Artscape Sandbox, the newest project for creative placemaking organization Artscape, celebrated its official opening last night. A veritable who’s who in the arts and cultural sector, development industry, funding partners and municipal dignitaries attended, refusing to let a potential hurricane keep them away. They gathered to launch the 6,000 square-foot performance and event venue at 301 Adelaide Street West, which will serve as a much-needed affordable venue for artists, community members, grassroots groups and small organizations. Private and corporate groups can also support these vibrant community groups through the building’s social enterprise model, a win-win for everyone, which the evening’s speakers and performers conveyed. See the event photo gallery at bit.ly/sandbox-opening-gallery.
The evening, hosted by d’bi.young anitafrika (Artistic Director, The Watah Theatre), began with a reflective Indigenous welcome by Duke Redbird, and set of powerful performances curated by Mahlikah Awe:ri Enml’ga’t Saqama’sgw and featuring Coty Zachariah, Jennifer Alicia Murrin and Malakai Daybutch honoured the space’s roots as a gathering place of the Mississaugas, the Haudenosaunee, the Anishnaabe and the Huron-Wyndat Nation.
Speakers included Robert Foster (Chair, Artscape Board of Directors), Tim Jones (CEO, Artscape), Adam Vaughan (M.P. Elect, Spadina-Fort York), Councillor Joe Mihevc (St. Paul’s West, City of Toronto) and Niall Haggart (Executive Vice President, The Daniels Corporation). The party continued with performances by The Watah Theatre’s Raven Dauda, Faduma Mohamed and d’bi.young anitafrika, as well as music presented in collaboration with Wavelength Music by Eucalyptus/Brodie West, Most People and DJ Mikey Crichton. The evenings’ performances aptly showcased the possibilities of the gorgeous new space.
Artscape Sandbox, located in the heart of Toronto’s Entertainment District, was developed by Artscape with partners at The Daniels Corporation and the City of Toronto, funded in part by the Government of Canada and supported by a Community Advisory Committee, who helped shape the vision for the space. “As people in the real estate community are fond of saying: location, location, location,” said Artscape CEO Tim Jones. “We are thrilled to be able to make this space available right next to TIFF in the heart of the Entertainment District and we can’t wait so see how artists and others bring it to life.”
Artscape Sandbox is located within the podium of the Cinema Tower condominium residence developed and built by The Daniels Corporation. “We couldn’t be happier to see Artscape Sandbox come to life,” said Niall Haggart, Executive Vice President of The Daniels Corporation. “With Daniels Spectrum in Regent Park, Artscape and Daniels created a new destination on Toronto’s cultural map. Now we’ve created another. We’re all looking forward to the events and cultural offerings that come to life in this space.”
“Artscape Sandbox is an exciting new addition to our downtown community – it will not only provide creatives spaces right in the heart of downtown, but its social enterprise model will help ensure accessibility,” said Councillor Joe Cressy (Trinity-Spadina, City of Toronto). “As we continue to grow, it is important that we build liveable communities that include vibrant and accessible spaces – Artscape continues to be an important partner in this project.”
Already well-known in its infancy, Artscape Sandbox has had the honour of hosting a diverse array of exciting events in its first month of operation including Reelworld’s Films With Impact, Kids Help Phone’s BroTalk launch, several performances presented by FADO Performance Art Centre including solo performances by Dorothea Rust (Switzerland) and Victoria Gray (UK) in partnership with VIVA! Art Action as well as LEGS, TOO, a staggering relay featuring 59 artists presenting 59 eight-minute performances over the course of eight hours.
“The malleability of the space and its location in ‘The Mirvish Zone’ will allow us to create an important work that is unique and accessible,” said Michael Wheeler, Artistic Director of Praxis Theatre. “Artscape Sandbox is positioned to be a leader in supporting artists and the community at large and I am thrilled to be using the space.”
The opening of Artscape Sandbox also marks the start of two new programs for artists: the Artscape Sandbox Creation Initiative and the Artscape Sandbox Resident Teachers Initiative, whose participants will be developing and presenting exciting and innovative artistic projects in 2016. In September, Artscape released a call for submissions for these programs, which were assessed by the Artscape Sandbox Programming Advisory Committee. Last night the inaugural participants were announced. “We are thrilled to offer such an exciting group of artists the chance to utilize Artscape Sandbox to its fullest creative potential,” said Natasha Mytnowych, Managing Director of Artscape Sandbox and Artscape Youngplace. “Artscape created these unique programs to support the innovative ways that artists are exploring new ideas and engaging the community.”
Artscape Sandbox Creation Initiative
The Artscape Sandbox Creation Initiative provides artists with space to meaningfully develop and present new artistic projects and to grow further resources for large-scale creation projects. The inaugural Artscape Sandbox Creative Initiative artist participants are:
- Amelia Ehrhardt
- Sook-Yin Lee
- Jaclyn Blumas
- Carlos Bulosan Theatre
- UnSpun Theatre
- Wild Rabbit Dance Projects
Artscape Sandbox Teachers in Residence
The Artscape Sandbox Teachers in Residence program provides space for instructors and facilitators to offer new connections to the community through unique experiences that focus on inspiring creation and learning. The inaugural Artscape Sandbox Teachers in Residence are:
- Kristin Lindell
- Ana-Marija Stojic, Tijana Spasic and Marie Sotto
- Charles Gao and Tafiya Itiaba-Bayah
Also unveiled during the opening celebration was the art installation Brief Encounters, which transformed each spacious, accessible washroom at the facility into a work of art. Curated by Mytnowych, the permanent exhibition features vinyl wall art by Dan Bergeron, Derrick Hodgson, Melissa Fisher-Rosenberg, Kirsten McCrea and Walter Scott.
Designed by Kirkor Architects, with interior design concept by +tongtong, and guided by the construction expertise of Goddard Construction, Artscape Sandbox was specifically built for flexibility. Outfitted with a grid system, theatrical lighting system and adjustable risers, the space is ideal for musical and theatrical performances, while the facility’s central location and on-site paid parking make it an in-demand hotspot for meetings and presentations, as well as product launches and after-work social events. As a multi-purpose performance and event venue, Artscape Sandbox can be booked through ArtscapeSandbox.ca.
Artscape Sandbox is the fifth space in Artscape’s portfolio of social enterprise performance and event venues, which also includes Daniels Spectrum in Regent Park, Artscape Wychwood Barns in the St. Clair/Christie area, Artscape Youngplace in West Queen West and Artscape Gibraltar Point on Toronto Island. Operated as social enterprises, these facilities support community organizations and generate income through a sliding-fee scale for venue rental.
For artist bios and more information, please click here.