Painting the arts green: our 5 favourite picks from Resource Library

Environmental Art
Environmental Art at Swarm Gallery, San Francisco. Photo credit: Moe Beitiks.

There’s no doubt that the bond between culture and environmental sustainability is a strong one. Arts and culture organizations have the power to incite a positive public response to ecological sustainability. Arts organizations in Ontario and beyond are integrating innovative ways to cut down on their carbon foot print and establish a greener culture inside and outside their creative walls.

In celebration of Earth Day, here’s a list of our favourite Green Resources from ArtsBuild’s Resource Library that might just inspire your organization’s next green project.

Beyond Green: Toward a Sustainable Art. This compelling book introduces a new generation of international artists who combine the concepts of sustainable design and contemporary art. Paul A. Kay, Chair of Environment and Resource Studies at the University of Waterloo, notes in his review that the book itself is made with paper certified by the Forestry Stewardship Council and its inks are soy-based. He writes that “in addition to the 20-plus pieces described, the book itself and the museum spaces that house the exhibition represent a commitment to ‘green-ness.’” If you’re looking for insight on how to take a creative approach to greening your space, this book should be next on your reading list.
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Going Green on a Nonprofit Budget. We like this presentation so much because it clearly spells out the environmental and financial benefits of switching over to green operations. Plus, donors want to support nonprofit organizations that take a proactive lead on environmental stewardship.
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Artscape Wychwood Barns Green Design. When Artscape imagined the transformation of Wychwood Barns, they envisioned an environmentally sustainable facility. They restored a century old street car repair station, and designated heritage site, into the multi-faceted cultural hub for artists, nonprofits, and other culture groups that it is today. Some ecological sustainable features include geothermal heating, storm water harvesting and re-use system, energy efficient lighting and water-conserving plumbing fixtures. Read more on this unique culture spot’s green story here:

Sustainable and Maintainable: Achieving Two Goals.  As your organizations starts to take infrastructural steps toward energy conservation, it’s good to know what projects to take on and what questions to ask during the process. This article tackles the two sided spectrum of maintaining sustainable buildings as well as focuses on HVAC systems and building automated systems. It also offers some good insights into LEED certification projects.
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Is your arts organization thinking about taking on an energy conservation project? ArtsBuild will be announcing its next energy conservation initiative in just a few weeks, so stay tuned for updates!


Take our quick energy use survey!



As an arts/cultural facility we need to understand how much energy your building uses every year!

We need to understand how many KW/H your building uses in a year, as per your hydro bill.

We have put together a brief FOUR question survey – your answers will help us advocate for additional resources to assist our organizations in taking advantage of all incentive programs/opportunities available to reduce your consumption = saving you money every year!

Please find your most recent hydro bill and click the link below!

In 2014 as part of our Energy Conservation program at ArtsBuild Ontario, we provided small project grants to organizations to complete needed projects that would result in a reduction in energy consumption in their facilities. We also held two Dollars to $ense workshops for our arts organizations to help them identify ways in which they can save money by making ‘green’ improvements in their facility.

ArtsBuild would like to continue our investment in supporting our organizations in making these energy efficient improvements and finding ways to make them affordable. Understanding your energy consumption can help support our case for more resources for our sector.

ArtsBuild will be launching a new program in partnership with Community Forward Fund in a few short weeks – stay tuned!

Spring up your next capital project with PLAN IT | BUILD IT

Have a renovation or addition in store this spring? With warm temperatures right around the corner, weather conditions are becoming more ideal for arts organizations to tackle facility projects of any size.

PIBI_4clr…But a lot of us don’t really know where to start. Have you thought about conducting a needs assessment? Or putting together a project team? Making a solid case for support to your Board of Directors? Usually capital projects are a once in a 10 year deal, so organizations want to make sure they know the ins and outs of their facility project plan and what it really entails.

Any facility project phase, especially in the arts, is a complex and non-linear process. The good news is PLAN IT | BUILD IT was designed specifically for arts organizations and put together by industry professionals with extensive experience in managing complex planning processes, and advancing projects to meet time and cost goals. Oh, and it’s free to use. Arts organizations can easily access PLAN IT | BUILD IT through ArtsBuild Ontario’s website.

PLAN IT | BUILD IT contains four streams to fit any arts organization’s project scale:

  • New Construction: see the entire process and get started on planning a project and building a team.
  • Large Renovations & Additions: guides you through how to manage the changes that accompany large renovations and additions.
  • Small-to Medium-Sized Renovations: a detailed look at small to medium sized renovation projects and guides you through the process so your renovations stay small to medium sized!
  • Operations & Maintenance: see how operating and maintaining buildings for arts and culture deserves just as much, if not more, attention than projects that result in new buildings.

PLAN IT | BUILD IT is really easy to use. It intuitively takes you through the site by dividing content up by phases. That way, you can take your time to make sure you’ve covered each step to ensure your capital project is a success.

So while you’re planning your next renovation, addition or just looking to maintain your building’s operations, make sure you check out PLAN IT | BUILD IT first.

RL_1clrYou might also like our Resource Library for all things related to building, managing, greening and financing arts facilities.


Some Love for SpaceFinder Toronto…

SFTO HeartIn the spirit of Valentine’s Day, we’re sharing some of the reasons why we and our users LOVE SpaceFinder Toronto.

Greater revenue potential. “As we celebrate our 10th anniversary year as a self-sustaining research and performance space, SpaceFinder Toronto has increased our rentals by 25% in only a couple months and connected us with new renters from various artistic disciplines. SFT’s greatest asset is its fluid administration system, which has helped us cut back on our work load and allowed us to continue serving the artists of our community.” – Kate Nankervis, Co-Artistic Director, Hub14

Getting noticed and sharing resources. “SpaceFinder Toronto has been an unparalleled resource for Cahoots Theatre Company in getting our name out there and sharing our resources with not just the artistic community, but the broader community of Toronto as a whole. We’ve had more people walk through our doors and utilize the creation studio for a wide array of uses than we’ve seen in years – we are very grateful to be part of this excellent initiative bridging communities and reshaping the landscape of space for the greater public good.” – Jivesh Parasram, Creation Studio Facilitator, Cahoots Theatre Company

Over 150 search criteria. “We are loving SpaceFinder Toronto! Their database and search engine are great resources that help connect us with the customers who need exactly what we offer.” – Vikki Velenosi, Artistic Producer/Manager, The Box Toronto: Studio and Theatre

New audiences. “The Array Space provides an affordable home to a large arts community and it’s the space rentals that make this possible. SpaceFinder brings new people into our space… A few weeks ago a mother from Trinity Bellwoods rented The Array Space for her daughter’s ‘Sweet 16’ all-girl DJ party. They loved our great disc collection, dance floor, projectors and new theatre lights — and we loved the sweet neighbourhood hookup. Thanks SpaceFinder!” – Sandra Bell, General Manager, Array New Music Centre

SpaceFinder Toronto is a state of the art online venue finder that helps arts organizations showcase the venues they have available for rent, and helps renters of creative space easily find what they need.

If you’re interested in bringing SpaceFinder to your community, email Lindsay MacDonald, Director of Programs, at