CSMN Mentee Spotlight: Hartmut Steinke, Heart Comonos

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 2020-21 mentee Hartmut Steinke, Executive Director of Heart Comonos learned from the program in many different ways.

heart comonos logo

1. What motivated you to sign up for the Creative Spaces Mentoring Network?
I first heard about the Creative Spaces Mentoring Network from my friend, Andreja Kovac, who is the Director of Crane Creations Theatre Company. Our project, Heart Comonos, is integrating the arts together with a number of sectors and partners including youth programming, therapeutics, spirituality, social innovation and community development with a neighbouring focus. Ultimately, we see the development of a community cultural hub in Cooksville-Mississauga. Heart Comonos comes from the Latin ‘together as one’. We are creating safe and inclusive spaces for people to connect, learn and collaborate for personal and community wellness. This is especially vital given the added stresses of the present COVID challenges. Andreja felt that this ArtsBuild mentoring would be a great experience for us to move our idea forward to reality and she was so right!

2. Who was your mentor? 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?
Olinda Casimiro, who is the Executive Director of the Art Gallery of Northumberland in Cobourg, is very knowledgeable and experienced in the sphere of the arts. She also brings a strong background in business and economics as well as understanding the kind of networking that is needed across sectors for a successful project. She has shared many insights and made many recommendations along the way which have been strategic in guiding our project forward.

3. How did your one-to-one meetings take place? What kind of structure did your meetings have?
Olinda and I meet via Zoom on average once or twice each month. Generally, I send Olinda a bit of a summary of what we are focusing on, and we then have conversations which include her helpful insights and experience. Our meetings are informal and very enjoyable, and it really feels like we are friends!

4. 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.
A couple of situations quickly come to mind. Early on, we thought we were ready to do a feasibility study and Olinda recommended a possible resource. It turned out that the person she recommended asked us some very strategic questions which actually correctly turned our attention to a different planning focus for our project. This has significantly changed the approach we are taking with our partners and with our engagement with the community.
Olinda has also kept a laser focus on the kinds of municipal and other stakeholder voices and representation that we need to have around the leadership table. Ultimately, we need the participation of citizens, organizations, and institutions each functioning in their most appropriate roles.

5. 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?
Without a doubt, this is a valuable learning experience. Collaboration across many sectors is the best path for creating a relevant and sustainable project.

6. Would you recommend this program to someone who was in your position a year ago? If so, why would you?
Absolutely I would recommend this program! Olinda ‘feels’ our project and at the same time brings a level of experience and objectivity that is so helpful.

7. If someone wanted to make the best use of the Creative Space Mentoring Network, what would you recommend to them?
I would suggest keeping your mentor well informed about your thinking, questions, plans, activities, progress, and challenges. It is a gift to have someone coming alongside to offer their wisdom and perspectives.

Hartmut Steinke, Executive Director of Heart Comonos

Interested in applying to our Creative Spaces Mentoring Network 2021-22 iteration? Learn more about the program here!

On Sale Now: Past ABO Webinars! Get $10.00 Off Regular Price

Starting today, all of ABO’s webinar recordings go on sale. Get them for $10.00 off for a limited time only! This includes the Creative Spaces Online Training Series and all of the Learn It | Build It | Manage It webinars. Keep reading to learn more about each series.

Creative Spaces Online Training Series

This training series is designed to support arts managers in building the core skills necessary to support capital projects and ongoing operations in creative spaces. Delivered by topic experts working in the sector, each module focuses on a topic area identified as the most integral to capital projects by ABO’s network of 2,500+ arts organizations.

The topic areas are:

  • Strategic Planning and Partnerships
  • Financial Management and Capital Projects
  • Campaigns and Community Engagement
  • Operational Planning Before, During, and After a Capital Project

Each webinar recording is currently on sale for $30.00 + HST each, or $100 + HST for all four!

Learn It | Build It | Manage It Webinars

In this webinar series, ABO joined with industry experts to prepare professional development on the full cycle of capital project work. From beginning to end. There were two webinars on each of the following topics:

  • Alternative Financing for Capital Projects
  • Engaging Community in Capital Projects
  • Building Creative Spaces
  • Maintaining Creative Spaces

All sessions include examples of projects within the arts sector, along with any additional content provided by the presenter. Each webinar recording is currently on sale for $30.00 + HST each, or $100 + HST for all four!

