Sunday, September 5, 2010

Urban Redesign and the Arts

Recently, I went to a friend's art exhibit at the Artscape Wychwood Barns, a multi-purpose, not-for-profit community centre, housed in a series of renovated streetcar maintenance barns built between 1913 and 1921.  Not only did I greatly enjoy her artwork, but I was introduced to a wonderful little corner of Toronto.

The site had lain unused for decades before it was redeveloped by Artscape over a period of eight years, with the help of many supporters.  It now contains affordable studio and living space for 12 organizations, 15 artist studios, and 26 artist familiers, as well as space that can be rented for occasions like my friend's art exhibit.  As a result of community and environmental involvement, this was the first heritage building in Toronto to receive LEED designation.

I understand from their web site that there was neighbourhood opposition to this development - isn't there always?  But from what I could see, this was a little gem hidden in my city.

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