Last updated on April 19, 2014 at 13:20 EDT

Repurposing Schools as Cultural Spaces

October 31, 2013

Artscape hosts free webinar November 6 at 1 PM EST

TORONTO, Oct. 31, 2013 /CNW/ – A global leader in creative placemaking,
Toronto’s Artscape is hosting a free webinar on Repurposing Surplus
Schools as Cultural Spaces on November 6th at 1 PM, Eastern Time.
Leading the discussion are Celia Smith, Artscape Executive Vice
President; Pru Robey, Director of Artscape’s Creative Placemaking Lab;
and Wendy Holmes, Senior Vice President, Consulting & Strategic
Partnerships, Artspace USA. The session will feature short
presentations by the panelists on unique approaches to the adaptive
reuse of surplus schools for arts and cultural uses, followed by a
facilitated discussion and Q+A session with webinar host Pru Robey.
This webinar is open to all, and registration is available online at http://surplusschools.eventbrite.ca.

In Canada, a school closes every week, and 175 schools in Ontario were
declared surplus between the years of 2009 and 2012. Communities large
and small in Canada and the US are facing the unique challenge of how
to re-purpose school buildings that are often large, empty, and
situated in residential locations. Artscape’s Repurposing Schools
webinar will outline examples, benefits and challenges of re-purposing
school buildings, as well as addressing the essential role of
partnerships and community engagement in the process of redevelopment.

“There has been an explosion of interest in the creative community’s
role in driving growth, change, transformation and the new economy.
Many communities struggle with the challenge of translating the new
interest in creative cities and economies into targeted strategies,”
said Pru Robey, Director of Artscape’s Creative Placemaking Lab. “This
webinar will answer the questions we hear most from city builders and

Artscape has blazed trails in the adaptive reuse of schools — projects
that present rich opportunities for communities across the country.
Artscape Youngplace is the organization’s latest project, and serves as
a superb example of the vast potential that repurposed schools
represent. After sitting vacant for more than a decade, the century-old
former Shaw Street School (at 180 Shaw Street) has undergone a $17
million transformation to become a new community cultural hub opening
to the public on November 19th. The reinvigoration of this 75,000
square foot community gem has taken many years and involved hundreds of
stakeholders in a process that will ultimately deliver a facility
designed to meet the community’s needs and provide sustainable space
for the arts, culture and creativity in Toronto’s West Queen West

Artscape Youngplace is the second repurposed school project in
Artscape’s portfolio, alongside Artscape Gibraltar Point, the former
historic Toronto Island Public and Natural Science School. Both
projects represent the revitalization of community gems and the
important provision of creative space to support and enable local arts
and culture. These repurposed school projects have mobilized the
creative community, local residents, city-builders, public and private
foundations, as well as philanthropists and corporations, resulting in
a triple-win solution:

– A win for the creative community in creating a mix of affordable
spaces for arts and culture

– A win for city-builders in addressing a development challenge in
an innovative way

– A win for past, present and future community members in preserving
and enlivening a precious piece of shared heritage

This is the fourth in Artscape’s series of free webinars presented in
partnership with ArtsBuild Ontario exploring new approaches and models
for the development of cultural space. Artscape is uniquely positioned
to deliver these learning opportunities; with over 25 years of
experience in creative placemaking to share, and growing a community of
practice is central to its mandate. Collaborating with local partners
and experts across Canada and the USA in this project has resulted in
four exceptional learning opportunities for participants. The final
installment addresses a topic of critical importance and great
potential for engaging art, culture and creativity as catalysts for
community vibrancy, sustainability, prosperity and inclusiveness.

Members of the media wishing to participate in the free webinar are
asked to contact Barb Besner, Program Manager, Creative Placemaking
Lab, at barb@torontoartscape.on.ca to receive a media registration and pre-webinar briefing.


