Artscape is Canada's leading practitioner in multi-tenant space development for the arts and culture sector. Their projects have been catalysts for regeneration and have helped stimulate some of Toronto's most vibrant and creative neighbourhoods.
A critical mass of artists flocks to an area near the downtown core of a city to take over the loft-y, open spaces that can be mixed-use for studios and living. Not five years later, the gentrification train begins to push them out as more people begin to frequent the area, full of character and low rent. The influx of people pushes the rent to rates unreasonable for the very artists who made the area so desirable to begin with.
Artscape, Toronto's glory story (in any of the following categories: arts & culture, social entrepreneurship and city revitalization) is pushing back the gentrification train by making accessible some of the most unique (read: historic) buildings in the city's core.
The hypothesis and governing organizational philosophy being: Cities need art and artists need cities. This is their recipe for vibrancy, and it works. When visiting Toronto, among the must-sees are some of Artscape's buildings, like Wychwood Barns: a defunct streetcar barn converted into a mixed-use community gem that includes a food program, farmers market and subsidized housing for artists.
I lived across from and quietly admired an Artscape building for three years before knowing it was an Artscape building. This is how well they've integrated. These beacons not only keep artists in the core of the city and in their communities, but they also keep the integrity of some of our most cherished historical buildings, ones that might otherwise by razed for condos.
Mixed use art hubs: an example of vibrancy in my city.