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THE SCOOP | Toronto's Arts Community Dealt Significant Blow As Artscape Enters Receivership

By Anya Wassenberg on August 29, 2023

Artscape Wynchwood Barns (Photo: SimonP/CC BY-SA 3.0)
Artscape Wynchwood Barns (Photo: SimonP/CC BY-SA 3.0)

Toronto’s arts community is in shock as Artscape has announced that it will be been placed into receivership. In a Business Update published on their website, Artscape cites debt accrued, and the long recovery from the pandemic, as key factors.

The move comes after the organization instituted a financial restructuring plan which included the sale of their Artscape Daniels Launchpad property at 130 Queens Quay East.

That sale, valued at $34 million CAD, did not proceed as planned, and Artscape’s primary lender has initiated the move to receivership. The Globe and Mail cites a letter sent to tenants on August 28 where COO Kelly Rintoul indicates Artscape “was advised on Friday that we would not be able to secure the much-needed funds. The impact is Artscape no longer has access to cash and has become insolvent.”

What Is Artscape?

Artscape has served a key role in the Toronto arts and culture community for more than three decades by providing the spaces the sector requires for performances, rehearsals, artists living and working places. Currently, the organization manages 14 projects, which include live/work spaces, cultural hubs and other spaces used for the arts. The non-profit organization operates Artscape Youngplace, Gibraltar Point, Daniels Launchpad and Wychwood Barns, among others.

Artscape owns four properties which are operated largely through leasing arrangements, often with the City of Toronto. That includes 265 residential spaces, and another 125 devoted to commercial tenants. Through Artscape Daniels Launchpad, it serves 500 members, and provides hundreds of residencies as well as venue rentals.

The Fallout

The organization spells it out in their statement. “As a result of the upcoming receivership, Artscape will sadly need to wind-down our management of our spaces.”

They acknowledge the inevitable “disruption” that will take place in the facilities they have been managing, but vow to work with City and other stakeholders to make the transition as smooth as possible.

Just what that transition will entail is not known, but the organization’s statement ends on an optimistic note.

“Despite these financial challenges, our commitment to meeting the needs of artists and arts organizations that have relied upon Artscape for space, programming and other services remains strong and, through the receivership process, we will work with partners towards a model with strong oversight and financial stability that remains committed to this mission.”


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