Vibrant Communities In Focus
Image Credit: Ian Taylor
[Artscape: Gibraltar Point Centre for the Arts]
“Space in the city is at such a premium. How incredible is it that within ten minutes of downtown we can have artists working at a lovely, quiet island retreat. It’s such a gift, for them and for us all.”
Liz Kohn is the director of communications at Artscape, a non-profit group that helps artists and arts organizations find space in downtown Toronto. One of Artscape’s most successful projects is the Gibraltar Point Centre for the Arts. The Toronto Island Public and Natural Science School was threatened with demolition in 1999 when Artscape came to the rescue. Using grant money from the Ontario Trillium Foundation, Artscape was able to develop a plan to convert an old school into a new space for artists.
“We take old buildings and give them a new purpose. The Island school was a huge space: thirty-five thousand square feet. The Trillium money helped us develop the building plan and encouraged other investors to come forward. We have incredible studios, an artist residency program, a lodge and a retreat centre. It’s a magnificent space and artists like Alistair Dickson, the fellow you see in the photograph, work here, creating wonderful sculptures like the one that looks like Lucy with bug eyes. He worked on an animation film that won a Jury Prize at the 2002 Cannes Film Festival. Grants from Trillium aren’t just dollars and cents. They are gifts that can lead to wonderful art and thinking outside the box and the exchange of ideas: that’s vital for a vibrant community.”