As someone who lives a skip and a jump away from this gorgeous old school on Shaw Street, I was elated to find out that Artscape was taking it over. The organization describes themselves as a “leading practitioner in multi-tenant space development for the arts and culture sector, successfully transforming a portfolio of underutilized buildings across Toronto into dynamic community assets.” How I think of Artscape is, “Yay, my neighbourhood just got way cooler.” 

They are responsible for some of the most vibrant spaces in this city, including my favourite, Artscape Wychwood Barns. The 60,000 square foot space, once a TTC streetcar repair terminal, is a richly diversified hub for positive community activity. Beyond providing live-in studio space for artists, there is ongoing arts and music programming for all ages, gallery space, successful environmental initiatives, a weekly farmers’ market, ever-busy playground for children and one seriously kick-ass dog park. It’s exactly what you want to live near to and I have no doubt that Artscape Shaw Street Centre will, likewise, become just that. 

This Saturday, take a stroll with your coffee and check out what this 100 years old building looks like before the $13M reno kicks in. Explore the abandoned school, meet young artists from SKETCH, an organization that creates art-making opportunities for homeless or at-risk youth, check out some papermaking demos by Paperhouse Studio or join Inter-Galactic Arts Co-op for physical games in their new studio. Guided tours will also be winding around the hallways and talking about the forthcoming renovations. 

I think this opportunity sounds pretty neat-o and a perfect way to spend a chill Saturday.

Saturday, April 9, 2011, 11am – 3pm
180 Shaw Street (North of Queen St. W), Toronto, Ontario