Register today for Creative Spaces Series Recap Webinar!

Couldn’t attend our Creative Spaces Brainstorming Workshop Interested in learning more about creative space capital projects across Ontario? Don’t miss our upcoming webinar Creative Spaces Series Recap: Brainstorming Workshop, Best Practices Report.

Creative Spaces Series Recap: Brainstorming Workshop, Best Practices Report
Presenter: Amy Poole, Program Manager, ArtsBuild Ontario
Friday, March 27, 2020 | Time: 12:00 p.m.– 1:30 p.m. EST
Cost: Free!
Register Here

This webinar features two parts:

  1. Recap of the Creative Spaces Brainstorming Workshop 2020 that occurred on Tues. Feb. 25, 2020
  2. Overview of the Creative Spaces Case Study Series Best Practices Report

Part 1: Recap of the Creative Spaces Brainstorming Workshop

ABO will cover the needs and common challenges identified by arts organizations during the workshop, as well as ideas and insights shared during the session. Furthermore, she will give a brief overview of the three capital project examples that were shared by panelists Nadine Baker, Facility Manager of the Tett Centre, Kendra Fry, General Manager at Trinity-St. Paul’s Centre for Faith, Justice, & the Arts, and Jaime Griffis, Director of Programming & Promotions at Idea Exchange.

In addition, we will provide a brief summary of the ‘Studio X’ presentation by Conestoga College students in the Bachelor of Interior Design (Honours) program, highlighting their mock plan to transform the former Schneider’s factory in Kitchener.

Part 2: Overview of the Creative Spaces Case Study Series Best Practices Report

The second part of the webinar will provide an overview of the Creative Space Case Study Series Best Practices Report. This report summarizes data on creative space capital projects collected from the following 19 organizations:

  • Al Green Theatre (Toronto)
  • Canadian Automotive Museum (Oshawa)
  • Carousel Players (St. Catharines)
  • Dundas Museum and Archives (Dundas)
  • Dundas Valley School of Art (Dundas)
  • FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre (St. Catharines)
  • Gallerie SAW Gallery (Ottawa )
  • Great Canadian Theatre Company (Ottawa)
  • Idea Exchange: Old Post Office (Cambridge)
  • The Lighthouse Festival Theatre (Port Dover)
  • Meridian Hall (Toronto)
  • Ottawa Art Gallery (Ottawa)
  • Stratford Perth Museum (Stratford)
  • The Tett Centre for Creativity and Learning (Kingston)
  • The Theatre Centre (Toronto)
  • The Thunder Bay Art Gallery (Thunder Bay)
  • Toronto Centre for the Arts (Toronto)
  • Trinity-St. Paul’s & Tafelmusik: Jeanne Lamon Hall (Toronto)
  • The Westdale Theatre (Hamilton)

We will provide a summary of the data collected from these organizations on their capital project needs, the process of how organizations executed these projects, how operations continued following these phases, and lessons learned. The Best Practices Report provides arts organizations who are considering or currently embarking on a capital project with examples of similar and differing projects, and can act as a guideline for arts organizations across Ontario.

This webinar is open to those who attended the Creative Spaces Brainstorming Workshop 2020, individuals who were unable to participate in-person, and anyone who is interested in learning about our Creative Spaces Case Study Series Best Practices Report.

This webinar is a part of ArtsBuild Ontario’s Learning Series, a collection of learning opportunities for arts facilities across Ontario. The Creative Spaces Case Study Series is funded by the Department of Canadian Heritage.


ArtsBuild Ontario Announces New Executive Director

Kristian Clarke, President of the Board of Directors of ArtsBuild Ontario (ABO) is pleased to announce the appointment of Alex Glass to the position of Executive Director.

Reporting to the Board of Directors, Ms. Glass will be responsible for the overall financial, strategic and operational leadership at ABO. Working closely with the Executive Committee and Board, she will grow and fulfill the goals of ABO’s strategic plan.

“The passion which Alex brings to this role is obvious. She is committed to ongoing growth in her new position. The arts community will benefit from her vision and work on behalf of cultural spaces in Ontario. The board is excited to move forward with Alex steering the ship.” – Kristian Clarke, President

Ms. Glass has been with the organization over five years and successfully secured funding from the Department of Canadian Heritage and the Ontario Arts Council. She has executed grants from both these funders as well as Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Trillium Foundation and the Accessibility Directorate of Ontario. Over the years, Ms. Glass has grown ABO’s programs, partnerships and contributed to increased revenues. She managed the development of the Accessibility Toolkit for Creative Spaces in Ontario and corresponding six-part webinar series, the Creative Spaces Case Study Series, and the expansion of SpaceFinder across Canada in 11 communities.