CSMN Mentee Spotlight: Anna Frlan & Kathy Bergquist, Studio Space Ottawa

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 2020-21 mentees Anna Frlan, Secretary and Board Member, & Kathy Bergquist, Co-Founder and President of the Board, of Studio Space Ottawa learned from the program in many different ways.

Studio Space Ottawa is a young arts services not-for-profit, the main purpose of which is to provide stable, affordable, open, and healthy and safe workspaces for visual artists. We’ve had a great start, and wanted to work with a mentor to help us think about ways to expand while ensuring our sustainability. We have been lucky enough to work with Tam-Ca Vo-Van from SAW Gallery and Project Space. She has led her organization through a transformation of their physical space and an expansion of their programs, and we admire the way she has worked at all levels to keep partners and the public fully engaged. SAW has a broader mandate than SSO, but there is enough overlap between the two organizations that Tam-Ca’s insights and experience have been very valuable. For example, SAW had a major capital fundraising campaign to expand their existing space and make it more functional; at SSO, we are in the midst of a capital fundraising campaign, and Tam-Ca has been able to offer us concrete advice complete with examples of what did and did not work for SAW, and because we are operating in the same city, and we are targeting a similar population, this experience-based advice is extremely useful. While SAW was able to access large grants, they relied heavily on grassroots-level fundraising, and that strategy enabled the public to feel deeply engaged with the project. This is something SSO is now looking to do.

We agreed from the outset to hold virtual once-a-month meetings; this way, we could check-in and just talk about whatever was going on in our organizations, or if we had a specific issue we were hoping to discuss, we could do that. This was so helpful during the pandemic, when just being in touch with another arts organization gave us a sense of community, and we could share experiences of how things were going, and offer each other encouragement. Everyone had to come up with ideas about how to weather this storm, and having someone to look to for guidance has been great.

Through the CSMN mentorship program and our work with Tam-Ca, we have greatly expanded our knowledge of different approaches to creating spaces for artists; probably one of the most important things we’ve learned is that there are so many different ways to go about it, and no matter what your specific situation is, there is a wealth of information to be gleaned from those who have gone through the process before you. Tam-Ca’s generosity in sharing her experience makes us feel more confident about asking for advice and really excited about sharing and collaborating with others to ensure we all contribute to building a more vibrant arts landscape. We would highly recommend the CSMN program to any organization that is just finding its feet or that feels it needs to shift gears, because its important to know that the arts community is generous, there are people out there with experiences to share which will benefit your organization, you don’t have to forge ahead alone! Be open, listen, and ask lots of questions, and you’ll find the CSMN program most valuable.

Anna Frlan, Secretary and Board Member of Studio Space Ottawa, and Kathy Bergquist, Co-Founder and President of the Board of Studio Space Ottawa

Now Hiring! Program and Communications Coordinator


ArtsBuild Ontario (ABO) seeks a Program & Communications Coordinator to fill a full-time position. The position will commence in mid-April 2021. ArtsBuild Ontario’s office is located in downtown Kitchener, and this position requires that the successful candidate be able to work at the office regularly during the week, although occasional remote work may be negotiable.

Reporting to the Executive Director, duties include actively supporting the Program Manager and the Executive Director in executing ABO program and project deliverables, managing all internal and external communications, and coordinating 44 Gaukel Creative Workspace activities.

Status: Full-time
Salary: $35,000-$38,000 (includes two weeks paid vacation)
Location: Kitchener, ON
Application Deadline: March 31, 2021

About ArtsBuild Ontario

Incorporated in 2006, ArtsBuild Ontario is a non-profit arts service organization dedicated to realizing long-term solutions to building, managing and financing the sustainable creative spaces needed in Ontario communities. Together with industry, non-profit, and government partners, ArtsBuild jointly and cost-effectively develops innovative tools, services, and resources to help over 3,000 arts organizations and managers across Ontario construct and operate the spaces they need.

ArtsBuild’s organizational model is one of collaboration and partnership. By forging relationships with leading community, non-profit, and private sector partners, ArtsBuild delivers programs for capital project planning, facilities management, sustainability, and financing.

