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A Handbook for Vancouver Artists Seeking Affordable Studio Space Poon, Mona Apr 30, 2010

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      A Handbook for Vancouver Artists Seeking Affordable Studio Space By Mona Poon                  A Handbook for Vancouver Artists Seeking Affordable Studio Space  By Mona Poon B.A.Sc., McMaster University, 2007  A MASTER PROJECT SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS (PLANNING)  in  THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES School of Community and Regional Planning   We accept this project as conforming to the required standard  …………………………………………………………  …………………………………………………………   THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA (VANCOUVER)   April 2010 © Mona Poon, 2010   A Handbook for Vancouver Artists Seeking Affordable Studio Space   1 Table of Contents  Acknowledgements 3 Executive Summary 4 List of Tables and Figures 6 Introduction 7 Problem Statement 9 Research Questions and Objectives 10 Project Scope 11 Terminology 13 Methodology and Approach 14 Project Format: Handbook 15 Literature Review and Background Information 15 The Vancouver Case 20  Economic Profile of the Vancouver Artist 20  History of Live/Work Studios in Vancouver 22  City of Vancouver Land Use and Development Policies and Guidelines 23  City of Vancouver Initiatives in Affordable Artist Studio Space 25  Cultural Plans for Vancouver 26  Recent Vancouver Projects 28 Case Studies 32 UK – Village Underground (London) 32 UK – Acme Studios (London) 34 Canada – First Nations Co-operative (Victoria) 35 Canada – Artscape Triangle Lofts (Toronto) 37 US – Open Container V (Santa Barbara) 40 US – The Tilsner Co-operative & Artspace Projects, Inc. (Saint Paul) 41 US – BID Downtown Artist Spaces Program (New Rochelle) 43 US – Boston Artist Space Initiative (Boston) 45 A Handbook for Vancouver Artists Seeking Affordable Studio Space   2 Lessons Learned 48 Recommendations 50  For Artists/Co-operatives/Non-profits 50  For the City of Vancouver 51   Future studies and considerations 51   Policy and Zoning opportunities 53  For Other Interested Third Parties 54  On Partnerships 56 Conclusion 58 Bibliography 60 Appendix A 70                  A Handbook for Vancouver Artists Seeking Affordable Studio Space   3 Acknowledgements  This project would not have been possible without the assistance and support of many kind-hearted individuals.  Thank you to my friends and family who have been very understanding during this time and always available for consultation.  I am very appreciative towards Dr. Tom Hutton, my advisor, who has been open and encouraging from the beginning to end of this project.  Special thanks must be given to Jacqueline Gijssen and her Cultural Planning team for the essential advice they provided.  Last, but not least, thank you to all those who shared their personal stories on affordable studio space with me.  Without their collaboration, this project would not have been possible.             A Handbook for Vancouver Artists Seeking Affordable Studio Space   4 Executive Summary  Post-industrial cities experience physical changes as they transition from manufacturing-based economies towards knowledge- and culture-based economies. Vancouver is no exception.  In Vancouver’s post-industrial period, combinations of both market and planning forces have converted land use from industrial and commercial to residential use, causing an increase of housing close to the Central Business District (CBD), or downtown area.  The new buildings included increased amenities and design features that also increase the price of housing.  As more and more new housing develops, artists are sometimes directly displaced from their studios when the buildings they occupy are sold to developers for strictly housing use and artists are evicted.  More often, artists are indirectly displaced when they are unable to afford the new rent in a renovated building, or the local everyday amenities become too expensive.  In these cases, artists are forced to move further away from the CBD, or face drastic increases in rent to remain in the same area.  This problem will only be exasperated with time as housing prices have surpassed pre-recession levels and continue to climb. The average income of the Vancouver artist is $27,100 CAD, compared to $35,000 CAD for all BC workers, and $47,299 as the median household income in Vancouver.  Artists are at a disadvantage financially as they cannot afford to compete for living and working space with other Vancouverites in terms of price.  The City of Vancouver, individual artists and other organizations have strived to make affordable studio space possible for artists.  The City runs several initiatives such as an Artist Studio Award program and owns artist studios that are leased to the CORE artists’ co-operative.   Other individual artists have banded together and secured space by forming their own studio co-operative with the help of outside organizations. Some centres have also focused on sharing common space on a rental or membership basis.  To better understand the context of this issue in Vancouver, the City recently commissioned a study that produced the Cultural Facilities Priorities Plan 2008-2023 with the help of the local arts and culture community.  This study has identified that increased capacity building in terms of networking as well as facility skills is needed to further advance the progress on this issue.  To assist in tackling A Handbook for Vancouver Artists Seeking Affordable Studio Space   5 this issue, this project examines eight studies from other cities that have used innovative methods to ensure that affordable studio space is available for artists. Through an examination of the Cultural Facilities Priorities Plan as well as careful analysis of books, journals, newspaper articles, websites, policy documents and interviews, this study has found some measures that have been recently taken to address the lack of affordable artist studio space in Vancouver.  However, some problems still persist including a lack of communication and co-ordination of existing information for artists on this issue.  Also lacking is effective partnership between different groups interested in affordable studio space for artists.  Funding is another problem as the British Columbia provincial government does not have any formal programs for arts and culture infrastructure support, even though the highest relative concentration of artists in Canada are located in Vancouver.  Hill Strategies’ analysis of the 2006 Census found that artists comprise 2.35% of the population in Vancouver, compared to the second-highest concentration of 1.87% in Victoria and concentrations of 1.60% in Toronto and 1.53% in Montreal (Hill, 2009).  An emphasis should also be placed on creative approaches to securing long-term spaces for artists as short-term projects may only have a limited effect and could lead to increased gentrification in artist neighbourhoods.  A review and update of current policy and zoning bylaws would enforce compliance at development permit and construction stages so that appropriate studio spaces for artists are created.  A post- occupancy review of artist studios is also required to ensure that they are actually used by artists for the production of art.       A Handbook for Vancouver Artists Seeking Affordable Studio Space   6 List of Tables and Figures  Table 1: Median Household Income, Average Gross Rent  21 and STIR (rental) by Area, 2006  Figure 1: Vancouver Neighbourhoods 8 Figure 2: Artists as a Percentage of Labour Force in Vancouver FSAs 8 Figure 3: Eastside Culture Crawl Map, 2009 12 Figure 4: Concord-Pacific developments 17 Figure 5: Village Underground 33 Figure 6: Open Container V, from outside 40 Figure 7: Open Container V, from inside 40            A Handbook for Vancouver Artists Seeking Affordable Studio Space   7 Introduction  This research initially developed from a conversation with Valerie Arntzen, a local artist and the former Executive Director of the Eastside Culture Crawl Society (ECCS)1, in which this study researcher was informed about the lack of affordable studio spaces in Vancouver where artists could practice their trade.  This project investigates this issue, first beginning with the City of Vancouver’s recently created Cultural Facilities Priorities Plan, then extending to literature sources, case studies of how other cities have dealt with this issue and conversations with individuals that have been involved with the struggle for studio space. In post-industrial Vancouver’s current state of re-structuring and re- development, it is becoming more and more difficult for artists to secure affordable studio space, especially in the central areas.  An increasing number of new housing developments are being built on the highly valued land that artists occupy.  Artists tend to seek out space that is usually cheaper in price, within close proximity of the core downtown area(s), within walking distance of public transit, close to industrial land and usually in older buildings.  In Vancouver, artists tend to congregate in the Strathcona, Downtown Eastside, Grandview/Woodlands and Mount Pleasant areas as these areas satisfy all of the above requirements and also boast close proximity to the Burrard Inlet waterfront.  This area of high artist concentration (see area shaded red in Figure 2) was identified by Hill Strategies’ 2005 analysis of the 2001 Census (Artscape, 2008). Of course these highly prized areas are also of interest to developers.  One example of such a case began in November of 2007 where 30 studio artists were told that the owner Amacon wanted to convert their building at 901 Main Street into high- end apartments.  In an attempt to mediate the situation, the City of Vancouver negotiated an agreement with Amacon to allow the artists first rights of refusal for studio space at a second development site. 

 1 The ECCS originated as an annual 3-day visual arts festival organized by artists in Vancouver’s eastside.  It has developed into an organization that provides artist support the whole year round. 
 A Handbook for Vancouver Artists Seeking Affordable Studio Space   8  Figure 1: Vancouver Neighbourhoods Source: City of Vancouver, 2005 Figure 2: Artists as a Percentage of Labour Force in Vancouver FSAs2 Source: Artscape, 2008 

 2 FSA denotes Forward Sorting Area, the first three digits in the postal code. 
 A Handbook for Vancouver Artists Seeking Affordable Studio Space   9 Amacon and the artists tried to discuss the agreement but ended up in a stalemate upon the final price. Occupation in the new building would be accompanied by an increased cost of 70% of the artists’ previous rent due to higher common-area fees. Since these amenities are not of use to the artists, they were forced to find new studio space elsewhere when their lease ended in May 2009 (Werb, 2009; Meggs, 2009). 
