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Front Of Artscape Youngplace, 3 Story Brick Building With Glass Windows

The Transformation Continues: Artscape Youngplace Progress Report

We’re more than halfway through a $15-million renovation to repurpose the historic Shaw Street School into Artscape Youngplace. When the facility opens in late Fall 2013, it will become the largest cultural institution in West Queen West and Artscape’s fourth building in the neighbourhood! Keep reading for an update on the building’s construction, the artists and organizations that will be moving in, and some innovative programs that are coming down the pipeline.

After more than a decade of sitting vacant, the Shaw Street School will open its doors again this fall as Artscape Youngplace, adding 75,000 square feet of production, rehearsal and exhibition space for artists and organizations right in the heart of Toronto’s contemporary art scene. The building will serve as an anchor for arts and the community in West Queen West, one of the country’s most creative neighbourhoods. As the area continues to grow and change, organizations like Artscape, Active 18, the Toronto Media Arts Cluster, The Theatre Centre, the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art and others are working hard to expand the amount of sustainable creative space available.

Read: “A Brief History of West Queen West”

Manifesto installs their INSIDE OUT project on the hoarding at Artscape Youngplace during Nuit Blanche 2011.

What will happen at Artscape Youngplace?

Artscape Youngplace will be a community cultural hub that brings together a dynamic mix of artists, arts organizations, community groups and the public. Read more about the five streams of activity that will enliven the building…

* Percentages are based on square footage

Art and Design Studios

A substantial portion of the facility is dedicated to art and design studios for individual artists; the former classrooms with their high ceilings and abundance of natural light create the ideal creative sanctuary. Some of the artists with studio space in the building include photographer Barbara Astman, concert pianist Eve Egoyan, painter and theatre designer Gerard Gauci, filmmaker Midi Onodera, curator Heather Nichol and photographer Vid Ingelevics. For the complete list of artists, click here.

Learning Labs

While the current Shaw Street School was built in 1914, the history of a school on the site dates back to 1857. As Artscape Youngplace, the old schoolhouse will continue its legacy as a place of learning. In their massive 7,500 square foot programming space, SKETCH will provide arts-based learning for homeless, street-involved and otherwise marginalized youth. Centre for Indigenous Theatre will deliver its three-year full-time professional training program that teaches aboriginal artists performance skills rooted in an indigenous cultural tradition.

A Showcase for Artistic Creation

Situated near the epicentre of Toronto’s contemporary art scene, Artscape Youngplace is an ideal location for showcasing creativity. Its expansive hallways will be repurposed as public galleries to create three floors of exhibition space. The ground floor will be home to the Koffler Gallery, a centre for cutting-edge contemporary Canadian Art, and the York Wilson Foundation, dedicated to exhibiting and bringing awareness to the work of the illustrious Canadian painter and muralist.

Social Heart

Artscape Youngplace will be a public gathering place, offering formal and informal programs and services to its communities. The former school will continue to be a welcoming place for families and kids, with the College-Montrose Children’s Place providing early learning and family resource programs and services for children, parents and caregivers in safe and stimulating environment.

Creation Labs

Three leading not-for-profit arts organizations dedicated to the creation and presentation of performing and visual arts will grow their practice on the ground floor of Artscape Youngplace: Small World Music Centre, a hub for global music; Inter-Galactic Arts Co-op, a dance and performance art centre; and Paperhouse Studio, Toronto’s first papermaking co-op. Each will offer public programming ranging from performances and exhibitions to workshops and professional development.

For a complete list of organizations, click here.



Transforming a Surplus School

Building demising walls inside a classroom that will become two units, January 2013.

We’ve completed approximately 70% of the renovation to bring the 99-year-old Shaw Street School into the 21st century. Much of the work has focused on reinforcing the structure and installing mechanical and electrical infrastructure. The basement has been waterproofed, there’s a new roof and drainage system, and more than 100 double-glazed windows in the original style have been installed. The beautiful Beaux-Arts façade has received a minor facelift and is now fully stabilized. An elevator will be installed over the summer, making the building accessible and relieving artists from carrying heavy equipment up to their third-floor studios.

Announcing Artscape Flex Studios

Shaw Street School during Art School Dismissed, May 2010

We’re excited to announce Artscape Flex Studios, a studio sharing program geared toward recent graduates and emerging artists who may not be able to commit to a full-time studio lease. Space will be shared through affordable memberships that range from day passes to more intensive studio time—hourly rates will be comparable to the cost of a fancy coffee. Each workspace will be semi-private and come equipped with a work surface, comfortable chair, lamp and easel. We are still exploring membership models and amenities for Flex Studios so stay tuned! You can sign up online to receive updates about Artscape Flex Studios in the months leading up to its launch.

Mapping Community Creativity

Community Cartographers map, via The Gladstone Hotel’s blog.

Community Cartographers is an interactive outreach project produced in partnership with SKETCH and supported by Councillor Mike Layton (Ward 19 Trinity-Spadina). The project seeks to map the human element of creativity with the community surrounding Artscape Youngplace. Community members are invited tell the Community Cartographers where they experience creativity by contributing to one of their posters that have been placed around the neighbourhood, filling out a survey, or submitting data on their website. Visit them online to find out more about how you can get involved.

Work Space Opportunities

Work space for artists, designers and arts organizations is in increasingly short supply in hot real estate zones like West Queen West. Artscape is selling approximately 30% of the building’s area as studios, offering artists and not-for-profit arts and community organizations the opportunity to own their own spaces. This gives professional creators the opportunity to build equity while injecting a portion of the funds required for the building’s renovation.

A few units are still available that are perfect for artistic creation and public programming. View the brochure to learn more!

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