ArtsBuild is very excited to be project partners with CoBalt Connects and Fractured Atlas in bringing SpaceFinder to Hamilton, Ontario. Following the success of SpaceFinder Toronto, Hamilton is the second city in Canada to offer this proven tool to its creative community. We thought we would share local leader CoBalt Connect’s latest blog post on what inspired them to invest in SpaceFinder for Hamilton.
If you are interested in bringing SpaceFinder to your city or region, feel free to contact our Director of Programs, Lindsay MacDonald at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Culture + Space
Cobalt Connects was originally founded as the Imperial Cotton Centre for the Arts back in 2004, and the work that informed our inception was started well before that as a project of the Hamilton Arts Council. After dozens of interviews with artists we created an artist-specific shopping list of space needs at the time.
How high do you like your ceilings? Do you use 3 phase-powered kilns? What makes a passable sprung floor? Do you require ventilation? Are you noisy? What neighbourhoods do you care for? What can you afford?
Out of this research we created an organization to address a physical space gap for the arts community – which led to focusing our attention on one address (270 Sherman) for the better part of 7 years. Here, we learned a lot about making space, activating it, and the amazing people (artist and not) who would engage in this environment.
Our learning has taken us in some pretty exciting directions over the years. We continued to develop spaces here in Hamilton (4 buildings and counting), but also act as advisors to community builders in other cities and towns throughout Ontario.
After spending 5 years getting the Studios at Hotel Hamilton on its feet we decided it was a time for change. Cobalt would no longer be an organization interested in a single space. We would now focus on what we call a continuum of space in Hamilton for creative people.
This means we need 300 square foot studios on James, and 4000 square foot shops on Sherman, theatres in the North, retail on Locke and Ottawa, church basements across the city, and stadiums… we won’t go there. For our sector to thrive we need cheap and dirty, swank and polished, free and weird, secular and sacred, and all points inbetween. Artists and creative people thrive uniquely – so we need a continuum of space that allows you to choose your moment and the space that matches it.
This is why we’ve brought SpaceFinder to Hamilton. In partnership with the City of Hamilton,ArtsBuild Ontario, and a super cool organization called Fractured Atlas from the US – it’s finally real. A project we’ve been watching since its beginnings in Philadelphia has now crossed the border and Hamilton is the second city to hop on with Cobalt at the helm.
SpaceFinder is building right now. It’s a free (and always will be free) online directory where space that is open to creative use can be listed, searched, and even rented on the spot. Presently we have about 40 published spaces that range from dance studios to store fronts, churches to historic sites. Another 20 are being worked on in the background. Our goal is 100 by September, 200 by December.
If you have space this is an amazing free tool to help you increase revenue, engagement, and creative output. If you’re hunting for a next festival venue, need a place to paint that next mural commission, or have a Fringe play to rehearse – this site is for you. It’s for all of you.
Culture + Space = Cobalt
Cobalt = SpaceFinder Hamilton
SpaceFinder Hamilton is a project of: