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!


Learning Series Returns to York Region!

 

Register today for our Space Rentals Workshop Series!

We know many organizations rely on rental revenues to support their creative operations. That’s why ArtsBuild Ontario is proud to present the Learning Series – a collection of learning opportunities for arts facilities around ArtsBuild’s core programs, including SpaceFinder! This webinar and workshop series will help support arts organizations and their creative spaces.

We are excited to bring the second of a two-day series of workshops back to York Region!

Managing Risk in Space Rentals
Wed. November 15 | 1:00 PM – 4:00 PM
Cost | $20.00 + HST
Location |  Elgin West Community Centre, Woodland Room
(11099 Bathurst Street | Richmond Hill, ON L4C 0N2)

What does it mean to manage risk in your rental space? What is your organization’s attitude toward potential hazards?

In this half-day workshop, we will cover what arts and creative venues need to know about operational, financial and legal risk when it comes to renting out space.

Our Managing Risk in Space Rentals workshop is open to all arts and creative venues currently offering space rentals. This workshop also serves as a useful tool for smaller/newer rental spaces expecting to grow and expand.

This is the second workshop of a two-part series of workshops on the topic of space rentals hosted by ArtsBuild Ontario in partnership with WorkInCulture.

Register Here!

Have questions about the Learning Series? Contact eilidh@artsbuildontario.ca!


Office Space Available at 44 Gaukel!

Are you an artist or in cultural industries? Looking for affordable office space? Want to work alongside other creative organizations?

44 Gaukel 2nd floor is home to more than 7 artists / arts organizations and shares the 11,000 square foot space with technology start-ups, shared bookable spaces and a rentable rehearsal space.

100.8 sq. ft. FURNISHED interior office space available! $350/month + HST – short term and yearly leases available!

Convenient location in downtown Kitchener steps from transit, City Hall and Victoria Park!

Included;

• Desk and chair for office tenants

• Fiber internet (suitable for VOIP)

• Coffee/tea service and kitchen amenities

• Cleaning service

• 24/7 access to your space

• Bookable board room, meeting room

• Access to rentable rehearsal space

If you are interested in renting, viewing the space or have any questions, please contact eilidh@artsbuildontario.ca

Find more details about the space here!


Call for Submissions | O GALLERY @ 44 GAUKEL

The O Gallery @ 44 Gaukel was created to provide public exhibition space for emerging and community artists in the City of Kitchener. A joint project of ArtsBuild Ontario, the City of Kitchener and supported by co-tenant the Accelerator Centre, the O Gallery @ 44 Gaukel offers a flexible space open to most artistic media and artists of all ages and experience.

Visual artists of all calibres are invited to submit proposals for the O Gallery @ 44 Gaukel for 2017-2018.

The O Gallery @ 44 Gaukel is available for 3-month or 6-month residencies by solo artists, collectives or community groups. More than one artist/collective may be selected to exhibit.

44 Gaukel is open 9-5 Monday to Friday. We encourage you to come see the O Gallery before submitting your proposal so that you are familiar with the space and the hanging equipment provided!

Please download the Call for Submissions application. Return completed applications to eilidh@artsbuildontario.ca with 6 to 10 examples of your work.

DOWNLOAD THE CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS

Having trouble with the form? Check out our Eligibility and Submissions Guidelines or contact eilidh@artsbuildontario.ca!


Announcing the ABO Vendor Directory!

…Now accepting vendor registrations!

ABO is excited to announce the soft launch of our newest online service – the ABO Vendor Directory!

The ABO Vendor Directory connects service providers (YOU!) with the creative sector! The ABO Vendor Directory allows arts organizations and creative spaces to find the vendors and service providers they need to support their creative spaces. This can include everything from engineers to contractors, to lighting and janitorial services!

The ABO Vendor Directory provides vendors with an opportunity to reach a unique audience of creators and their spaces. Vendors who have or are interested in working with this unique sector can highlight their services to arts organizations – who are actively looking for professionals to support their needs!

Why did we create the Vendor Directory?

We created the vendor directory because many arts organizations have expressed a need for an online resource to find professionals to support their organizations and creative spaces. Our goal is to make it easier for arts organizations to find the professionals they need, and for vendors to serve the sector.

Please share the news about ABO’s Vendor Directory widely with your network!
Have questions about the site or need help signing up? Contact Eilidh Fisher at 519.880.3670 ext 101 or vendor@artsbuildontario.ca.

 
Read more!