 The increased number of redevelopments has a symbiotic relationship with increased real estate values that have changed the price points of the formerly affordable Vancouver artist areas of Strathcona, the Downtown Eastside, Mount Pleasant and Grandview/Woodlands.  Arntzen mentioned that she had purchased a Strathcona heritage home with four others as studio space in the mid-90s for $390,000.  As of November 2007, the home was valued at $1.5 million (Woolley, 2007). Redevelopment and increased real estate values are just two of the reasons why it has become difficult for artists to find affordable studio space.  Other reasons could be linked to restrictive land-use designations, municipal policies or high permit fees to secure and maintain a space.  As the search for affordable studio space becomes more and more common, some artists have banded together and turned to the idea of forming co-operatives to collectively own and manage their space.  Others may turn to not-for-profit organizations to help facilitate the process.  Even if successful, securing affordable studio space is still an expensive and time- consuming endeavour for artists, co-operatives and organizations as individual artists without high incomes often drive these initiatives.  Problem Statement  This project seeks to research and evaluate artist efforts, artist co-operatives, non- profit foundations as well as other municipal or regional initiatives that have been successful in providing or securing affordable studio space for artists.  These examples will be from both the Canadian and international context.  Although the focus of the project will be on studio space, this research will touch upon live/work A Handbook for Vancouver Artists Seeking Affordable Studio Space   10 and work/live spaces, as they are often inseparable from studio space alone.  Studio spaces located in multi-use spaces will also be discussed as another possible method of securing artists’ production space. In combination with an assessment of Vancouver’s current policies related to artist studio space, this research aims to arrive at conclusions of what creative techniques and policies would be best suited to ameliorate the lack of affordable artist studio space in Vancouver.  Some scholars have conducted research in this area, such as Sacco et al. (2007) and Macdonald and Chai (2007). Additionally, the City of Vancouver and other members of the arts community have also worked in this area.  However, a large portion of this research has just begun and is currently in progress.  Research Questions and Objectives  The questions that this research will respond to are as follows: 1. What are the largest barriers to making artist studios affordable in Vancouver? What are the largest restrictions on the availability or supply of affordable studio space?  It is due to the cost of infrastructure construction or set-up expenses?  What role do Vancouver’s policies, bylaws and administrative procedures play into this matter? 2. From case studies, what are the most innovative and successful (demonstrated to work in the eyes of both artists and municipalities) techniques that artists in Vancouver could employ to address the lack of studio space? 3. What are current City of Vancouver policies concerning affordable artist studio spaces?  What is the City of Vancouver doing to address this issue? Based on these questions, the objectives of this research are to: •  Identify the main barriers to affordable studio space in Vancouver A Handbook for Vancouver Artists Seeking Affordable Studio Space   11 •  Find and describe successful, innovative and concrete examples that artist co- operatives, artists and non-profit organizations can use to forward their goal of achieving affordable artist studio space •  Provide effective examples of policies and initiatives concerning affordable artist studio space that Vancouver policymakers can adopt •  Showcase local examples from artists, co-operatives, non-profit organizations and the City of Vancouver of affordable space provision •  Compile a user-friendly list of reference points Vancouver artists can use when searching for information about affordable studio space The objective of this project is to generate findings of this research to help artists seeking affordable studio space.  As information on this subject is not very centralized, this project will compile resources by outlining the history of this issue and the current state of affordable studio spaces in Vancouver.  Supplementary case studies will provide innovative examples that will encourage artists to seek out feasible solutions to this issue.   Project Scope  The scope of this project will include international case studies, but the area of primary focus of recommendations comprises the Strathcona, Downtown Eastside, Mount Pleasant and Grandview/Woodlands districts as they are the areas that are the most desired in Vancouver by artists, and also the areas where the highest concentration of artists work.  The Eastside Culture Crawl Society’s (ECCS) studios map in Figure 3 provides an overview of the existing studios in the area. Although this is not an exhaustive list of all the studios in the area, it is a good indicator of the concentration of studios located in the areas of focus for this project.  A Handbook for Vancouver Artists Seeking Affordable Studio Space   12  Figure 3: Eastside Culture Crawl Map, 2009 Source: Eastside Culture Crawl Society, 2009 The focus of this project is artist studios, which can be defined as places for the production of art by artists, as they are defined by the National Occupation Classification for Statistics (NOC-S), included as Appendix A.  The NOC-S is used in this project as it is the classification system used in the 2006 Census, upon which much of the data and statistics in this report are based.  The studios in discussion fall into a number of categories.  They may be part of a work-only space, spaces that also combine living as in live/work or work/live studios (termed differently depending on which is the primary use), as well as studios that are a part of multi-use spaces. Multi-use spaces include other functions such as galleries or training space. This report acknowledges that most of the studio spaces discussed in its contents are formal studio spaces that were created with the original intent to be used by artists for the creation of art.  It is still important to note, however, that many informal studio spaces exist in the city.  A common example of informal studio space !"#$!%&#' & ( % " # ) * + ! , - . / % 0 / ' # 1/2#"" 34""'/.. #56,/'&/)! #561#%&#' #561#%&#' (%4/% -##7#' #568!.94%0. #568!.94%0. 7'!%,#. )#%!:"#. -49,8#%#' 74'.96!)#%(# 0'!%9 24""4!3 ,8!'"#. , / 9 9 / % 2 / / & " ! % & , / 3 3 # ' , 4 ! " 6& ' 4 ) # 0'!)#"#* !&!%!, 7'!%-"4% 2 / / & " ! % & , / 3 3 # ' , 4 ! " 6& ' 5 . ! " . : ( ' * 3 , " # ! % / & " ( 3 , " ! 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Due to the elusive nature of these spaces, information about them is limited and informal studio spaces are not the main focus of this report, although they still remain an important component of artist facilities in Vancouver.   Terminology  Specific terms discussed in this report have been defined as follows: Leasing a space refers to contract set for a specific period of time, such as six months or a year, for which the tenant agrees to rent a property from a landlord. Once agreed upon, changes (such as increases in monthly payments) cannot be made to the lease until it expires.  The landlord pays for the property tax and usually provides maintenance.  Utilities are subject to the lease agreement. Rental agreements are usually month-to-month and there is no set period of residence.  Both the landlord and tenant are able to make changes after the month ends. The landlord pays for the property tax and usually provides maintenance, while utilities are subject to the rental agreement.  This option is likely the most expensive choice for a tenant and provides the least tenure security, but this choice allows the most flexibility for both the tenant and landlord. Ownership means that a space is purchased by an owner or organization, either in full or through the assistance of a mortgage.  Ownership usually includes a larger up- front payment, as well as larger initial monthly payments but may be more affordable over the long-term when the mortgage is paid off.  The owner must pay all property tax, maintenance and utilities.  This option may require more co-ordination and financial support, but it also provides the most tenure security. For-profit co-op refers to a group of individuals seeking out a common goal, with the intention of making a profit.  The profit can be shared within the co-op, or among its A Handbook for Vancouver Artists Seeking Affordable Studio Space   14 members.  Some co-ops may allow members and non-members to invest in the co- op through shares, which accrue benefits/profits that are paid to the shareholders. Non-profit co-op refers to a group of individuals seeking out a common goal, with all proceeds raised from co-op efforts to be recycled back into the co-op to enhance its services.  Non-profit co-ops do not use a share system.   Methodology and Approach  This research aims to produce a handbook about affordable studio space that Vancouver artists, organizations and government groups alike will find useful.  Since information on this topic has not yet been compiled and documented for the Vancouver context, creating a handbook was the research approach that would create the most appropriate product.  As an introduction into this topic, this approach will briefly document what types of possibilities are available in this field, upon which future research can build. This report employed a variety of methods, utilizing both primary and secondary sources.  The research began with a review of the 2008-2023 Cultural Facilities Priorities Plan, a study commissioned by the City of Vancouver and conducted by consultants Artscape with wide participation and support from the Vancouver arts and cultural communities. Additional research sources included relevant literature (books and journals), newspaper articles, artist and governmental websites, policy documents and personal interviews.  This document will be organized into five main sections: a literature review of cultural planning and the post- industrial city that includes background information about Vancouver; eight case studies of different strategies that have been used to secure studio space for artists in other municipalities, including some international reference cases; context-specific research about the state of this issue in Vancouver; recommendations and finally, a conclusion.  A Handbook for Vancouver Artists Seeking Affordable Studio Space   15 Project Format: Handbook  This handbook format differs from a traditional research paper in that it will include reference points for each topic of this project summarized at the end of the sub- section.  The reference points will provide key details for the information discussed in the sub-section as well as list other relevant sources that the interested reader could consult.  These reference points aim for a greater degree of integrated comprehension and easier navigation by placing information at the end of each sub- section rather than only as a list of sources at the end of the document.  The handbook will also use language that is accessible to a wide audience, avoiding the use of technical jargon whenever possible. The handbook approach targets artists who may not be familiar with official government documents, or who may not have the time to conduct extensive research into policies or successful case studies.  The reader can easily flip to the section of interest and conduct his or her own further research if desired.  By deconstructing and organizing the available information on this topic while providing reference points to guide artists with additional questions, this research aims to enable artists to make their own choices regarding studio space.  They will be able to thoroughly understand the context of the issue, and what options are available to tackle the problem as an individual, or as part of a larger group or organization.  Literature Review and Background Information  In order to place the issue of affordable studio space in context, it is necessary to first trace the origins of this issue.  Zukin mentions that as far back as the 1920s, light industry and working-class populations began to be expelled from North American and Western European cities, making room for more profitable uses in the inner city (Zukin, 1982).  By the 1960s, suburban houses offered affordability and more space for families with children.  At this time, a period of restructuring began with a move away from the traditional manufacturing economy and towards a service-based A Handbook for Vancouver Artists Seeking Affordable Studio Space   16 economy (Landry, 2005; Hutton, 2004; Zukin 1982).  In the 1970s, privately subsidized capital reinvestment began in housing near downtown central business districts (CBD) (Zukin, 1987). Brownfield development, or the re-development of pre-existing sites, began in 1974 in Vancouver in the Downtown and West End areas (Gordon, M., personal communication, March 16, 2010).  The increased re-development, particularly towards housing, was partially a response to vacancies of space in the CBD when many Canadian firms were taken over by or merged with other international corporations and also because many US companies left Vancouver in the late 1970s, choosing to centralize their resources in larger cities, like Toronto (Barnes and Hutton, 2009), and outsourcing to other cheaper countries like India (Hall, 1997). In the mid-1980s, Vancouver began to become a truly post-industrial city with a growing knowledge and cultural economy, supporting film studies, computer services, new media and design, architects, advertising and artists (Barnes and Hutton, 2009). Further increases in housing were fuelled by a zoning change in the mid-1980s to convert the False Creek Flats area from commercial to residential space (Hutton, T., PLAN 548S lecture, October 13, 2009), and conversions of previous office buildings into condominiums (Barnes and Hutton, 2009). One of the largest events that led to the creation of housing close to the CBD was the sale of former Expo ’86 lands (now the Yaletown area) from the Province of British Columbia to developers Concord-Pacific for $320 million (Gordon, M., personal communication, March 16, 2010; Barnes and Hutton, 2009).  Shortly after, the City of Vancouver encouraged locating housing close to the CBD in its 1991 Central Area Plan (City of Vancouver, 1991).  Around this time, a new economy emerged that focused on professional and creative services such as computer graphics, video games and internet-based businesses.  New economy firms began to establish in the new housing and former industrial areas, often in newly created live/work studios (Barnes and Hutton, 2009).  Although this did not create immediate dislocation effects, the areas of the Downtown Eastside and Strathcona experienced the shadow effects of the new developments.  Increasingly expensive urban design features and consumption amenities in Yaletown such as upscale organic food markets and posh restaurants furthered the gentrification process (Ibid.). A Handbook for Vancouver Artists Seeking Affordable Studio Space   17  Gentrification has been documented as far back as 1964 by Ruth Glass, who first identified it as the residential movement of the middle-class into London’s low-income areas (Glass, 1964).  Other scholars have noted that gentrification involves the movement of low-income residents farther from the CBD and that these displacees usually pay a higher rent, no matter where they move (Zukin, 1987; LeGates and Hartan, 1986; Kain and Apgar, 1985). Indeed this is true in the Vancouver case as the increase in amenities surrounding the new housing areas also caused increases in housing prices and rent.  Zukin discusses the roles of artists in the gentrification process in her book Loft Living: Culture and Capital in Urban Change.  She notes that “the amenity that a concentrated arts presence offers to middle-class and upper-class arts consumers makes it possible to charge high prices for the housing that is eventually built nearby” (Zukin, 1982: 111).  The creative types that had first moved in due to the lower rents are pushed out as the land values rise when buildings are redeveloped or renovated. The effects of gentrification in other cities have been well documented in the cases of SOMA in San Francisco (Jarvis and Pratt, 2006) as well as New York, London and Paris (Carpenter and Lees, 2009). Higher rental and housing prices are also the product of higher taxes on land re-zoned from industrial to residential use and from increased construction costs of Figure 4: Concord-Pacific developments Source: sashafatcat, 2008 A Handbook for Vancouver Artists Seeking Affordable Studio Space   18 condominium buildings for common spaces and other operating costs of development associated with brownfield sites (Regional Analytics Inc., 2002).  If this pattern continues, artists will be pushed further and further away from the CBD, and in the most extreme case, may disappear from the city altogether if not protected by zoning or other policy measures. Another concern with the re-zoning and redevelopment of brownfield sites is that they are very hard, if not impossible, to reverse back to industrial use.  Jacquie Gijssen, Senior Cultural Planner of the City of Vancouver’s Cultural Services department remarks that some people assume that all vacant old buildings on industrial space should be available for redevelopment (Gijssen, J., personal communication, March 16, 2010).  However, this is not the case.  Christina DeMarco, the Senior Planner at the Policy and Planning Department at Metro Vancouver emphasizes the importance of maintaining an adequate supply of industrial land (DeMarco, 2008), and City of Vancouver Assistant Director of Citywide & Regional Planning Ronda Howard agrees that industrial land cannot be simply re-located (Stewart, 2006).  Once divided, industrial land is also hard to reassemble.  These issues make re-zoning of industrial land a difficult issue.  The Greater Vancouver Regional District and the City of Vancouver estimate that the Greater Vancouver region will run out of available industrial land by 2015 if they continue developing at current rates (Stewart, 2006).  It is for these reasons that land use planning must be an iterative process based on stakeholder negotiation that is open and adaptable to changing conditions (Amler et al., 1999), and carefully sets out its planning values and principles. Cultural planning also plays an important role in providing affordable studio space for artists.  Cultural planning, or the strategic planning for cultural resources, amenities and facilities in a community or regional area, emerged as early as the 1970s in the USA and the mid-1980s in Australia through the work of Robert McNulty and Colin Mercer (McNulty, 1992; Mercer, 1991; Grogan et al., 1995).  The need for access to culture was also emphasized in the United Nations World Commission on Culture and Development’s report Our Creative Diversity (United Nations, 1995). The integration of cultural planning into government policy documents can be traced back to the 1990s in the Queensland Local Government Act (Mercer, 2006).  Many other countries, particularly in Europe, also recognized the importance of cultural planning A Handbook for Vancouver Artists Seeking Affordable Studio Space   19 and national studies of the economic impact of the arts were conducted in the UK (Myerscough 1988, Casey et al., 1996, DCMS 1998), The Netherlands (Kloosterman and Elfring, 1991), Wales (Bryan et al. 1998) and the USA (Heilbrun and Gray, 1993).  Furthermore, the cities of Berlin and Paris have conducted studies into the affordability of studio space, and both are seeking to incorporate this matter into land use plans (Burtenshaw et al., 1991; Kotowski and Frohling, 1993; Berger-Vachon, 1992; Evans 2001).  Today, the meaning of cultural planning can be extended beyond simply cultural policy to also include the arts and heritages of a place; the local traditions, dialects, festivals and rituals; the diversity and quality of leisure; cultural, drinking and eating and entertainment facilities; the cultures of youth, ethnic minorities and communities of interest; as well as local products and skills in the crafts, manufacturing and service sectors (Ghilardi, 2001).  When put into practice, Ghilardi (2001) and Castells (1989) condone cultural planning on a local level because it allows for culture to be linked to economic and social elements, rather than an isolated experience.  In this way, cultural planning is not defined as the ‘planning of culture’, but rather “a cultural (anthropological) approach to urban planning and policy” (Bianchini and Ghilardi, 1997); Ghilardi, 2001). In the twenty-first century, culture has advanced into an industry (Roodhouse, 2006; Kunzmann, 2004).  In fact, the Department of Canadian Heritage has found that the arts and culture sector is the fastest-growing employer in the Canadian economy, providing $22.4 billion in jobs (Wyman, 2004).  Kunzmann has emphasized that not only is this a growing sector, but a profitable sector (Kunzmann, 2004).  It has been estimated that each municipal dollar invested in arts and culture operational and project grants generates $13 in revenue (Artscape, 2008).  In Vancouver, the Creative City Task Force was set up in December of 2004 to determine the City’s role in the development of the arts, culture, community celebrations, and special events (City of Vancouver, 2009c).  More recently, the City of Vancouver has created a Cultural Plan (Creative City Task Force, 2008) to detail its courses of action for ten years (2008-2018).  Additionally, the City commissioned a Cultural Facilities Priorities Plan for 2008-2023, which will be further discussed in this paper’s Vancouver section.  A Handbook for Vancouver Artists Seeking Affordable Studio Space   20 The Vancouver Case   “In the context of Vancouver’s rising real estate values, finding affordable, appropriate and accessible rehearsal and studio space has been broadly articulated as one of Vancouver’s overwhelming challenges.” (Artscape, 2008:39)  Economic Profile of the Vancouver Artist Vancouver makes an interesting case as it has been recently deemed the most unaffordable of 28 Canadian housing markets and 272 international metropolitan markets, as reported in the Frontier Centre for Public Policy’s sixth annual Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey.  Vancouver’s “Median Multiple” (median house price divided by gross annual median household income) of 9.3 indicates that on average, the equivalent of nine years’ household income (9.3 x median household income of $47,299 = $439,880) is needed to purchase a home. The reason for such a high median multiple is that ocean and mountains bound Vancouver, causing a shortage of land (Cox, 2010; Morton, 2010; Lazaruk, 2010). There are also indications that the average price of housing has surpassed pre- recession levels and will continue to increase since reaching the recession low in May 2009 (Penner, 2010). At the same time, out of 93 cities in Canada, Vancouver was found to have the largest concentration of artists at 2.35% of the population, which is three times the Canadian average of 0.77% (Hill, 2009).  Vancouver was also found to have the highest percentage increase in artists during the period from 1991 to 2006.  Although the local labour force grew by only 28%, increase in the number of artists during this time was 76% in Vancouver, compared to a 42% growth in the number of artists in Toronto and 33% in Montreal (Ibid).  Further emphasizing the high concentration of artists in the city, Hill found that 31% of BC’s artists reside in Vancouver, whereas only 15% of the province’s overall labour force lives in the city (Ibid).  The 8,155 artists that responded to the 2006 Census earned on average an income of $27,100, compared to an average of $35,000 for all BC workers (Ibid). The average Vancouver artist income relative to the 2006 average gross rent for Vancouver areas is displayed in the table below.  Although it can be A Handbook for Vancouver Artists Seeking Affordable Studio Space   21 acknowledged that the income for the average Vancouver artist does not necessarily represent that individual’s entire household income, the percentage of one-person households in each of the three neighbourhoods ranges from 45-62% (City of Vancouver Community Services, 2009).  This means that approximately half of the households in this area are one-person households, compared to the entire City of Vancouver where 39% of households are one-person households (City of Vancouver Community Services, 2009).  The Shelter Cost-to-Income Ratio (STIR) measures the percentage of income used towards housing (Statistics Canada, 2008). The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation consider a STIR above 30% to be unaffordable (Ibid).  In this case, the STIR (rental) value is for the cost of rental units only and does not take into account the cost of purchasing a home or mortgage payments.  Table 1: Median Household Income, Average Gross Rent and STIR (rental) by Area, 2006.* Area Median Household Income, 2006α Average gross rent (per month), 2006α Average gross rent (per annum), 2006 STIR (rental) for 2006 average Vancouver Artist Income ($27,100 CAD) STIR (rental) for Median Household Income, 2006 City of Vancouver $47,299 $898 $10,776 39.76% 22.78% Mount Pleasant $37,782 $772 $9,264 34.18% 24.52% Strathcona & DTESβ $15,558 $500 $6,000 22.14% 38.57% Grandview- Woodland $35,342 $715 $8,580 31.66% 24.28% * All dollar values in CAD α Source: City of Vancouver Community Services, 2009 β Data for Strathcona and the Downtown Eastside were combined in the City of Vancouver Community Services statistics.  The table shows that out of the three neighbourhoods, the only area that is affordable for renting artists earning the average artist income is Strathcona/DTES.  However, this is also the only area in which the local STIR is higher than that for artists.  Based solely on economic calculations without taking policy or personal preferences into account, these statistics suggest that artists from elsewhere may choose to move into this area, displacing the local residents. Artists are more likely to be able to A Handbook for Vancouver Artists Seeking Affordable Studio Space   22 afford higher rents in this area on informal or formal live/work spaces, potentially crowding out the local residents, and it is likely that this has already occurred in this neighbourhood.  Although it is true that there are also a larger proportion of artists in this neighbourhood than anywhere else in the city (suggesting that the artists are the residents), the percentage of artists in this neighbourhood only make up 5.0% of the local neighbourhood population (Artscape, 2008), demonstrating that artists from other neighbourhoods could still potentially displace Strathcona and DTES residents for existing housing stock if low-income local residents are not protected by policies or restrictions on their spaces.  The addition of new housing stock may have a similar direct or indirect effect, but would be adding spaces, rather than directly displacing local residents. One important factor to note is that these estimates are for renting a space only, at market prices. The rental case would take into account live/work situations, but not artists wishing to be homeowners, who will face a STIR much higher in mortgage payments.  Those artists who will be renting a studio in addition to a residential space face the potential of a STIR up to double this amount.  The City of Vancouver acknowledges that the unaffordability of facilities affects artists greatly (City of Vancouver Cultural Services, 2009a) and over its history has tried various methods to respond to this situation.  History of Live/Work Studios in Vancouver  Live/work studios have existed in Vancouver since 1987, spearheaded in a movement by city staff to increase the profile of arts, culture and creativity in the city (Smith and Warfield, 2007; J. Gijssen, personal communication, April 1, 2010).  As of 2008, there were approximately 1500 artist live/work studios in the city (Artscape, 2008).  These live/work studios were originally intended for culture‐focused creativity such as visual and performing artists but through time became popular with those in the technology-based fields of the new economy, especially new media.  The city at the time did not define what was “creative” and only provided space for what an individual themselves should decide as “creative” and as a pursuit that should be funded (Smith and Warfield, 2007).  As such, a number of economically‐focused creative individuals, rather than completely culture‐focused artists were housed in the live/work studios.  Smith describes succinctly that in the Vancouver case, “[t]he A Handbook for Vancouver Artists Seeking Affordable Studio Space   23 live/work zoning is a relatively value‐free initiative to foster creativity—it provides a ”container” for creativity but not restrictions on the content” (Ibid:17).  The City of Vancouver’s current Live-work Use Guidelines (City of Vancouver, 2006a) continue to specify what kinds of building guidelines should be followed for the construction of live/work spaces but does not clearly define kinds of uses may be found within, nor to what extent.  The guidelines do not stipulate that a live/work studio is to be the occupant’s primary residence nor the amount of work conducted, thus the occupants may use these studios as only work or only living space.  The guidelines continue to maintain that these spaces are for the production of “art” but this is difficult to define, as well as to confirm.  Other cities such as the Planning Department in San Francisco also acknowledge difficulties confirming the uses that take place within their city’s live/work studios (Parker and Pascual, 2002), as does the section of the Cultural Facilities Priorities Plan dealing with Vancouver’s live/work studios (Artscape, 2008).  The City of Vancouver’s current live/work use guidelines can be found at:   City of Vancouver Land Use and Development Policies and Guidelines Community Amenity Contributions, Density Bonus and Transfer of Density for Heritage Preservation are important land-use tools that can be used to procure studio space from new developments.  Developers wishing to change an existing zoning, for example, commercial to residential, are usually subject to a Community Amenity Contribution (CAC).  CACs can take the form of a monetary contribution or an amenity provided in-kind by the development, and is decided on a case-by-case basis.  The City compares the land value prior to rezoning with the projected land value and the difference is called the lift in land value.  The expected amount of the CAC is about 80% of the land lift.  CACs can be used on-site, or located in the community where the rezoning takes place.  CACs could be used to provide affordable studio space for artists in a building re-designated as a mixed-use (live/work) space, as exemplified by the case of The Edge in Vancouver, discussed in the section of this report ‘City of Vancouver Initiatives in Affordable Studio Space’ (City of Vancouver, 2006b; Coriolis Consulting Corp., 2007). A Handbook for Vancouver Artists Seeking Affordable Studio Space   24 Density Bonuses are available to developers that invest in cultural infrastructure and social housing, among other community amenities.  These investments can be on-site or in the same neighbourhood.  Building density is a ratio of a development’s floor space to its property area.  The developer can use its extra density, or density bonus, to build a development to a higher density.  This usually translates into more units, and a more profitable investment for the developer but the community also benefits by receiving a new amenity.  This was the case for many of the Concord-Pacific developments in current-day Yaletown, where parks and other amenities were provided in exchange for density bonuses.  