On April 9, ArtsBuild Ontario set out on the first of nine Sustainable Creative Spaces sessions to engage communities on a conversation about arts facilities. We invited funders, municipal employees involved in culture and related departments, facilities managers and of course leaders of arts organizations – some who operate or wish to operate in a facility of their own. In all the communities so far we tried to host the session in an arts space to inspire the conversation and keep us engaged.
ArtsBuild operates out of Waterloo and often travels to Toronto for meetings, but this was our opportunity to visit other communities and have conversations with organizations that we might not otherwise and of course see their facilities.
In a one on one conversation I had while in Thunder Bay an arts volunteer asked if the conversations had been different across the communities I had been too and my initial response was “No, it’s quite consistent”. On my flight back from Thunder Bay I realized that that response was not entirely true. Although similar themes had reappeared in the six communities we had visited so far (Mississauga, Hamilton, Kitchener/Waterloo, Sudbury, Orangeville and Thunder Bay), each community has its own unique set of circumstances, projects, investments and passions. Each space we visited in the various communities had its own fascinating story, sometimes a struggle and sometimes a triumph. While it was a day shaped around conversations amongst the arts community and its stakeholders, we made time to visit arts facilities and to talk one on one.It was during these meetings that the conversations were able to come alive.
In response to these unique and community minded spaces we began to profile these and other arts spaces around the province in our case study series so that the rest of the arts sector could learn about what other spaces are doing, how they are doing and what made it possible. The Making Spaces for Art series is a great way to get a snapshot of the creative and passionate work done by the arts sector across the province.
We are going to finish off the sessions by visiting Kingston, Windsor followed by Toronto in the New Year. At the end of all of these sessions we are going to summarize the findings for all nine communities and pull out the collective needs and successes of all nine communities. We are here to advocate for the arts spaces in Ontario so we will be presenting this report to relevant funders so that they can hear what these communities had to say.
Our next stop is Kingston on November 6th – if you are in Kingston – hope to see you there!
If you are from Kingston or Windsor and are part of the arts community and in an arts space contact firstname.lastname@example.org, to reserve a seat and be a part of the conversation. Summaries from the first four sessions can be found HERE.