Key Responsibilities


  • Assist Program Manager in program activity communications and record-keeping
  • Support online programming activities such as webinars and Zoom events
  • Use Eventbrite to manage program activity registration
  • Organize and maintain online learning tools and resources such as webinars, toolkits, case studies/reports, and resource platforms
  • Provide user support and maintenance of the Bricks&Mortar database and Vendor Directory
  • Grow ABO’s network as well as support outreach for programs and projects


  • Be the lead contact for all 44 Gaukel public inquiries, specifically rentals and leasing
  • Schedule and lead tours and/or onboarding visits for renters and tenants
  • Coordinate rental bookings including all policies, protocols, and access
  • Assist Executive Director and City of Kitchener staff with lease negotiations (new and renewals)
  • Day to day tenant management including , service requests, and troubleshooting
  • Invoice and payment management for renters and ABO tenants
  • Assist Executive Director with monthly tenant check-in meetings
  • Work with City of Kitchener staff to coordinate custodial services, security, internet, printer, and marketing initiatives
  • Keep rental and tenant records
  • Regular maintenance of the space, including tidying up common areas and maintaining rental spaces


  • Update ABO website as needed to best showcase ABO programs, resources, and projects
  • Update 44 Gaukel website as needed to best showcase spaces for rent and lease, as well as tenants


  • Develop and execute annual marketing plans for ABO and 44 Gaukel in coordination with the Executive Director and Program Manager
  • Use MailChimp to coordinate email outreach campaigns and monthly newsletters and maintain contact lists
  • Assist in phone outreach for ABO programs and activities
  • Design communications and promotional materials
  • Develop and steward promotional partner relationships to extend reach


  • Execute social media campaigns as per ABO and 44 Gaukel marketing plans
  • Assess and focus on platforms best suited for ABO and 44 Gaukel programs and activities

Skills Needed

  • Ability to work independently and within defined timelines
  • Ability to work efficiently and effectively with quick turn arounds
  • Well-organized and self-motivated who is attentive to detail
  • Able to multi-task and work well in a small team environment
  • Ability to learn on the job and problem-solve
  • Effective verbal and written communication
  • Excellent interpersonal skills
  • Design experience is an asset
  • Fluency in French and/or other languages is an asset


Provide proof of qualifications through previous experience, relevant post-secondary training, or a combination of both, particularly in:

  • Experience with administrative software, social media management platforms, and web-based communication programs
  • Social media in a business/professional environment
  • Database and information management
  • Website maintenance, specifically WordPress (experience with using and maintaining CMS Software like Joolma or Drupal an asset)
  • Customer service
  • Planning and execution
  • Arts and culture sector in Ontario


  • Fluent in English
  • Must be able to work on-site at the 44 Gaukel building in Kitchener, ON (not a remote work position), and have a reliable mode of transportation
  • Work may include occasional flexible hours, including evenings and weekends, depending on ABO and 44 Gaukel needs

ArtsBuild Ontario is an organization that is working to embed the values of individual and group differences within its working environment. We strive to embrace the diversity of backgrounds and perspectives of our staff, members, arts community, and partners. Indigenous peoples, people of colour, and people across the spectrums of gender, sexuality, age, and abilities are encouraged to apply.

If you have questions or concerns about accessibility throughout the hiring process, please email: diana@artsbuildontario.ca.

Please email your resume with a cover letter or introductory video outlining why you are the person for this position to Diana Moser at diana@artsbuildontario.ca. No phone calls please.


Apply Now for the LIBIMI Waterloo Virtual Consultative Sessions!

The ArtsBuild Ontario Learn It | Build It | Manage It Logo. Two squares facing each other at 45-degree angles. One square is green with an icon of two people inside, with a conversation bubble over them. The other square is blue with a cartoon representation of a building coloured white inside. There is a circle with an arrowhead surrounding the building. To the left of these squares is text stack vertically on top of each other "LEARN IT BUILD IT MANAGE IT".

Are you ready for Part 2 of our Virtual Consultative Sessions? ABO is looking for arts leaders and members of non-profit arts, culture, heritage, faith and community organizations in the Waterloo area who would like to participate in a one-on-one consultation with Randy Dalton of the Dalton Company, and Bryn Jones of WalterFedy. Presenters will offer guidance and perspective based on their expertise and pertaining to their session topics. These consultations are provided free of charge. There is no fee to apply and there will be no fee if you are selected!

Here is what an attendee thought of the Virtual Consultative Session for Cambridge:

“Great mix of some onscreen sharing and just being in dialogue. I really, REALLY appreciate the one-on-one consultation opportunity and working with both presenters in tandem. I think this enriches the conversation to play off of each other versus having silo conversations.”

– Kenn Norman | The Fashion History Museum

Randy Dalton will focus on the topic of Building/Renovating Creative Space, while Bryn Jones will focus on Managing/Maintaining Creative Spaces. The Waterloo Virtual Consultative Sessions are May 4 & 11 2021. Learn more about them here, or apply for a spot here.

Applications close on April 13, 2021.