In the future, the City may also want to consider increasing opportunities that exchange bonus density for the amenity of affordable studio space.  An example that takes advantage of this kind of policy is Toronto’s Artscape Triangle Lofts, discussed in the case studies. To offset the costs of maintaining heritage buildings, the City currently offers a heritage density bonus in exchange for the legal designation and preservation of certain properties as a heritage site.  This means that the City can use by-laws to regulate alterations, construction and demolition of the building.  In the Transfer of Density for Heritage Preservation program, accrued heritage density is deposited into a “heritage density bank”, which the developer can draw from to use on another development, or sell to another builder.  The Density Transfer for Heritage Preservation program can only be used within designated Vancouver areas.  This means that generally, density can be transferred away from but not into the DTES and Strathcona areas.  Mount Pleasant and Grandview-Woodlands are currently not included in this program (City of Vancouver, 2002a; City of Vancouver, 2002b; Coriolis Consulting Corp., 2007). Vancouver currently differentiates artist studios into Class A and B categories. Class A studios can be used for the production of dance, music, creative writing, painting, drawing, pottery, sculpture, video and moving or still photography.  Class B studios accommodate a greater range of uses, by also allowing industrial processes, on-site film processing, and the production of art involving amplified sound (City of Vancouver, 1996; City of Vancouver, 2010).  A Handbook for Vancouver Artists Seeking Affordable Studio Space   25 More information concerning the land use and development policies and guidelines for Vancouver can be found at: Community Amenity Contributions: Density Bonusing: Transfer of Density for Heritage Preservation: Class A and B studios: A discussion paper that outlines the use of amenity contributions in several Western Canadian municipalities, including Vancouver can be found at:   City of Vancouver Initiatives in Affordable Artist Studio Space  The City of Vancouver has aimed to address some of the issues associated with affordable studio space in the city by developing an Artist Studio Award program.  Of the four studios available, one is an Award Studio (Class B) that is provided rent-free by the City.  The other three studios are subject to a monthly rent of $375 CAD per month.  The City owns one of the three low-rent studios.  Developers lease the remaining two to the City for a certain period of time.  Two of these are Class B studios and one is Class A.  All studios were created through various development conditions.  The studios are awarded through a competitive juried process for a lease of three years (City of Vancouver, 2010). In 1995, the City also acquired 37,000 square feet of artist live/work space at a discounted rate from the developer of The Edge at Gore Avenue and Alexander Street in exchange for re-zoning the land from industrial (M-2) to mixed industrial and artist live/work studios (CD-1).  Thirty units were leased to CORE, a co-operative of artists that have previously lived and worked in the neighbourhood (Jessup, 2000; North Sky Consulting Ltd, 2007).  The units are targeted to low- and moderate- A Handbook for Vancouver Artists Seeking Affordable Studio Space   26 income artists at rents of either $325 CAD or $575 CAD per month (City of Vancouver Community Services, 2005a).  Information on these initiatives can be found at: City of Vancouver’s Artist Studio Award Program: The Edge/CORE Co-op:   Cultural Plans for Vancouver  To set in place the City’s cultural priorities, a cultural study was commissioned by the City of Vancouver and a 15-year Cultural Facilities Priorities Plan (2008-2023) was developed by Toronto-based consultants Artscape (Artscape, 2008), with the support of many Vancouver artists and cultural organizations.  In fact, Amir Ali Alibhai, Executive Director of the BC-based organization Alliance for Arts and Culture, describes it as the “communities plan” (J. Gijssen, personal communication, April 1, 2010). This Plan acknowledged that it is difficult to provide affordable studio space in the city, as these spaces usually need to be located in old factories and underutilized warehouses to keep the rent affordable.  Vancouver, however, does not have many of these types of old buildings, and the ones that exist have largely been converted into high-end residential and office lofts (Artscape, 2008; North Sky Consulting Ltd, 2007). An additional challenge is that funding sources are limited. Neither Metro Vancouver nor the Province of British Columbia has formal programs to support arts and cultural infrastructure (Ibid). On the whole, the Province of British Columbia provides far less funds to arts and culture than other provinces.  In 2009, there was a 26% cut to the BC Provincial Arts and Culture investment, whereas no other province in Canada had reduced their support for the arts during the economic crisis (Alliance for Arts and Culture, 2009a).  In 2010, funding to the arts decreased further, resulting in a 32% cut from 2008 levels (Assembly of BC Arts Councils, 2010).  As a result, much of the cost burden for arts and cultural facilities in Vancouver currently falls to the City of Vancouver. Taking into account feedback received from the cultural study and Vancouver’s affordability challenges, the Cultural Facilities Priorities Plan recommends that a pilot project feasibility study of artist studios should be A Handbook for Vancouver Artists Seeking Affordable Studio Space   27 undertaken (Artscape, 2008).  The City of Vancouver City Council adopted the Cultural Facilities Priorities Plan in June 2008 and a $20,000 feasibility study into the creation of artist studios was to be commissioned as part of the Phase I implementation of this plan but could not be completed due to funding cuts (Gijssen, 2008; J. Gijssen, personal communication, March 9, 2010).  From the recommendations of the Cultural Facilities Priorities Plan, the Cultural Services is seeking to conduct an interdepartmental review to co-ordinate arts and cultural facility needs with the Zoning and Development By-Law, the Building By-Law, and Licensing and Permit processes (Gijssen, 2008), as well as investigate opportunities to enhance the creation of artist studios, working in concert with other city departments (J. Gijssen, personal communication, April 1, 2010).  Additionally, Cultural Services would like to undertake an inventory of multi-tenant artist studios (J. Gijssen, personal communication, March 16, 2010). Another important finding from the Cultural Facilities Priorities Plan is the lack of local experience in studio development and operation.  Vancouver’s artists and cultural non-profit community have great potential but have had limited exposure to facility creation and management.  Also absent from Vancouver is a local organization directed towards the development of artists’ space, such as those found in the Toronto and Minneapolis case study examples of this report.  Therefore, the Cultural Facilities Priorities Plan has recommended that the 5 year (Phase I) Implementation should focus on addressing this issue (Artscape, 2008; J. Gijssen, personal communication, April 1, 2010). Sacco, Williams and Del Bianco have also created recommendations for the arts in Vancouver in their Vancity-funded document “The Power of the Arts in Vancouver: Creating a Great City” (Sacco et al., 2007). In it, they advocate for a new Arts Hub and or Community Learning Centre in the Downtown Eastside as well as a Creative Industries and Arts Incubator at the Great Northern Way campus (Ibid). An Arts Hub would provide meeting space, networking and volunteer opportunities, as well as reinforce a shared identity in the city.  Sacco et al. believe this would help to address the “identitarian divide between the east and west” in Vancouver (Ibid:42). They picture a Creative Industries or Arts Incubator would help direct graduating and recent graduates in a manner that will lead them in their entrepreneurial development as artists.  Sacco and his colleagues have championed the idea of bringing together complementary uses in the same space; other studies including the City’s Cultural A Handbook for Vancouver Artists Seeking Affordable Studio Space   28 Facilities Plan have identified similar opportunities.  The Creative City Task Force’s 2008-2012 City Culture Plan can be found at: The Artscape & the City of Vancouver’s Cultural Facilities Priorities Plan can be found at: The Phase I Implementation of the Cultural Facilities Priorities Plan can be found at: The Sacco et al.’s Vancity-funded plan, “The Power of the Arts in Vancouver: Creating a Great City “ can be found at:    Recent Vancouver Projects  Although Vancity cannot provide much funding itself for affordable studio space projects, they have been involved in the negotiation and organization of some initiatives.  One example is the group of artists located at 901 Main Street whose building had been taken over by developers.  One of the displaced artists was Eri Ishii.  In an attempt to find a second space, she tirelessly wrote press releases and with other artists, and met with the developer and the City to negotiate a solution. She mentions that at first, the City had no knowledge that the artists were at risk, but they were soon informed of the situation and earnestly helped the artists negotiate with the developer, as mentioned in the introduction of this report.  After one and a half years of negotiations the artists found that there was ultimately a disconnection between the developer and the artists in terms of language and objectives so Ishii and her colleagues decided to find space on their own (E. Ishii, personal communication, March 17, 2010). The City and Vancity encouraged the artists to form a co-operative, and 901 Artists Co-op became the first registered studio co-op in British Columbia.  Ishii relayed that starting a co-op was a difficult process but she wanted to do it to dispel the myth that artists are disorganized and lazy.  901 Artists Co-op received funding from both the B.C. Co-op Association and Building Opportunities with Business (B.O.B.) to help pay for training from co-op experts.  Vancity helped the co-op to A Handbook for Vancouver Artists Seeking Affordable Studio Space   29 negotiate a new 5-year lease at 150 MacLean (Meggs, 2009; E. Del Bianco, personal communication, March 10, 2010).  Del Bianco estimates that if these artists had not banded together to form a co-operative, they would have likely been without studio space (personal communication, March 10, 2010).  Ishii also credits a landlord interested in the arts as a key component to their success.  The artists renovated the space themselves and spent only $100 CAD doing so by using existing resources they had on hand.  This was fortunate as most funding for co-operatives is stipulated for hiring co-operative experts to administer training, rather than for infrastructural needs.  Providing spaces at $1.15 CAD/ square foot for co-op members and $1.35 CAD for non-co-op members, Ishii calculated that the co-op makes about $160 CAD per month.  The co-operative is hoping to use their savings to eventually lease additional studio locations for more artists (E. Ishii, personal communication, March 17, 2010). Ideally, Del Bianco says Vancity would like to work towards models that are also economically profitable, and once again, that incorporate a variety of uses.  He cites 401 Richmond in Toronto as an example, which has a mix of studio spaces, coffee shops, galleries and non-profits located in the same building. Another trailblazer in the realm of affordable studio space is David Duprey.  A restaurant-owner, photographer and contractor, Duprey considers himself a mediator between artists and property owners in the Downtown Eastside.  He has invested in spaces by renovating them himself and later passes on these savings to the artists he leases them to.  As an example, the Goonies Gallery at 108 East Hastings Street pays about 75 cents per square foot month, whereas even Single-Room Occupancy (SRO) apartments in the area cost around $3.50 CAD.  He also mentions that because he understands the development language and has knowledge of renovation requirements he is able to finish his projects much more quickly and easily than an individual or group starting from scratch.  Since 2007, he has leased nine buildings across the city and is currently working on two more buildings located at 110 and 112 East Hastings Street (E. Del Bianco, personal communication, March 10, 2010; Stothers, 2009; Vancouver Courier, 2008). Some of Duprey’s buildings have been part of the City of Vancouver’s Great Beginnings program.  As part of the Great Beginnings program, the Hastings Renaissance initiative is revitalizing six storefronts and buildings along Hastings Street by training and employing DTES residents to assist in the renovations.  By A Handbook for Vancouver Artists Seeking Affordable Studio Space   30 renovating rather than re-constructing new buildings along Hastings, the City aims for less displacement (new buildings would mean higher rent than old ones) and gradual re-development.  The Hastings Renaissance is scheduled to run from March 2009 to September 2010.  Most of the completed storefronts will support arts-based businesses.  Two of the six buildings will be for artist studios (City of Vancouver, 2009a; City of Vancouver, 2009b).  A concern for the Hastings Renaissance, however, is its long-term effects.  This project may have un-intentional impacts on the long-term security of arts groups in the area as no plan is in place to respond to or combat potential gentrification. In addition to the Hastings Renaissance program, the City of Vancouver also offers funding opportunities such as Heritage Façade Rehabilitation Program to enhance the appearance of buildings within certain areas of Vancouver (City of Vancouver Community Services, 2005b). A major funding source recently created is the Cultural Infrastructure Grant Program, which applies to a greater breath of uses for Vancouver-based non-profit cultural organizations (City of Vancouver Cultural Services, 2009b). Approximately 40 non-profit cultural groups also receive support from the City through free or nominal rents.  These through city- owned or city-leased spaces were created through Community Amenity Contributions and Bonus Density agreements (J. Gijssen, personal communication, April 1, 2010; City of Vancouver, 2002c). A few centres have come together to share production space as well as provide room for compatible uses.  One example is VIVO, an artist-run non-profit media production, exhibition and distribution centre that welcomes new members. VIVO is equipped with production equipment, studio space, audio, video and new media post-production facilities (VIVO Media Arts Centre, 2009).  Looking forward to the future, the W2 media arts centre will open up in summer 2010 in the City’s Woodward’s building.  W2 is a local culture and media house currently operating across the street at 112 West Hastings. The new facility will have a letterpress studio, performance space, a media production lab, a writing school, a youth media lab, multi-purpose community rooms, a TV studio, as well as various social enterprises (café, letterpress studio, digital printing centre).   The centre has formed a partnership with Simon Fraser University (SFU) to give students a chance to work with local residents.  W2’s Creative Technology Incubator will also help mentor DTES residents that want to pursue the media arts as their livelihood (W2 Community Media Arts, 2010a; W2 Community Media Arts, 2010b; Trouton, 2009). A Handbook for Vancouver Artists Seeking Affordable Studio Space   31 Building Opportunities with Business, a non-profit organization interested in inclusive revitalization through existing businesses and residents, can be found at: For more information about co-operatives, the B.C. Co-op association can be found at:
