LEARN IT | BUILD IT | MANAGE IT is a two part workshop and webinar series that will be offered over 2019-21 in the communities of Kitchener, Cambridge, Orangeville, Waterloo and Guelph. This workshop series covers four key areas that support creative space capital projects: alternative financing, community engagement, building and maintaining creative spaces.


LEARN IT | BUILD IT | MANAGE IT PART 1 will offer two sessions on Alternative Financing for Capital Projects and Engaging Community in Capital Projects.

Alternative Financing for Capital Projects

While securing funds to renew and develop creative spaces is often top of mind for arts leaders, the answer is never simple. In this session, we will explore alternative funding and financing methods that can help creative spaces support their projects. Drawing on recent examples and local successes, Julia Vlad, the Vice President of Lending for the Community Forward Fund, will offer insights and alternative strategies to finance capital projects.

This session is intended for non-profit arts, culture, heritage, faith and community organizations looking for solutions to financing their current or upcoming creative space project.

About our Presenter Julia Vlad

Julia Vlad Julia leads the investment and portfolio management for the Community Forward Fund and the Canadian Co-operative Investment Fund. She has over ten years of experience in banking, finance and the non-profit sector. Her experience includes investing and portfolio management at the World Bank’s private sector arm, IFC, in Panama, Senegal and USA; advising social entrepreneurs at an accelerator in Nicaragua and financial analysis and forecasting at Scotiabank. She holds an MBA from HEC Paris, a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Toronto and is a CFA charter holder.


About the Community Forward Fund

The Community Forward Fund (CFF) is an $11 million fund that provides loans to organizations that are committed to making a difference in their communities. We provide loans tailored to the needs of non-profits, Charities and social-enterprises – flexible financing that supports the delivery of their mission and growth of enterprises. We also build financial capacity through financial reviews and coaching services. To date, CFF has advanced $18 million in loans to over 45 organizations across 8 sectors and 7 provinces and territories.


Engaging Community in Capital Projects

When building or renovating a creative space, uncovering and integrating community needs are essential for the success of a project. In this session, Jeremy Freiburger, Chief Connector and Cultural Strategist of Cobalt Connects, will be sharing strategies and recommendations for engaging the local community in capital projects and developing creative spaces around community needs.

This session is intended for non-profit arts, culture, heritage, faith and community organizations looking to engage community in their current or upcoming creative space project.

About our Presenter Jeremy Freiburger

Jeremy Freiburger is the Chief Connector and Cultural Strategist of Cobalt Connects. Jeremy has been a leader in Hamilton’s creative community for over 15 years. His experience ranges from producing award-winning theatre and ballet with the RBC Festival of Classics and Canadian Ballet Youth Ensemble, to developing more than 200,000 square feet of studio facilities, to writing policy and plans for municipalities focused on creative sector development.

Focusing primarily on regional and municipal partnership development, and organizational development, Jeremy is the founder of Cobalt Connects. Jeremy has spoken at dozens conferences on the subject of creative community economic development, and has sat on many boards and committees including the Our Cultural Community Committee (Chair, City of Hamilton Cultural Plan), Supercrawl, CANVAS and the Bay Area Restoration Council.

About Cobalt Connects

Cobalt Connects is a non-profit arts service organization designated by the Ontario Arts Council. Cobalt Connects was initially created to address the need for affordable artist studios and cultural spaces, but has grown over the past fifteen years into a dynamic organization with expertise in cultural programming, research, and implementation.

Dividing its activities into four core areas (Space, Exchange, Consulting and Public Art), Cobalt Connects is actively playing a role in developing cultural capacity in Hamilton, Burlington, Brantford, Barrie and dozens of other municipalities each year.  Our on-the-ground experience in arts programming and implementation combined with our extensive research and policy development with municipalities makes us a unique partner for a wide variety of projects.



Date: TBA
Time: TBA
Location: The Cambridge Centre for the Arts
Host: The City of Cambridge


LEARN IT | BUILD IT | MANAGE IT PART 2 will offer two sessions on Building Creative Spaces and Maintaining Creative Spaces. Registration will open in Fall 2020.

Building Creative Spaces

Whether a new build or a small to medium size renovation, navigating the construction of a creative space is a complex and non-linear process. In this session, Randy Dalton from The Dalton Company will use local examples to offer strategies for creative space managers to successfully execute building projects on budget and on time.

Maintaining Creative Spaces

After the completion of a building project, managing a space proactively and sustainably should be an ongoing consideration for arts leaders. In this session, participants will learn how to identify their facility needs and explore best practices for managing the implications of long-term operations. Using pertinent examples from the sector, Bryn Jones from WalterFedy will present practical and efficient methods that art leaders are using to manage their spaces and assets.

Presenter details, registration times and locations will be posted in Winter 2021.

Date: TBA
Time: 10:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Location: Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery
Registration Details: Coming Soon

Date: TBA
Time: 9:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Location: Visitor Information & Heritage Centre
Host: The City of Waterloo
Registration Details: Coming Soon

Date: TBA
Time: 9:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Location: Theatre Orangeville
Further Details: Coming Soon

Date: TBA
Time: 9:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Location: 10 Carden
Host: Guelph Arts Council
Registration Details: Coming Soon

Date: TBA
Time: TBA
Location: Cambridge Centre for the Arts
Host: The City of Cambridge


For LEARN IT | BUILD IT | MANAGE IT webinars, please refer to ABO’s Webinars webpage.

This program is presented in partnership with the Community Forward Fund, Cobalt Connects, the Dalton Company and WalterFedy

LEARN IT | BUILD IT | MANAGE IT is generously supported by the Ontario Trillium Foundation


Sustainable Creative Spaces

In 2013, ArtsBuild gathered and shared insights from eight communities in Ontario. At each stop, Sustainable Creative Sessions were opportunities to engage local leaders, arts organizations, municipalities, funders and other decision makers in a conversation about the successes and challenges of building, managing and financing sustainable creative spaces.

ArtsBuild has completed all eight sessions. See below for each of the cities and to read the reports from each community. Participants and readers are able to share experiences within each community as well as learn about ArtsBuild’s innovative new programs that can be applied to the facility needs in communities like yours. We thank everyone who took the time to participate in each of these community engagement sessions!