Artscape receives a significant financial gift for their newest and largest arts & cultural project

Artscape has received a $2 million lead gift from The Michael Young Family Foundation towards the transformation of the historic Shaw Street School into a centre for creative collaboration. The announcement was made by Robert J. Foster, Chair of the Artscape Board of Directors, Mazyar Mortazavi, Chair of the Artscape Foundation and Tim Jones, president and CEO of Artscape at the official groundbreaking ceremony for the project, which included a new name for the centre: Artscape YOUNGplace.

Led by David and Robin Young, The Michael Young Family Foundation provides venture philanthropy to unique charitable enterprises in Toronto. During the last decade, $17 million of the foundation’s money has funded, and prompted extra government support for important urban projects such as the transformation of the historic Don Valley Brick Works into the Evergreen Brick Works and the creation of the Young Centre for the Performing Arts in the Distillery District, which is home to the Soulpepper Theatre Company. The Michael Young Family Foundation was recently awarded with the Association of Fundraising Professionals’ Outstanding Foundation Award.

In addition, Tim Jones announced that Artscape will be moving its headquarters from Liberty Village to Artscape YOUNGplace in the fall of 2012. The organization’s 35 staff members will relocate to a new 6,000-sq.-ft. space on the third floor of the centre.

At 75,000 sq. ft., Artscape YOUNGplace is slated for occupancy in the fall of 2012, and will repurpose and restore the Beaux-Arts heritage building of the Shaw Street School, which Artscape purchased from the Toronto District School Board in December 2010. Work on the structure is expected to cost more than $13 million, with abatement and waterproofing work currently underway and construction estimated to begin in early December 2011. The design of the renovation will include a number of environmentally sustainable components and will be led by Teeple Architects with construction managed by The Dalton Company.

Artscape YOUNGplace builds upon Artscape’s self-sustaining development model by offering ownership and rental opportunities for artists and not-for-profit organizations at below-market rates. Artscape achieves the below-market purchase price on ownership studios by providing a 25 per cent no-interest, payment-free second mortgage. This mix fills an important need in the arts community by offering some artists and organizations the opportunity to purchase their work space permanently while allowing Artscape to continue to address the needs of the arts community for long-term affordable rental space.  To date, Artscape has sold and leased 43 of the 49 studios in the building, with only 6 studios remaining for sale.

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