  Questions about Vancity’s initiatives with affordable artist studio space can be directed to Elvy Del Bianco: Eri Ishii, from 901 Artists Co-op can be contacted at:    For more information, visit: 401 Richmond:  Great Beginnings & Hastings Renaissance: Heritage Façade Rehabilitation Program: Cultural Infrastructure Grant Program:  VIVO: W2 Woodwards: 531        A Handbook for Vancouver Artists Seeking Affordable Studio Space   32 Case Studies  Selected case studies have been carefully chosen to identify encouraging examples that artists can learn from when searching for affordable studio space options.  These examples are ones that have been well received in other cities and ones that Vancouver could learn from and adopt into its arts, community, economic and planning strategies, policies and discussions.  Although these examples have been successful within their local contexts, these strategies may not be directly transferable to the Vancouver case in their entirety.  Instead, successful elements or important lessons should be drawn from each case to contribute to the growing conversation about affordable studio space provision in the Vancouver context.  The case studies cover a wide range of situations from small start-up projects to more complex endeavours co-ordinated amongst several bodies and organizations.  The diversity of approaches show the different options available to artists depending on what resources he or she may have at hand, but also demonstrate ambitious precedents that artists could strive for over time.  UK - VILLAGE UNDERGROUND (LONDON) Auro Foxcroft is the visionary behind the Village Underground project, which has reused old London tube cars to produce an innovative and environmentally friendly solution to the shortage of studio space in Shoreditch, in the East End of London. Perched upon an old Victorian warehouse and at a rent of $30 CAD a week, the Underground cars are a bright and very affordable location to work from (Durham, 2008). As a furniture designer with a creative new idea, Foxcroft quickly found out that old tube cars with about 500 sq feet could be easily acquired for the cost of £500 or about $1000 Canadian dollars.  Compared to the average price for office space in the $50 CAD per square foot range, the tube cars seemed like a great alternative. Securing a building that would agree to host the cars, as well as pay for a crane to do so were Foxcroft’s largest challenges.  Since his idea was so new, only one bank was willing to provide a loan - at an interest rate of 22% for such a risky idea. Government funding was limited (London Rebuilding Society, 2006a). A Handbook for Vancouver Artists Seeking Affordable Studio Space   33 Foxcroft turned to the London Rebuilding Society (LRS), a community development finance institution, to help make his dream a reality.   The LRS helped Foxcroft to secure the space of an old 4,000 square foot warehouse, which now functions as Village Underground’s music and cultural centre, hosting gallery displays and fashion shows, sometimes serving as a nightclub and occasionally used as a film shooting or screening location.  With the funding provided by the LRS, four tube cars have been cleared of their seats and refurbished using sustainable materials.  The cars also incorporate carbon-neutral heat and power as well as a rooftop garden (Ibid). A CBC News article about the project relays Foxcroft’s advice to others with new and ambitious ideas: “ ‘Try and enlist the support of the people who inspire you the most be they film stars, politicians, musicians or artists and shoot as high as you can’ “ (Durham, 2008).  The article continues by citing that “Foxcroft credits the office of former London mayor Ken Livingstone with being open to the concept” (Ibid). Foxcroft is considering extending his project in Canada by placing old subway cars on a roof in Toronto (Ibid). Although Vancouver does not have an excess of old subway cars for the same purpose, the creative and resourceful use of existing supplies is an aim that can be applied to Vancouver.  Foxcroft was also fortunate to be able to rely on a resource such as the London Rebuilding Society.  An increase of such societies could also be a future aim for Vancouver. The London Rebuilding Society (LRS) is a “Community Development Finance Institution which targets the most socially deprived, financially excluded and hardest to reach communities in the Greater London area” (London Rebuilding Society, 2006b).  In addition to lending money to social enterprises unable to secure loans Figure 5: Village Underground Source: Perdeaux, 2008 A Handbook for Vancouver Artists Seeking Affordable Studio Space   34 from conventional sources, the LRS provides financial advice on costing, marketing, profit and loss, as well as how to write a business plan.  The mission of the Society is that the funds they lend to regenerate and develop local communities are a way of supporting the local economy which will benefit the entire community overall through “a domino effect” (London Rebuilding Society, 2006b; London Rebuilding Society, 2006b).  Website: More information on Village Underground can be found online at: erground/
 &  UK - ACME STUDIOS (LONDON) Acme Studios is a London-based charity, formed by artists Jonathan Harvey and David Panton in 1972, which provides artists with affordable studio and living space. Possessing a combination of permanent sites and buildings on lease, the average cost of a studio is £9.40 per sq ft per year (around $14.35 CAD), or £196 ($300 CAD) per month for 250 square feet of studio space.  Acme estimates this cost to be one- third of comparable studios (Acme Studios, 2010a). In addition to the over 400 studio units at 12 sites, Acme also supports work/live and studio residency schemes as well as an international residencies programme (Acme Studios, 2010b; Acme Studios, 2010c).  The domestic work/live and studio residency schemes provide a free studio or work/live unit plus a grant. Twenty-four recipients are selected to fulfil particular categories of artists: student, location-based artists, current Acme tenants and artists whose work focuses on social engagement (Acme Studios, 2010d).  The international residencies programme works in the same manner but partners with institutions in 6 countries (Australia, Canada, Germany, Portugal, Sweden and Switzerland) to determine which 22 artists will be chosen for the award each year (Acme Studios, 2010e). Acme’s long-term goal to “to create a permanent and sustainable network of affordable, accessible and high-quality studios for artists in London” (Acme Studios, 2010b), has led it to help positively shape the affordable studio sector in England. Acme provides an advisory service on studio provision to funding bodies, local government, other studio organizations, development agencies and artists.  One of A Handbook for Vancouver Artists Seeking Affordable Studio Space   35 its largest projects has been, in conjunction with Arts Council England and other studio organizations, to establish the National Federation of Artists’ Studio Providers. The establishment of such a body helps to identify where the gaps and overlaps lay, as well as which organizations could potentially work together on future initiatives. Acme has also had a role in promoting Capital Studios, an advocacy programme for affordable studio providers in London (Ibid).  To date, Acme estimates that it has helped more than 5,000 artists.  Acme Studios is funded by Arts Council England (Ibid). With federal support, Acme studios has developed into a network dedicated to the objective of affordable studio space provision.  Although Acme has more funding, London also has a more established arts and culture community than that found in Vancouver.  To be able to reach the status of Acme’s success in Vancouver, capacity within the arts and culture community needs to be built up.  One way this could be encouraged is through increased communication and closer ties to Acme and other such organizations to thoroughly understand their functional structures and how these could be adopted for Vancouver.  More information about Acme Studios can be found at:  CANADA - FIRST NATIONS CO-OPERATIVE (VICTORIA) Located in downtown Victoria, B.C., the First Nations Co-operative (an unregistered co-operative) was the initiative of Shirley Blackstar and Chris MacDonald who had the idea of creating a co-operative as a way for First Nations artists to pool their resources together.  Their original vision was a gallery space in which artists would be able to showcase and sell their work.  Their idea received strong support from First Nations artists in their community, so Blackstar and MacDonald (a former business manager) developed a business plan, set up an operating budget and located a promising site for the project.  After negotiating a reasonably priced lease, the initial operating expenses, renovations, inventory and two months’ advance rent totalled $20,000 CAD. As the artists co-operative was newly formed and without any collateral or credit, it did not have access to traditional loans.  Therefore, Blackstar assumed liabilities for the lease under the name of Tansi Trading (her own company) and the A Handbook for Vancouver Artists Seeking Affordable Studio Space   36 gallery was started as a private endeavour.  Although this was not the original intent of the project, it was an unavoidable complication for a new co-operative. Blackstar was able to secure a loan through the Tale'awtxw Aboriginal Capital Corporation, as well as establish a line of credit with Coast Capital Savings, using her primary residence as equity.  Luckily, Blackstar also received a $21,000 CAD marketing grant from Aboriginal Business Canada to cover 60% of the gallery’s marketing expenses. Finally, the business opened on July 7, 2001 under the name of Eagle Feather Gallery – First Nations Artists Gallery & Gift Shop.  Artists wishing to work in the studio of the gallery would be charged a $100 CAD per month space fee and a lower 25% commission on sales.  Artists who did not find the space fee cost effective due to lower sales could instead give the co-operative a 40% commission and no space fee. The sales commissions on the artwork are intended to cover the operating expenses.  First Nations artists wishing for space in the gallery must first apply. There are currently twelve members of this co-operative. In addition to providing retail and studio space, the co-operative intends to help artists develop their business by creating marketing material, tracking inventory as well as teaching business skills to their members. What the artists in this co-operative learned is to draw from whatever resources are available.  From the business expertise of Chris MacDonald to the time and resources of volunteers, the co-operative constantly communicated their needs and worked around their available assets.  However, funding is an obvious determinant of a co-operative’s success.  Similarly, prospective projects of the co- operative will also depend on what forms of funding can be secured in the future. Above all, communication was and is fundamental to the co-operative’s success.  Both written handouts at meetings and face-to-face exchanges were and are imperative for the First Nations Co-operative, especially in dealing with cultural differences between all parties (MacDonald, 2001). Although not yet incorporated as a co-operative, this example of the First Nations Co-operative demonstrates what kinds of organization are needed within a co-operative.  It is important to draw from resources available, but also to find groups or organizations that believe in the same cause.  Studio space was not the primary A Handbook for Vancouver Artists Seeking Affordable Studio Space   37 goal of the First Nations Artist Co-operative, but they showcase an informative example of how gallery and studio space can exist cohesively as elements of a single co-operative, offering the co-operative members a range of engagement methods.  The Tale'awtxw Aboriginal Capital Corporation is committed to supporting the success of Aboriginal Businesses within the Coast Salish Traditional Territories with business financing and support services.  Website: Aboriginal Business Canada is a program of Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) that helps Aboriginal entrepreneurs and organizations to achieve their business goals. Their website can be found at: http://www.ainc-  More information on the First Nations Cooperative can be found at: More Information on forming co-operatives can be found from The Co-operative Learning Centre: & ArtistsinCanada’s list of Co-operative Art Galleries:    CANADA - ARTSCAPE TRIANGLE LOFTS (TORONTO)  Artscape Triangle Lofts were not part of the original plan by developers Urbancorp for Westside Gallery Lofts.  The original Urbancorp development, located in Toronto’s vibrant Queen West Triangle proposed several high-rise buildings of up to 15 storeys in a low-rise neighbourhood home to many artist studios.  Many of the local citizens, residents and business-owners opposed the development and formed the group Active 18 to deal with this issue (Gallant, 2010). In order to mediate the situation, Artscape, a non-profit organization based in Toronto, stepped in.  Artscape invited both Urbancorp and Active 18 to a lunch so that both sides could voice their concerns with an advisor at hand.  Without intentions A Handbook for Vancouver Artists Seeking Affordable Studio Space   38 of becoming developers at the time, Artscape eventually suggested an idea that Urbancorp and Active 18 both agreed with.   Working with the City of Toronto, Artscape proposed that it would purchase the first three floors of the 15-storey buildings at construction costs.  In exchange, the developers would be able to build the previously 15-storey towers up to a maximum of 18 storeys, which could be sold at higher rates.  In addition, the developer was required to provide $1.25 million CAD to a performing arts centre nearby and $750,000 CAD for a new park.  The current sales office for Westside Gallery Lofts will also be converted into a gallery once units have been sold (Mays, 2007).  With the first three floors of the development, amounting to 56,000 square feet, Artscape would build 70 affordable ownership and rental live/work spaces available only to artists and non-profit arts professionals for perpetuity.  Artscape would be in charge of maintaining these affordable prices from owner to owner.  Artscape Triangle Lofts has their own entrance, with simpler finishes and fewer amenities, which added up to a lower bottom line for the artists (Gallant, 2010; Artscape, 2007; Byers 2007). To fund this project, Artscape received a $1,000,000 CAD capital loan guarantee from the City of Toronto.  The loan covered legal, marketing and pre- development activities before the units could be available for sale (Weldon, 2009). The live/work studios at Artscape Triangle Lofts range from 500 square feet to 1,010 square feet.  Of the total 70 units, 48 market units for artists and non-profit arts professionals have now been 100% sold.  The remaining 22 rental units are available only to professional artists.  All artists residing in the development must meet the criteria of the Draft Canadian Artists’ Code, found on Artscape’s website at:  Artists must also submit their CV and a Letter of Intent to Artscape’s Tenant Advisory Committee in order to be eligible (Artscape, 2009).  The monthly rent for a one-bedroom rental unit has been targeted at $727 CAD, which is roughly 80% of the Canada Mortgage and Housing Canada’s (CMHC) Average Market Rent (AMR) for Toronto (Artscape, 2007).  As live/work units, Artscape is able to draw from funding sources such as Ontario’s Affordable Housing Program (AHP) that it would not be able to access as studio units alone. Affordable financing options have also been negotiated by Artscape through the Creative Arts Savings & Credit Union.  The development also hopes to achieve LEED certification upon completion.  Artscape Triangle Lofts is scheduled for occupancy in August 2010 (Artscape, 2009). A Handbook for Vancouver Artists Seeking Affordable Studio Space   39 Tim Jones, President and CEO of Artscape credits the success of the project to the relationships that the non-profit organization has built.  “’ When I started at Artscape 20 years ago, we'd be invited to come wave placards outside buildings where people were being evicted. It's just not a very effective strategy…[b]y building relationships with the right people we've been able get a lot of interesting things happening. We're trying to get beyond the sorry story of artists as victims’" (Gallant, 2010). One of the largest differences between this case and Vancouver is the presence of Artscape.  Vancouver does not yet have such an organization that is dedicated to artist space issues.  However, it is interesting to note the agreement that the developer, the City of Toronto and Artscape were able to come to an agreement to allow additional density, with the provision that artist space would be created. Another commendable aspect of this case is the use of the Draft Canadian Artists’ Code to ensure that the space is reserved only for artists.  The presence of the co- ordinating body Artscape as owner of these units also ensures that these spaces remain in the possession of artists and non-profit arts professionals for perpetuity.  Artscape is a not-for-profit urban development organization that revitalizes buildings, neighbourhoods, and cities through the arts.  For 20 years, Artscape has been aiming to provide affordable space for creativity to thrive while also maintaining a positive cultural, economic, social, and environmental impact.  For more information about Artscape, visit: More information related to this case can be found at: Artscape Triangle Lofts: Active 18: CMHC’s AMR and Ontario’s AHP: Creative Arts Savings and Credit Union:      A Handbook for Vancouver Artists Seeking Affordable Studio Space   40 US - OPEN CONTAINER V (SANTA BARBARA) The Container Project first started when the University of California, Santa Barbara’s (UCSB) Institute for Research in the Arts (UCIRA) partnered with Jorgen Staal of J. Staal Storage Solutions to find a new use for the many empty shipping containers that were accumulating in Staal’s yard.  Dealing in the rental and sales of storage containers, Staal was seeking a new and economically profitable project for the containers.  He agreed to donate containers to The Container Project to explore the possibilities.  As one initiative of The Container Project, Open Container was a studio class led by Kim Yasuda, professor at UCSB and co-director of UCIRA, in which each class was given free rein over three containers to design as they wished.  The containers are earthquake-resistant, weatherproof and built to withstand a 22-day voyage across the Pacific Ocean from China to California.  The classes making up Open Container I through IV created gallery space, a cinema, a mobile and expandable exhibition/drawing station and several habitation options.  Materials for the project were often donated by campus vendors or found for free from online website Craig’s List ( Open Container V was first conceptualized in 2007 as studio space when the campus lost 10 undergraduate art studios located in a condemned building.  The class decided to build a cheap and mobile prototype that could serve as temporary replacements.  The result was a two- container unit that did not have access to running water but explored methods of up- to-code electrical, wind and solar power prototypes as well as a green roof.  The studio was home to two honours students in the following year.  The container studios also received conceptual approval by the campus planning division at UCSB Figure 6: Open Container V, from outside Source: kimyasuda, 2007 Figure 7: Open Container V, inside Source: kimyasuda, 2007
 A Handbook for Vancouver Artists Seeking Affordable Studio Space   41 for more container studios to be built as ‘temporary mobile art spaces’ (Yasuda, 2007a; Yasuda, 2007b; Kettman, 2007). Like the Village Underground example, this case takes advantage of available local resources.  What is most interesting about this case is that although lacking running water, the studio spaces that were created met building code requirements, meaning that container studios can be a realistic idea for future studio space. However, the studios created from this project were of a temporary nature, and to be used within the university campus only.  Further explorations and development of containers, or other similar structures for the use of studio space could be useful if a space for their location can be found.  Also highlighted in this example is the collaboration with a school to produce a product that benefits both the project initiators and the students through a unique learning experience.  For more information about the Open Container V studios, visit: Other container projects that may be of interest: The Shipyard: Cove Park: Container City at Trinity Buoy Wharf:   US - THE TILSNER CO-OPERATIVE & ARTSPACE PROJECTS, INC. (SAINT PAUL) Before Artspace started its renovation, the Tilsner in Lowertown, Saint Paul, Minnesota had no windows or roof and part of the top two floors were so deteriorated that they could not bear human weight.  Parts of the floors were punctuated with holes made by past prospective developers who had all given up on renovating the building as a worthwhile real estate investment.  After Artspace had successfully renovated the Northern Warehouse next door, the City of Saint Paul asked the non- profit real estate developer to try its hand at the Tilsner space. A Handbook for Vancouver Artists Seeking Affordable Studio Space   42 Renovations to the Tilsner cost $6.5 million USD and in exchange Artspace produced 66 affordable live/work units for individuals and families, which range from studios at 950 square feet to three-bedroom units at 2,200 square feet.  The building has a total of 139,360 square feet.  Each unit has high ceilings, pine floors, exposed brick walls, wood beams, large windows, and modern kitchens and baths.  In addition, Artspace also built skylights that fill two seven-storey atriums with natural light, a gallery, meeting rooms, a workshop, a children’s playroom and a laundry room on every level. Since the Tilsner functions as a co-operative, its residents must participate in one or more of the Tilsner’s committees, which help to facilitate community life. However, involvement at the co-operative does also respect their members’ needs for a family life, work and time for their artistic endeavours.  Many Tilsner studios are open to the public for the sale and exhibition of artwork in the twice-annual Saint Paul Art Crawl, which takes place in Downtown and Lowertown St. Paul (Tilsner Artists’ Cooperative, 2003; Artspace Projects Inc., 2009a). This example shows the available possibilities for areas where the capacity to manage facility issues is strong.  Artspace is a local organization equipped with both knowledge of facility issues but also understanding of the local context.  It should also be noted that many American cities have a considerably greater stock of old buildings that can be renovated, which is not necessarily the case in Vancouver. However, the co-operative aspect of this project is a theme that is just beginning in Vancouver with the 901 Artists Co-op, and communication with the Tilsner, as well as other Artspace project could help Vancouver artists to understand what methods make a co-operative successful, as well as what mistakes to avoid. For more information about the Tilsner Artists’ Cooperative, visit:  About Artspace Projects Artspace Projects, Inc. is an American non-profit real estate developer for the arts based in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  Founded in 1979, Artspace owns and operates 24 A Handbook for Vancouver Artists Seeking Affordable Studio Space   43 projects in 17 cities and 12 states.  The majority of the projects are live/work buildings, which total 846 residential units.  Other projects include non-residential spaces such as studios, offices for arts organizations, rehearsal and performance venues, and space for arts-friendly businesses. Artspace projects typically take between three to five years to develop, as the organization makes sure the project is fully funded before the project breaks ground. Funding sources include: Low Income Housing Tax Credits, Historic Tax Credits, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) and Home Investment Partnership (HOME) funds, Federal Home Loan Bank funds, Tax Increment Financing, city and state cultural facility grants, a conventional first mortgage, and philanthropic gifts. Artspace also makes use of federal, state and local financing available through established funding programs targeting the creation of affordable housing and economic development projects.  In addition, all Artspace live/work projects qualify as affordable housing for low- to moderate-income households under the IRS Code (Section 42). Although anyone who qualifies for affordable housing is eligible to apply for Artspace’s live/work units, preference is given to applicants who participate and are committed to the arts.  A Selection Committee interviews all applicants. Artspace also maintains ownership of their projects when they are completed. Tenant rents are used to pay the mortgage and operating costs on the projects. Excess revenue is used for preventative maintenance, commons area improvements and building upgrades (Artspace Projects Inc., 2009b). More information about Artspace can be found at:  US - BID DOWNTOWN ARTIST SPACES PROGRAM (NEW ROCHELLE) In New Rochelle, New York, the New Rochelle Business Improvement District (BID) has a proposal for downtown property owners in a time when economics are uneasy: convert vacant spaces that were previously intended for commercial use into studio space for artists. A Handbook for Vancouver Artists Seeking Affordable Studio Space   44 The idea behind the initiative is to not only provide long-term affordable studio space to artists, but also to help property owners that possess vacant buildings due to the stagnant market.  In addition, the program would promote an increase of pedestrian movement into the downtown area, which could help downtown businesses, as well as return New Rochelle to its former artistic roots, which includes the legacy of painter and illustrator Norman Rockwell. Before the program was announced, Ralph DiBart, Executive Director of the BID had identified about 25,000 square feet of unused upper-floor space in downtown buildings suitable for this program.  A month later, in March 2009, 6,000 square feet of that space had been rented to artists.  The program estimated that 10,000 square feet of the total space would be rehabilitated through the end of 2009. Although such spaces could have been rented for up to $24 USD per square foot when used for commercial space, many of the buildings have been sitting vacant for a few years due to the economic downturn and the conversion of the vacant space into artist studios is far less costly than it would be to renovate for commercial vendors.  The artist studios are priced at rents of between $350 to $900 USD depending on size and exposure to light, rather than by square foot because of an agreement with the BID.  For one newly signed lease, the price amounts to just under $17 USD per square foot. Funding for this program is provided by the New York State Housing Trust Fund Corporation’s New York Main Street Program, which will match grants of up to $30,000 USD per building, to a total of $90,000 USD for renovation costs. DiBart has worked with the nearby City of Peakskill in 1990 during another recession on a similar project and successfully created a Downtown Artist District. He envisions that once the artists are in place, the BID will work with the artists to help them promote their work and organize activities and events to bring the public into downtown New Rochelle (New Rochelle Downtown Business Improvement District, 2009; Charkes, 2009; Iarocci, 2009). This project as it stands may not be applicable for Vancouver because the prices for studio space are much more expensive than what other Vancouver studios have been able to achieve.  Also, the building stock for this type of renovation is limited.  Regardless, this type of idea has taken root in Vancouver through the work A Handbook for Vancouver Artists Seeking Affordable Studio Space   45 of David Duprey and the Hastings Renaissance program, which were discussed in the Vancouver case study.  What this type of project risks, however, is prospective gentrification to the neighbourhoods in which they take place, if the buildings are not secured for artists for the long-term.  What Vancouver could learn from the BID example is the infrastructure provided by this association.  It is important that artists have a network to turn to for business advice, as well as to provide networking opportunities.  The BID’s announcement of the Downtown Artist Spaces Program can be found at:  The New Rochelle Downtown Business Improvement District (BID) is a non- profit association created in 2000 with over 800 business and property owners as its members.  The BID is involved with the economic development, new business and new investment in New Rochelle’s downtown.  For more information about the BID, visit:   US - BOSTON ARTIST SPACE INITIATIVE (BOSTON) The Boston City Council and the Massachusetts Legislature established the Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA) in 1957 to expand the responsibilities previously held by the Boston Housing Authority beyond public housing.  The City Planning Board was also later consolidated into the BRA.  The BRA’s development authorities include the power to buy and sell property, the power to acquire property through eminent domain, and the power to grant tax concessions to encourage commercial and residential development (Boston Redevelopment Authority, 2010a). The Boston Redevelopment Authority recognizes that space and real estate concerns are a large issue for Boston artists and have launched the Boston Artist Space Initiative in response to this need.  As part of the Initiative, the BRA operates quarterly reviews of artists’ credentials to certify that only artists occupy permanent A Handbook for Vancouver Artists Seeking Affordable Studio Space   46 spaces specially created for them.  Artists are required to demonstrate their recent work to a committee of peers to qualify.  Artists accepted will receive an Artist Certificate and can seek out work- or live/work spaces specially designated by the BRA through deed restrictions or other legally binding covenants.  The Artist Certificate is valid for five years, after which artists need to be re-certified (Artspace Projects, Inc. and Boston Redevelopment Authority, 2003; Boston Redevelopment Authority, 2010b). The BRA supports the development of artist live/work and work-only space in various buildings and Boston neighbourhoods.  The units may be located in condominiums, cooperatives or rental buildings.  A variety of spaces ensure that the needs of artists at varying income levels can be met.  The BRA website provides links to live/work and work-only units for rent and sale, as well as temporary performance space for rent (Boston Redevelopment Authority; 2010c). In addition to the certification process, the BRA has also secured certain benefits for artist and artist spaces.  According to the Boston Zoning Code, artists are the only group allowed to live in industrial zones.  The BRA has set up specific design guidelines for artist spaces including minimum square feet for live/work units, sound proofing and ventilation requirements as well as loading and elevator access (Artspace Projects, Inc. and Boston Redevelopment Authority, 2003). The BRA has also established an Artist Space Mailing List, which is a database of over 3,000 artists in Boston that receive regular updates on available units, first time homeowner workshops and other issues related to the Artist Space Initiative, such as prospective projects (Ibid.; Boston Redevelopment Authority, 2010d). The Boston Artist Space Initiative contributes a pertinent example of how policy and zoning can be used to govern users of artist spaces through the Artist Certification program and the Boston Zoning Code.  