With arts organization Artscape in receivership, there is concern that cultural facilities and artists’ residences across Toronto, including the prominent and beloved Wychwood Barns, are at risk.
Local city councillor Josh Matlow addressed the Wychwood issue in a recent statement.
“I am happy to report that Mayor Olivia Chow is actively working toward a resolution to protect both the residential tenants and the business operators and artists who would be impacted by Artscape’s failure,” said Matlow.
Furthermore, a fundraiser has been launched at Canadahelps.org to maintain the operations of Artscape’s artist affordable housing, live/work studios and community spaces, all of which play a crucial role in nurturing Toronto’s vibrant artistic scene.
“Locally, I am working closely with the Wychwood Barns Community Association to support the tenants, but also to ensure that the many events that our community values, such as the farmers market, continue for many years to come,” explained Matlow. “I will be certain to provide an update once I hear more from the mayor’s office.”
Artscape, as of August 2023, managed 14 projects, including live/work spaces, community cultural hubs and the renowned Artscape Daniels Launchpad (ADL), which fosters creative sector entrepreneurship.
With a portfolio of 265 affordable rental and ownership spaces for artists and artist-led families, along with 125 commercial tenancy spaces, Artscape serves as a cornerstone of Toronto’s cultural landscape.
In a statement on Sept. 5, Artscape expressed gratitude for the support of the City of Toronto, TD Bank, other lenders, funders and the community.
“Collaborative efforts are underway to explore solutions that allow these essential creative spaces to continue their support for artists and creatives while addressing the financial challenges at hand,” the statement reads, in part.
The Wychwood Barns is a former streetcar facility that was repurposed as an arts and cultural centre and a popular event venue in 2008.
The Barns includes spaces for 26 artist live/work studios, 15 artist work studios and nine non-profit arts and environmental organizations.