Bringing 14 years of experience in the non-profit sector, she has previously worked with organizations such as the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra, Talisker Players Chamber Music and Canterbury Hills Camp & Conference Centre. She has an honors degree in English and Cultural Studies from McMaster University and graduate certificate in Public Relations from Mohawk College.

Ms. Glass will be going on maternity leave as of May 29, 2020, returning in June 2021.

ABO’s Board of Directors has posted the position of Executive Director for a one-year contract to cover the maternity leave. Applications will be accepted until March 24, 2020.

Please join us in welcoming Ms. Glass into this role.

CSMN Mentee Spotlight: Sean Farrell, The Community Arts Council of Prince George & District

Interested in learning about what mentees have to say about the Creative Spaces Mentoring Network? Please read the following post-program testimonial with 2019-20 mentee Sean Farrell, Executive Director of The Community Arts Council of Prince George & District.


Having an opportunity to participate in the year-long Creative Spaces Mentoring Network program truly was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

As an arts administrator working in a remote Northern Canadian community, opportunities for regular meaningful dialogues with arts and capital projects colleagues can be few and far between. My mentor, Michael Tunney of the City of Mississauga was an amazing resource of knowledge and relate-able experiences, and over time, also became a source of familiar and personal support as I dealt with some unique localized challenges relating to my facility project. In fact, I would certainly say that my mentor’s suggestions, ideas and feedback helped us cross a finish line in getting approvals for our project.

A wonderful outcome of the mentorship was the establishment of a warm and supportive friendship with an continental perspective. I suspect perhaps that some of my issues and anecdotal references might even have provided a few new ideas to my mentor – and possibly a few smiles along the way. I was very pleased and happy that we were able to put
some discipline into our process – having regularly scheduled meeting times, diarizing our process, and ensuring that there was regularity to our interactions really allowed the process we undertook to result in tangible and practical suggestions and tips for my project.

My thanks and gratitude to the staff of ArtsBuild Ontario for facilitating this wonderful program and taking a
chance on bringing a non-Ontarian in on the fun!

-Sean Farrell, Executive Director

The Community Arts Council of Prince George & District


Interested in applying to our Creative Spaces Mentoring Network 2020-21 iteration? Learn more about the program here! Application deadline is Friday, March 13, 2020.

CSMN Mentee Spotlight: Matthew Fava, The Canadian Music Centre

The Creative Spaces Mentoring Network provides you with the unique opportunity of one-to-one mentoring with an experienced professional in the arts. In the following post-program interview, hear how 2019-20 Matthew Fava, Director of Ontario Region at The Canadian Music Centre learned from the program in many different ways.


1. What motivated you to sign up for the Creative Spaces Mentoring Network?
I felt motivated by many things. On a personal level, I arrived in my role as an arts administrator with no formal training. Drawing upon my experience in community-based media and art spaces, I felt confident with things like event coordination, workshop facilitation, building partnerships, volunteer and membership engagement, and so on. The practical aspects of managing a venue are something else entirely. Naturally, improving my own knowledge and skills became a factor for me, paired with a desire to better understand the wider field I work in.

In addition, I wanted to enhance my contribution to the Canadian Music Centre (CMC). We own and operate a heritage building in downtown Toronto, and I have become something of a default figure in the development of various systems for managing and enhancing our performance facility. Several years into the implementation of this performance facility, we do not have a clear operation plan for the space. Such a plan would help establish priorities and expectations, while balancing revenue-generating activities (rentals) with many of the programming streams that I get super excited about: residencies, community engagement, multi-day workshops, concert presentations, installations, and more.

Being able to augment the skills and perspectives of our staff team through a program like CSMN felt like a significant and necessary step.

2. Who was your mentor?
My Mentor for CSMN was Kendry Fry, the General Manager at Trinity-St. Paul’s Centre for Faith, Justice and the Arts.

3. Were they a part of the same industry/arts discipline as you? If not, were you still able to learn things applicable to your situation from your mentor?
In a way. It was clear from the beginning that Kendra had profound knowledge of venue/facilities management, and how to serve as an interface between communities (and artists) who are in need of space for creation and presentation, and the venue itself with its multitude of operational pressures.

My primary constituency at the Canadian Music Centre is (unsurprisingly) artists working with sound and music. While the CMC is a professional service organization, I am most compelled by our ability to create new and unprecedented connections across networks, disciplines, and communities in Toronto and beyond—at which point, the specifics of your medium (what you are doing) matter less than the values guiding your work (how you are doing it). Kendra’s insights on the “how” were wholly illuminating for me.