These types of policy and zoning practices should be examined to see how they could be modified for use in Vancouver.  The establishment of an Artist Space Mailing List also provides a useful source of information for this issue.  Currently, the City of Vancouver’s Cultural Services department runs a mailing list on all department activities, but it does not specifically focus on the issue of affordable studio space. A Handbook for Vancouver Artists Seeking Affordable Studio Space   47 BRA & Artspace Projects, Inc. Artists’ Survey In order to judge the success of these initiatives as well as to assess what kinds of affordable studio space strategies should be implemented in Boston, the BRA commissioned Artspace Projects, Inc. to conduct a survey.  In late March and early April of 2002, Artspace Projects mailed the survey to 9,500 artists and conducted focus groups.  The survey received responses from nearly 2,000 participants.  The survey included an introduction by Boston’s mayor Thomas M. Menino and touched on four areas: 1) artists’ current living and working information; 2) preferences for living and work spaces; 3) demographic information; and 4) the respondent’s personal interest in several proposed projects (Artspace Projects, Inc. and Boston Redevelopment Authority, 2003). More information about the Artist Survey as well as a copy of the report can be found online at:  For more information, visit: Boston Redevelopment Authority: BRA’s Artist Certification Process: sp BRA’s Boston Artist Space Initiative:  To join the City of Vancouver’s Cultural Services mailing list, visit:      A Handbook for Vancouver Artists Seeking Affordable Studio Space   48 LESSONS LEARNED From the case studies, several themes resonate very clearly.  It is apparent that the one of the largest themes is for artists, arts professionals, non-profit organizations and municipalities dealing with affordable studio space to use all available resources at their disposal.  Village Underground, Open Container V and the BID Downtown Artist Spaces Program all used existing stock of Underground cars, shipping containers and vacant buildings to produce affordable artist space.  But resources are not limited to purely physical elements.  From the First Nations Cooperative who drew from their own members’ good credit and business skills, to Artspace who seeks funding from a variety of sources, these successful stories show that each body employed whatever resources they could find to work towards their goals. A second dominant theme is to create networks.  To successfully negotiate the case for Artscape Triangle Lofts, Artscape needed to partner with developer Urbancorp, the association Active 18 and the City of Toronto.  Both Village Underground and the Boston Redevelopment Authority’s survey relied on the support of the local mayors.  Instead of seeking out networks itself, Artspace was asked by the City of Saint Paul to renovate the Tilsner, demonstrating the power of its established connections to pave the way for further and future artist space initiatives. A third commonality between many of the cases is the need for flexibility for various types of artists.  Many of the examples demonstrated flexibility in studio types, whether they are work/live, live/work or work-only studios.  Studios also ranged in pricing for a range of income levels and in size for different household sizes.  Involvement in organization decisions is also important to some artists that wish to join co-operatives but less so for those that just need a space to work. The next two lessons learned often go hand-in-hand.  It is necessary to dream big but also to be prepared for unexpected consequences.  Village Underground and Open Container V are both examples of stretching beyond conventional examples to find new, innovative solutions for affordable studio space.  The First Nations Cooperative and Artscape also had strong ideas but needed to adapt them according to the circumstances.  The First Nations Cooperative originally wanted to create a cooperative gallery to pool together resources, but ended up needing to create separate entities because of the cooperative’s lack of assets.  Artscape’s primary A Handbook for Vancouver Artists Seeking Affordable Studio Space   49 goal was to mediate the situation between Urbancorp and Active 18, but ended up becoming involved managing an artist studio project as a result. Finally, the lesson of learning from other examples was important for the City of Saint Paul who requested that Artspace renovate a second building.  This lesson was also important for the BID Downtown Artist Spaces Program in New Rochelle that learned from the City of Peakskill’s experience.  Hopefully Vancouver artists will also be able to learn from the experience of other the cities demonstrated here and incorporate elements of these working solutions and/or lessons to provide affordable artist studios in their own city.               A Handbook for Vancouver Artists Seeking Affordable Studio Space   50 Recommendations  Although this handbook has been targeted for artists, this final section also includes recommendations for other parties, so that interested artists can see what other changes are feasible in the near future.  Additionally, these are also recommendations that artists could get involved with, whether it is by simply providing constructive input or by taking on a larger role.  FOR ARTISTS/CO-OPERATIVES/NON-PROFITS: In many of the examples studied in this report, artists were most effective at securing affordable studio space when working in larger organizations or as part of a co- operative.  Therefore, it is encouraged that artists seek out like-minded people and organizations to partner with.  Joining with other artists will help the individuals to further their common cause, but also provides opportunities for intra-learning within the co-operative or organization about different art resources or business skills.  By joining together and then seeking a partner for their co-operative, the artists from 901 Artists Co-op found appropriate studio space after being evicted from their original studios.  They had some consulting help from Vancity, but also made their case known in various newspapers and websites, which helped to publicize their cause. Foxcroft from the example of Village Underground echoed this idea in his advice to enlist the help of inspirational figures, which included the former mayor Ken Livingstone.  In the case of Vancouver, future artists may want to seek out other artists from groups such as the Eastside Culture Crawl Society ( or Artwalk Vancouver (  On a provincial level, artists can contact the Alliance for Arts and Culture ( and on a federal level, the Creative City Network of Canada ( Seeking out strong- willed individuals like David Duprey may also be helpful.  Even if he does not have space to let in one of his own buildings, he could perhaps refer an artist to useful sources. Funding is one of the largest issues in the way of affordable studio space. However, some groups such as Artspace Projects Inc. and the First Nations Co- A Handbook for Vancouver Artists Seeking Affordable Studio Space   51 operative have been able to create studio space by considering all funding sources and schemes available.  Artspace takes advantage of several different federal, state and local funding sources in order to realize their projects.  Similarly, the First Nations Co-operative drew from personal loans, as well as funding from sources from organizations that support First Nations work.  If planning to renovate an existing building, Vancouver co-operatives or non-profits can seek out funding sources such as the City of Vancouver’s Heritage Façade Rehabilitation Program and Cultural Infrastructure Grant Program.  Artists are also encouraged to also seek out creative solutions, such as the subway cars in Village Underground, or shipping containers in Open Container V.  For those who are ambitious, it may be of interest to work to form a non-profit real estate developer like Artscape Projects, Inc. or a charity like Acme Studios.  Seeking out other arts organizations in Canada may also help artists to find information or support for their cause.  Concerning the financing of artist spaces, Walker from the Urban Institute believes that “for long-term affordability, artists are best off as renters in properties owned by nonprofits or as owners. For long-term occupancy as artists, they are best off as occupants of cooperatives or of rental projects owned by nonprofits dedicated to artists support” (Walker, 2007:14). Although the City of Vancouver has demonstrated that it is also possible for a municipal government to provide a few affordable artists’ studio spaces (CORE studios, Artist Studio Award program), it may not necessarily be a sustainable or feasible practice on a larger scale.  FOR THE CITY OF VANCOUVER: Future studies and considerations As set out in its Cultural Facilities Priorities Plan, it is important for the City of Vancouver to move forward with the pilot project feasibility study of artist studios in Vancouver.  This study could incorporate an evaluation of the existing housing stock in the Mount Pleasant, Strathcona, Downtown Eastside and Grandview-Woodlands areas to clearly articulate potential locations for future artist studios.  At the same time, creative solutions should be researched like the use of shipping containers as in Open Container V, or the use of laneway housing as artist studio space as the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation has been investigating (Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, 2009).  The cultural facility maps created in the A Handbook for Vancouver Artists Seeking Affordable Studio Space   52 Cultural Facilities Priorities Plan are an essential resource to assist in developing networks between the City, arts organizations and artists in Vancouver.  The next step could be to find an interactive method of displaying this information, such as on a website, wiki or extension of VanMap (a web-based map system for Vancouver), which would provide more detailed information about the exact location of cultural facilities in Vancouver.  Such a map would be easier to navigate and would ideally have a search function where users could easily access a myriad of information about cultural facilities.  This could also be done by or in conjunction with other entities in Vancouver that are interested in cultural facilities, but City support is essential. The City of Vancouver Cultural Services should also continue to work with other departments of the City, such as Community Services, Real Estate Services and the Planning Department.  Not only can these partnerships help address gaps and overlaps in their departments, but they can also reinforce each other’s goals. Walker mentions that in the American context, “the inclusion of arts and cultural uses in community development plans has much more practical value as a stimulant to artists’ space development than inclusion of artists’ space development in cultural plans” (Walker, 2007:18).  Walker cites the reason is because community development plans are based on the strength of existing community and economic systems and require the support of locals.  However, cultural plans can also be effective if they are tied to community development plans or community development goals.  To successfully support affordable artist studios, Walker recommends that cities support non-profit developers.  In his experience, “the cities that have invested heavily in creating supportive systems for non-profit developers also contain all of the building blocks for effective support of artist space development” (Walker, 2007:18). The Cultural Infrastructure Grant Program and the provision of cultural facilities to non-profits at free or nominal rents by the City are important steps in this direction.  In addition to working with non-profit developers, partnerships with schools should be encouraged.  As seen in the Open Container V project, students often have creative methods of problem solving.  The topic of affordable studio space could easily be incorporated into a course, design studio or competition for urban planning, architecture, engineering, business or social studies students. A Handbook for Vancouver Artists Seeking Affordable Studio Space   53 Working with various City departments or other bodies would also promote a variety of housing types and structures.  This is important as artists have various needs and require market and non-market work/live, live/work and work-only studios that range in both price and size.  Larger non-profit organizations like Artspace Projects, Inc. and Acme Studios acknowledge this point and include a diverse range of artist spaces in their project portfolios. Another consideration for the City would be the issue of artists crowding out local residents, especially in the Strathcona and Downtown Eastside areas.  The STIR (rental) analysis conducted in this report showed that this could be an issue if artist spaces take over existing housing stock or increase the rent of the area.  The City of Vancouver Community Services has acknowledged this fact in its Hastings Renaissance program, which aims to renovate rather than re-construct spaces in an attempt to keep rents low in the short-term.  The Hastings Renaissance program also focuses on buildings that are currently not in use, thereby increasing the housing stock overall, so this does not necessarily displace locals at the moment.  Over time, however, this could lead to further gentrification in the area, raising rents and making it unaffordable for local residents.  To address this concern, the City should also look into the development of affordable artist spaces in other areas of Vancouver besides the Strathcona and Downtown Eastside areas for artists that do not need to work near industrial land. VanMap can be found at:  Policy and Zoning opportunities One of the toughest challenges in the establishment of affordable studio space for artists is to ensure that they are in fact preserved for artists (at an affordable rate) and that these artists are working in their studios.  The Boston Redevelopment Authority has addressed this issue by creating an Artist Certification program.  The City of Vancouver should research this program to see if it can be adopted for use in Vancouver.  Hand-in-hand with this certification program would be a change in zoning to allow for an artist zoning in which only those with Artist Certificates could live.  Alternatively, artists could be the only use allowed in industrial zones, aside from manufacturing activity, as Boston Zoning Code currently stipulates.  A third A Handbook for Vancouver Artists Seeking Affordable Studio Space   54 option would be to follow Artscape’s advice in extending the cultural zoning designation beyond the downtown area so that artists would be permitted to live under this designation in other parts of the city (Artscape, 2008).  The combination of the artist certification program, special zoning allowances and buildings in the hands of non-profit organizations would help to guarantee these spaces are safeguarded for artists in perpetuity. Policies or bylaws would also need to be created or more clearly articulated to somehow ensure that the artist studio is the artists’ primary residence so that live/work studios do not become work-only studios.  Similarly, a standardization of “work” may need to be defined so that these spaces do not become live-only spaces. The current live/work use guidelines do not stipulate these concerns, and rather focus more on the external and structural details.  In terms of structural form, the City of Vancouver Community Services may want to stipulate guidelines concerning ceiling heights or adequate soundproofing, which are both elements that do not appear in the current live/work guidelines.  A re-evaluation of the current artist studio classes beyond the present two categories (Class A and B) could help to establish a greater variety of spaces to meet the need of Vancouver’s artists. Another recommendation in the City’s Cultural Facility Study was to consider creating zoning bylaws to allow various artists’ uses such as gallery and retail space to co-exist with live/work studio spaces (Artscape, 2008).  