Artscape Youngplace Media Backgrounder provides extensive information on the Artscape Youngplace project, and
can be downloaded at http://torontoartscape.org/artscape-youngplace/media-resources

Artscape Gibraltar Point opened in 1999 after extensive community consultation. The case study
of this project can be found at http://www.artscapediy.org/Case-Studies/Artscape-Gibraltar-Point.aspx

Keywords/tags: Creative placemaking, arts and culture, Artscape Youngplace, Flex
Studios, creativity, Toronto art scene, making space for creativity,
180 Shaw Street, revitalization, city-building

About the Presenters

Pru Robey joined Artscape in 2007 and takes the lead in new project research and
development and major research initiatives. She led the research,
partnership development and sector engagement process to build the
vision and case for Daniels Spectrum, a cultural hub in Toronto’s
Regent Park neighbourhood, and is now leading Artscape’s efforts to
develop a major new facility to support creative sector
entrepreneurship while also exploring the development community
cultural resources in Toronto’s priority neighbourhoods. Pru has
advised communities across Canada on cultural facility development and
strategies to support creative placemaking and directs a suite of
programs and services at Artscape designed to build the capacity of
communities to undertake creative placemaking projects.

Celia Smith joined Artscape in 2008 with overall responsibility for the areas of
finance, communications, human resources, and fundraising through the
Artscape Foundation. In addition to managing the ongoing operations of
Artscape, she takes a lead role in current and future capital projects,
particularly in the areas of fundraising, financing, budgeting,
funding, legal, and management. She was lead project manager for the
Artscape Triangle Lofts project, and was part of the management team
for Daniels Spectrum and Artscape Youngplace. Prior to joining
Artscape, Celia was the Executive Director of ArtsBuild Ontario, and
spent 15 years at The Canadian Stage Company, ultimately as the General
Manager. She has been a consultant in the areas of marketing,
fundraising and strategic planning to small and large arts
organizations across Canada.

Wendy Holmes grew up in Illinois and moved to Minnesota to attend Macalester
College, from which she graduated cum laude with a BA degree in music.
Before joining Artspace in 1999, she worked in the development
departments of Minnesota Public Radio (1983-90), Walker Art Center
(1990-92), Macalester College (1992-94) and the Science Museum of
Minnesota (1994-99), where she co-directed a successful $100 million
capital campaign for a new museum overlooking the Mississippi River in
downtown Saint Paul. As Senior Vice President for Consulting and
Strategic Partnerships, Wendy oversees a staff of four that identifies
new communities and new opportunities for arts-related real estate
projects across the country. Wendy has become a national resource for
information about urban redevelopment issues and has been interviewed
by many local and national publications.

About Artscape

Artscape is a not-for-profit urban development organization that makes
space for creativity and transforms communities.

Canada’s leading practitioner in multi-tenant space development for the
creative and cultural sector, Artscape develops and manages unique
facilities that deliver sustainable and below-market production,
rehearsal, exhibition and living space for creative practitioners,
entrepreneurs and cultural organizations. Since 1986, we have helped to
stimulate some of the city’s most creative and vibrant neighbourhoods
with dynamic community assets and cultural hubs such as Daniels
Spectrum: a cultural hub in Regent Park, Artscape Wychwood Barns,
Artscape Distillery Studios, Artscape Gibraltar Point and multiple
projects in the thriving artistic communities of West Queen West and

Artscape is widely recognized as an international leader in creative
placemaking, a practice that leverages the power of art, culture and
creativity to catalyze change, growth and transformation of
communities. Our success is driven by our ability to work effectively
across disciplines to align values, leadership, investment and public
policy. We work constantly to expand our portfolio, share our expertise
and advance the field, offering training, mentoring and coaching, and
learning opportunities through Artscape’s Creative Placemaking Lab.
Artscape offers countless tools, case studies and how-to guides on www.artscapediy.org.

For more information on Artscape visit www.torontoartscape.org.

SOURCE Artscape

Source: PR Newswire