Which candidates understand the need for affordable space for artists?
An election issue that crops up time and again in conversations with artists is the ongoing struggle to find and retain affordable space to create their work.
With real estate prices rising steeply and an influx of Torontonians fleeing unsustainable housing costs, gentrification is well under way in our downtown, and the arts community feels it keenly.
They are not holding their breath for support from Premier Doug Ford, who famously wanted to eliminate CBC funding, apparently unaware that it is federally funded, and claimed not to know who Margaret Atwood was when she criticized his Toronto library cuts.
In Peterborough, City Council did not balk at a price tag of $54 million to replace the Northcrest Arena and spent $139,675 on a feasibility study for a new major sports and entertainment complex to replace the Memorial Centre. But they wring their hands at committing to investments in the arts community. They spend to attract business investment but not to build arts investment and audiences.
Let’s take a look at some of Peterborough’s many artist-run, non-commercial spaces and the effort it takes to keep them going.