In her role, she will hold in her mind an artistic objective and then consider it in relation to organizational history and culture, current operational goals, and an inspired extrapolation of what kind of community we want to build for ourselves. Seeing the ways that Kendra applies that knowledge to wider research, consulting, and advocacy work on top of her role at Trinity-St. Paul’s was truly inspiring.

There was endless learning to be had.

4. How did your one-to-one meetings take place? What kind of structure did your meetings have?
Kendra and I would be in touch by email regularly to set up a monthly meeting. We started with a visit to Trinity St. Paul’s, and it was amazing to walk the building(s) with her. I could glean so much from her commentary, from passionate descriptions of various tenant relationships to casual remarks about plumbing systems. From there we began to set up a main focus for our monthly meetings: strategizing for major facilities upgrades, tracking and updating venue protocols, budgeting and big expenses, managing a staff team, and so on. Each meeting would last roughly an hour, and would allow time for branching off to encompass a great many other topics—Kendra was an attentive listener through all of my ramblings and would find ways to connect a random story about an East Coast music festival back to our discussion of venue and community.

I would encourage people to have a focus for the meetings, but always leave space for stories!

5. How did the knowledge gained from having a mentor, or how did your mentor directly, help you solve a challenge or issue you were having with your creative space project? Briefly explain the issue or challenge and how your mentor was a part of solving it.
I can speak mostly to my own challenge in navigating a mid-sized arts organization within the current climate of austerity, and I would liken my mentorship to every science fiction story that centres linguistics as the determining variable of our perceptions—Babel 17, Native Tongue, Story of Your Life, so on. Kendra’s guidance allows me to perceive and articulate the demands of the venue, and the communities we engage with. Likewise I am able to modulate and communicate this information in dialogue with board members, staff, community members, in order to arrive at a shared meaning.

6. Over the last year, how much has your knowledge of creative space projects changed and how much of that would you attribute to the mentoring network? Do you have more confidence moving forward in your project?
I would describe it as factorial growth on my part in the past year. I have gained a great deal of confidence, and I have gotten to the point where I can begin to pursue many of the other questions that proliferated as my conversation with Kendra unfolded.

7. Would you recommend this program to someone who was in your position a year ago? If so, why would you?
Most definitely. Apart from the individual and organizational benefits, it is significant to have administrators who often sit at a computer typing (a behavior I am currently modeling) exchange ideas and information in a different format.

And at this point in time, we all need to get better at knowing our limits and asking for help.

8. If someone wanted to make the best use of the Creative Space Mentoring Network, what would you recommend to them?
Budget the time. Put it in your calendar every month, and do not neglect it.

Find ways early on to connect your mentorship, and perhaps your mentor, with your team. Are there opportunities to have a few team members sit in for one of your mentorship discussions? If you are feeling passionate about a topic that comes up with your mentor, how might you bring that topic forward with your fellow staff and credit the mentorship?

Think actively about decision-making structures at your organization, whether there is a particular timeline for your project, and how you might engage with your mentor if for whatever reason things get held up within your organization.

Get to know your mentor. You can bring your full self, and aim to appreciate your mentor as a full person.


-Matthew Fava, Director of Ontario Region

The Canadian Music Centre


Interested in applying to our Creative Spaces Mentoring Network 2020-21 iteration? Learn more about the program here! Application deadline is Friday, March 13, 2020.

Announcing The Creative Spaces Case Studies Webinar Series!

The Creative Space Case Studies Webinar Series features case studies inspired by creative spaces across Ontario that have executed a capital project or renovation. Presenters, who are arts managers who have completed a capital project, will share their road map on how they started from the visioning/planning stage to designing/building to operating/sustaining their creative spaces. Both webinars are free and webinar participants will have the opportunity for questions.

Restoring and Revitalizing a 1934 Independent Cinema – The Westdale Theatre
Presenter: Fred Fuchs, Chair of Board of the Westdale Cinema Group
Wednesday, March 11, 2020 | 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. EST

Improving Venue Accessibility – The Al Green Theatre
Presenters: Peter Fehlhaber, Manager of Theatre & Bookings, MNJCC & Angie Stillitano, Director of Leadership Development & Organizational Transformation, MNJCC
Cost: Free!


Read the full descriptions, including biographs of the presenters on our webinar page.

These webinars are intended for arts managers interested in learning more about capital project development as well as the restoration and maintenance of creative spaces. There will be time for questions and discussion with the presenter following their presentation.

Additionally, a recording of the webinar will be e-mailed to participants. These webinars will be delivered through Adobe Connect. If you require a dial-in conference line or additional accommodations to participate, please contact

The Creative Space Case Studies Webinar Series is supported by the Department of Canadian Heritage.