket, Town of Richmond Hill, City of Markham, and Toronto and Region Conservation, to bring this tool to the community. SpaceFinder York Region is funded in part by the Government of Canada.

SpaceFinder York Region is accepting space listings! If you have a creative space to list, please visit spacefinderyorkregion.org.

Quotes:


 

“SpaceFinder York Region will provide creative spaces with a new avenue to promote rentals and expand audiences. We are so pleased to be working with York Region Arts Council and all our local partners in bringing this important resource to the creative community.”
Lindsay Golds, Executive Director of ArtsBuild Ontario

“One of the challenges York Region artists and arts organizations face is a perceived lack of space. Though the Region does not have an abundance of traditional arts and cultural venues, there are many alternative spaces that have the potential to be used in new and innovative ways. We are thrilled to partner with ArtsBuild Ontario and our community partners to bring SpaceFinder to York Region’s creative community. It’s a big step forward in our efforts to provide more accessible space for artists, cultural organizations and creative entrepreneurs.”
Samantha Wainberg, Executive Director, York Region Arts Council

 


Blog Post: Arts Day on the Hill Recap

Advocacy is an important piece of ArtsBuild’s work on behalf of arts organizations in Ontario. Last week, we joined arts advocates across the country for #ArtsDay on the Hill -a national  day of arts advocacy organized and led by the Canadian Arts Coalition. Over 160 artists, arts managers and board members of arts organizations participated, making it the largest attended Arts Day to date!

20161024_190216

On Monday night before Arts Day, arts advocates gathered for a training session hosted by the Canadian Arts Coalition (CAC) to prepare speaking points for our meetings with MPs. The energy and passion in the room from arts supporters across our nation paired with guidance from the CAC prepared us to head into our respective meetings.

Three speaking points from the CAC were:

  1. Thank you for the arts and culture investments in Budget 2016 ($1.87 billion over five years)
  2. Short-term investments from Budget 2016, in the Cultural Spaces and in the Showcasing Canada programs, need to be extended and sustained beyond two year.
  3. The Digital Culture consultations are an essential process between government, industry, and artists – the Canadian Arts Coalition wants to ensure that artists are part of the conversation

Arts Day was an opportunity to advocate for the important work happening in arts and culture organizations in Canadian communities with these three key messages from CAC – and a large item on the list was an increased investment in the Canada Cultural Spaces Fund. Teamed with PACT, Mirvish and the Canadian League of Composers – we met with two Members of Parliament: Scott Duvall, MP of the Hamilton Mountain and Kyle Peterson, MP of Newmarket-Aurora – both supporters of the arts in their communities.

artsday

ArtsBuild spoke to all three speaking points, with emphasis on the importance of extending funding in the Canadian Cultural Spaces Fund to Phase 2 of the Government of Canada’s Infrastructure plan. We stressed that the extension needs to be included in Budget 2017, so that arts organizations can begin feasibility studies on their capital projects.

Arts Day was an exciting and essential initiative to participate in – especially since this year’s messaging tied closely to the advocacy work of ArtsBuild. We would like to thank the Canadian Arts Coalition for organizing this important and vital day of advocacy for arts and culture!