About Artscape

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

Our work involves clustering creative people together in real estate projects that serve the needs of the arts and cultural community and advance multiple public policy objectives, private development interests, community and neighbourhood aspirations and philanthropic missions.

Artscape comprises Toronto Artscape Inc., Artscape Non-Profit Homes Inc. and Artscape Foundation. BC Artscape is an independent affiliate.

Since its beginning in 1986, Artscape has become 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 place. We achieve our mission through developing and managing a growing portfolio of unique cultural facilities—including community cultural hubs, multi-purpose creative spaces and artist live/work projects—and by delivering programs and services that create the conditions for artists to thrive.

Every day, Artscape spaces come alive with the ideas and passion of the organizations and people who work and/or live within our portfolio of buildings. Over 40 public venues pulse with the energy of hundreds of thousands of people who take part in exhibitions and performances annually, and the thousands more who participate in Artscape programs, tenant-driven activities and city-wide events. Every year, Artscape delivers a wide range of benefits, including:

  • $3.6 million in savings passed on to artists and organizations on commercial and residential occupancy costs*
  • Rental rates for artists and not-for-profit organizations 56% lower on average than rates from comparable commercial spaces in downtown and midtown Toronto*
  • Nearly $800,000 in total subsidies provided to not-for-profit organizations and grassroots groups through sliding-scale accessible rates to Artscape performance and event venue space*

Our success is driven by our ability to work effectively across disciplines to align values, leadership, investment and public policy. We work to constantly expand our portfolio and advance the field through sharing our knowledge with other creative placemakers.

* Figures from 2015; latest available


Our Approach

Creative Urban Development that Delivers a Quadruple Bottom Line

Artscape projects are built from the ground up with the support of their local communities. Steering committees containing representatives from the creative sector, residents, community leaders, and local BIAs help define the project vision and drive development momentum. Because all Artscape projects must function as self-sustaining social enterprises, these committees are not an exercise in "blue-sky" thinking--they're hard-working teams invested in the outcome of each project.

In Artscape’s unique social enterprise model, funds raised from a variety of public and private sources are leveraged to make the one-time capital investment required to open a new project’s doors to the public. Once operational, Artscape facilities are sustained through planned revenues generated from below-market rents, memberships and user fees. Long-term debt is kept to a minimum and ongoing operating subsidies are not required.

Our approach to development involves rallying artists, designers, urban planners, community activists, environmentalists, government officials, as well as community, economic, and real estate developers around projects where all parties benefit. This multi-stakeholder approach allows Artscape to design projects that deliver a "quadruple bottom line" (cultural, economic, social and environmental). Artscape initiatives often start with an exploration of what combination of art, culture, and creativity might add value to a building, development site or neighbourhood. Then, we look at how the project can support community and economic development and serve as the social heart of the neighbourhood. We always work to ensure that our projects are economically and environmentally sustainable.

Through its approach, Artscape has been able to elevate the aspirations of its work beyond serving the basic needs of creative practitioners and focus on unlocking the creative potential of people and places to build vibrant, resilient, and inclusive communities.