Saturday, February 4, 2023

First Step Underway For New Arts Hub

As the cost of living goes up and up, it’s not just the wallets of individuals feeling the pinch. In the same way it’s getting harder and harder for families to afford the security of a space to call their own, artists and arts organizations are also having the same trouble. Pandemic recovery, already challenging from an almost two-year pause and starts and restarts in the sector, is made more difficult by the lack of affordable spaces.

On top of this, as cities grow, it becomes more and more challenging to find a space. The end result is that a spirit of collaboration and cooperation that often organically comes when artists and organizations are in close proximity to eachother, disappears. Opportunities are lost, and a sector becomes fragmented.

Enter Industry.

Formed in 2017, the multi-arts company not only performs and collaborates with other artists and organizations, but has also been providing mentorship and funding to artists and undertaking studies on how to make arts spaces more accessible, welcoming and safer for all.

Their latest project, led by the Bespoke Collective and made possible with the support of the Hamilton Community Foundation and the Canada Council for the Arts plans to lay the foundation- somewhat literally- for the potential of a new performing arts centre in Hamilton.

“This is a pivotal moment for the performing arts sector that demands new ways of thinking about how cultural spaces serve and build community.” said Bespoke Collective Co-Founder Christina Bagatavicius. The Collective has worked on the planning of a number of culturals spaces, including Ontario Place, Brampton’s Performing Arts Division and the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

This first step is a pre-feasibility study to gather data on the needs and priorities of Hamilton audiences, artists and cultural workers. The results will provide an insight into the values, perspectives and goals of the arts community with a focus on community needs, programming goals, spatial requirements and cost analysis. Following the conclusion of the study, Industry promises a public sharing event.

In addition to Industry and the Bespoke Collective, project partners also include the Hamilton Festival Theatre Company (HFTco), Hamilton Centre for Civic Inclusion, GoodBodyFeel, Berkeley North and The Safer Spaces Project.

As an incentive to complete the survey, entrants have the chance to win a $100 gift card. Surveys take 5-10 minutes to complete and are confidential. To participate in the Hamilton Performing Arts Hub survey, please visit Industry’s website.

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