This would promote the recommendations championed also by Sacco et al. to combine multiple artist uses in the same space. Once the new policies and bylaws have been set in place, a post-occupancy review of spaces designated as artists’ studios may be necessary to ensure that these units are really used by artists for the production of art. Current City of Vancouver live/work use guidelines can be found online at:  FOR OTHER INTERESTED THIRD PARTIES: Other interested parties could help artists find affordable studio space by continuing to research community economic development models, as Vancity has been doing, A Handbook for Vancouver Artists Seeking Affordable Studio Space   55 because funding sources is an important issue that needs to be addressed, particularly in the Vancouver case.  Ensuring that affordable artist studios can be economically productive will convince developers that these kinds of initiatives are worthwhile investments. A second suggestion would be for third parties to centralize resources related to this issue.  In the author’s own personal experience searching for information about artist spaces in Vancouver has been difficult as it is very fragmented.  Elvy Del Bianco agrees (personal communication, March 10, 2010).  It would be ideal if a list of artists and artist spaces could be compiled and translated into a document or website for artists, non-profits, City staff and other interested parties to access.  An example of this is Artists’ Assets, which is a professional resource guide for artists in Washington State.  Artist Trust, a non-profit organization based in Washington, assembles this guide with the support of several governmental and non- governmental organizations.  Some of the artist resources that Artists’ Assets provides are: business and professional resources, legal information, funding opportunities, workspace and housing information as well as resources for specific artist genres, among other topics (Artist Trust, 2008).  An example of artists’ resources in website form is ArtistLink.  ArtistLink is the initiative of the Boston Redevelopment Authority in conjunction with several other Massachusetts organizations.  The website serves Massachusetts artists by providing tools for artists, developers and municipalities, in addition to a function called artspacefinder™, which allows registered users to both find and list available artist spaces (ArtistLink, 2010).  Locally, the “DTES Arts and Culture Resource Map” arranged by North Sky Consulting Ltd. (2006) begins to address this issue but a more comprehensive document detailing artist information for all of Vancouver is necessary to encourage collaboration between different parties interested in arts promotion.  This resource guide also lacks information about funding sources or legal services.  In addition, a document such as this is fixed in time and cannot be as easily updated and disseminated as a website.  Those parties interested in cultural mapping beyond databases and simple websites, such as the utilization of social media and smartphone applications, should turn to David T. Brown’s contribution entitled “A Wish List for Cultural Resource Mapping” in Greg Baeker’s Rediscovering the Wealth of Places. A Handbook for Vancouver Artists Seeking Affordable Studio Space   56  The artist resources mentioned in this section can be found at: Artists’ Assets: Artist Link: DTES Arts and Culture Resource Map: content/uploads/DTESArtsCultureResourceMap2006.pdf   ON PARTNERSHIPS Above all, it is important for those interested in artists’ issues to pursue partnerships with other individuals and organizations that share these interests.  Through their local field research of the arts in Vancouver, Sacco and his colleagues have determined that “there is a serious lack of mutual knowledge and coordination between different cultural institutions, and this impedes the emergence of a shared cultural identity of the city” (Sacco et al, 2007:39).  The Cultural Facilities Priorities Plan also mentions that partnership is one of three key roles of Cultural Services, in addition to acting as a provider and facilitator (Artscape, 2008).  “Connecting People, Ideas and Communities” (Ibid: 7) is also one of the five strategic themes used as directions for the Cultural Facilities Priorities Plan. Once again, it should be mentioned that partnerships between compatible arts uses should look into sharing common space, and that partnerships between different individuals and bodies interested in the arts should be encouraged. Partnerships with schools would bring out innovative examples like Open Container V and the joining of local residents with students as in the case of the Woodward’s building’s W2 and SFU.  Vancouver artists could also work on an international scale with organizations like Acme Studios to develop international opportunities for local artists and to increase the international recognition of local artists.  When the artists return to their hometowns, they would bring with them the knowledge of the other organization’s techniques to securing affordable studio space, which could be disseminated and put into action in a locally applicable way.  Currently, Acme Studios A Handbook for Vancouver Artists Seeking Affordable Studio Space   57 accepts international residents from six countries in its live/work studios, but the only Canadian organization that has partnered with them so far is a Quebec-based group (Acme Studios, 2010e). Finally, partnerships between different groups could aim to form national initiatives that would strengthen support for artist studios in Canada as well as in Vancouver.  Acme Studios did this by establishing the National Federation of Artists’ Studio Providers in the United Kingdom (Acme Studios, 2010b).  National networks could also help to create advocacy programs for affordable studio providers such as Capital Studios in London (Acme Studios, 2010f).  Partnerships are critical in Vancouver and Sacco et al. agree that “a more strategically focused policy for BC's creative industries would be likely to unleash a development potential that is still mostly lying underground” (Sacco et al., 2007).             A Handbook for Vancouver Artists Seeking Affordable Studio Space   58 Conclusion  This project aimed to outline the current status of affordable studio space in Vancouver and seek out possible methods of affordable studio space provision from other case studies.  In this study, one of the largest barriers to affordable studio space has been identified as a current lack of capacity to deal with these issues. However, this is one area that the City of Vancouver’s Cultural Services is working on developing in its Phase I Implementation of the Cultural Facilities Priorities Plan. Organizations such as Vancity and B.O.B. are also working to develop local capacity through research and monetary investment in local artist initiatives.  Another barrier that has been identified in Vancouver is funding, which is particularly important because of the unaffordability of space in general in the city.  Changes to policy and bylaws can help to improve the current system of affordable studio space, but it is important that the capacity and funding issues are first addressed.  The City has begun to respond to the issue of funding, especially with the newly introduced Cultural Infrastructure Grant Program.  Further progress in cultural infrastructure will depend on additional co-operation and funding from other levels of government. The case studies cited in this project provide some ideas as to how Vancouver can move forward on this issue, but they are of course, subject to modification based on the local context.  This handbook has aimed to understand the case studies on a basic level as well as which elements are useful for Vancouver.  However, further research could focus in on particular case examples to better understand how they can be applied and implemented in Vancouver. This handbook also provided some background information into the question of why studio space in Vancouver is unaffordable, but could have been strengthened by additional strategies to combat this issue.  From this study, it has been found that to make studios more affordable, they must be owned by a non-profit or a landlord dedicated to arts and cultural uses.  When the capacity in Vancouver is further built up, perhaps more solutions will emerge to address the issue of affordability. A limitation of this study is that it is only a partial assessment of the conversation on affordable studio space in Vancouver.  As mentioned in the project A Handbook for Vancouver Artists Seeking Affordable Studio Space   59 scope, this study does not take into account informal studio spaces, which are a very important component to the arts and culture sector in Vancouver.  This study has also only involved a small percentage of artists and organizations involved with arts and culture.  Many more perspectives must also be considered to understand more completely the issue of affordable artist studio space in Vancouver.  However, this handbook has been constructed in such a way that it provides a starting point for artists interested in this issue.  Further inquiry into the references provided would help to enhance the larger picture, and will hopefully incite the reader to conduct his or her own additional research into this issue or sub-issues of interest.                A Handbook for Vancouver Artists Seeking Affordable Studio Space   60 Bibliography  Acme Studios. (2010a). 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Culture, creativity and spatial planning.  Town Planning Review, 75(4), pp. 383-404  Landry, C. (2005).  Lineages of the Creative City, in: Franke, S. & E. Verhagen (Eds.) Creativity and the City: How the creative economy changes the city, pp. 42-55. Amsterdam: NAi Publishers.  Lazaruk, S. (2010, January 25). Vancouver’s housing least affordable to its own citizens, survey says. The Province.  Retrieved March 11, 2010 from: valley/Vancouver+housing+least+affordable+citizens+survey+says/2482583/sto ry.html LeGates, R. T., Hartman , C. 1986. The anatomy of displacement in the United States, in Smith, N. & P. Williams (Eds.). Gentrification of the City, pp. 178-200. Boston: Allen & Unwin  London Rebuilding Society. (2006a). Village Underground. London Rebuilding Society. Retrieved March 1, 2010, from: _underground/ London Rebuilding Society. (2006b). About Us. London Rebuilding Society. Retrieved March 1, 2010, from: MacDonald, C. (2001).  First Nations Artists Co-operative.  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Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press  Zukin, S. (1987). Gentrification: Culture and Capital in the Urban Core.  Annual Review of Sociology. 13, pp. 129-147         A Handbook for Vancouver Artists Seeking Affordable Studio Space   70 Appendix A Descriptions of the nine arts occupations Source: Hill, 2009 and 2006 National Occupation Classification for Statistics (NOC-S), Statistics Canada:  Occupation Title and Code  Definition Authors and writers (F021)  Authors and writers plan, research and write books, scripts, storyboards, plays, essays, speeches, manuals, specifications and other non-journalistic articles for publication or presentation. They are employed by advertising agencies, governments, large corporations, private consulting firms, publishing firms, multimedia/new-media companies and other establishments, or they may be self-employed. Exclusions: Journalists (F023, Journalists).  Producers, directors, choreographers and related occupations (F031)  This unit group includes producers, directors, choreographers and others who oversee and control the technical and artistic aspects of film, television, radio, dance and theatre productions. They are employed by film production companies, radio and television stations, broadcast departments, advertising companies, sound recording studios, record production companies and dance companies. They may also be self-employed. Exclusions: Editors of pre-recorded videos, sound recording mixers and other radio and video technicians (F125, Audio and Video Recording Technicians).  Conductors, composers and arrangers (F032)  This unit group included those who conduct bands and orchestras, compose musical works and arrange instrumental and vocal compositions. They are employed by symphony and chamber orchestras, bands, choirs, sound recording companies, orchestras for ballet and opera performances or they may be self- employed. Exclusions: Occupations concerned with performing or teaching instrumental or vocal music (F033, Musicians and Singers).  Musicians and singers (F033)  This unit group includes musicians, singers and teachers of vocal and instrumental music. Musicians and singers perform with orchestras, choirs, opera companies and popular bands in establishments such as concert halls, lounges and theatres and in film, television and recording studios. Music teachers teach in conservatories, academies and private homes. Exclusions: Persons who teach music in post-secondary, secondary or elementary school (E1, Teachers and Professors), and Music composers and arrangers (F032, Conductors, Composers and Arrangers). 
 A Handbook for Vancouver Artists Seeking Affordable Studio Space   71 Dancers (F034)  This unit group includes dancers and dance teachers. Dancers are employed by ballet and dance companies, television and film productions and night clubs and similar establishments. Dance teachers are employed by dance academies and dance schools. Exclusions: Persons who teach dance in post-secondary, secondary or elementary schools (E1, Teachers and Professors), Choreographers (F031, Producers, Directors, Choreographers and Related Occupations); and Exotic and striptease dancers (F132, Other Performers).  Actors and comedians (F035)  Actors and comedians perform roles in motion picture, television, theatre and radio productions to entertain a variety of audience. They are employed by motion picture, television, theatre and other production companies. This unit group includes acting teachers employed by private acting schools. Exclusions: Persons who teach acting in post-secondary, secondary or elementary schools (E1, Teachers and Professors).  Painters, sculptors and other visual artists (F036)  Painters, sculptors and other visual artists create original paintings, drawings, sculptures, engravings and other artistic works. They are usually self-employed. This group also includes art instructors and teachers, who are usually employed by art schools. Exclusions: Art teachers in primary, secondary or post-secondary institutions (E1, Teachers and Professors); Graphic designers (F141, Graphic Designers and Illustrating Artists); Skilled craftspersons (F144, Artisans and Craftspersons) and House painters (H144, Painters and Decorators).  Other performers (F132)  This unit group includes circus performers, magicians, models, puppeteers and other performers not elsewhere classified. They are employed by circuses, nightclubs, theatre, advertising and other production companies or may be self-employed.  Artisans and craftspersons (F144)  This unit group includes those who use manual and artistic skills to design and make ornamental objects, pottery, stained glass, jewellery, rugs, blankets, other handicrafts and artistic floral arrangements. Makers of stringed musical instruments are also included in this unit group. Most craftspersons are self-employed. Artistic floral arrangers are usually employed in florist shops and floral departments of retail establishments or may be self- employed. Craft instructors are also included in this unit group and are employed by artisan guilds, colleges, private studios and recreational organizations. Exclusions: Painters, sculptors and other visual artists (F036, Painters, Sculptors and Other Visual Artists); Machine operators and assemblers and Related Occupations; or J, Occupations Unique to Processing, Manufacturing and Utilities).  


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