BC Artscape | MakerLabs Launch Party 3

BC Artscape Launches with Funding Partnership from City of Vancouver, The J.W. McConnell Family Foundation and Vancity Community Foundation

Vancouver, BC – Last night, the launch of BC Artscape, a new Vancouver-based not-for-profit organization that will make space for creativity and transform communities, was celebrated by a crowd of 150 government, arts community, urban development and philanthropic supporters at MakerLabs. The organization’s preliminary start-up capital was announced: $700,000 in confirmed funding from the City of Vancouver, The J.W. McConnell Family Foundation and Vancity Community Foundation and $200,000 in additional pledges from unnamed sources. These generous funding partners have ensured the foundation for BC Artscape to take root in British Columbia.


“The City of Vancouver’s role as a founding partner in the launch of BC Artscape once again shows City Hall’s deep commitment to supporting artists and our world-class arts and culture community,” said Mayor Gregor Robertson. “BC Artscape is an exciting new addition to our vibrant and fast-growing creative sector. Vancouver is home to the most artists per capita of any major city in Canada, and this new initiative will help meet our city’s high demand for affordable new spaces for local artists and entrepreneurs.”

“The J.W. McConnell Family Foundation is proud to partner with the City of Vancouver and Vancity Community Foundation in enabling Artscape to initiate its program in British Columbia,” said Stephen Huddard, President and CEO, The J.W. McConnell Family Foundation. “The launch of BC Artscape holds national significance as the organization seeks to share lessons in ’creative placemaking‘ with an emerging Canadian network of social entrepreneurs in this field. We look forward to seeing the community transformation that will arise.”

“We are very pleased to collaborate in this effort that will enhance the ability for non-profit organizations to more directly engage in and benefit from real estate developments in our region,” said Derek Gent, Executive Director, Vancity Community Foundation. “Creative placemaking is a powerful concept that we believe our community can use more of.”

”Vancouver is a fantastic place to launch our first major expansion into another market,” said Tim Jones, President and CEO of Artscape, the Toronto-based affiliate of BC Artscape. “We are humbled by the level of enthusiasm and support we have received and excited about the many project opportunities that are emerging.”

BC Artscape will operate as an independent, local affiliate of Artscape, the 27-year old, award-winning, Toronto-based non-profit known for pioneering a unique approach to urban development called “creative placemaking.

BC Artscape will leverage Artscape’s talent and track record in an effort to significantly accelerate cultural facility development in Vancouver and beyond. BC Artscape will be governed by a local Board of Directors. Board recruitment is currently underway along with a search for its president.

Despite the high price of real estate, BC Artscape is already exploring six capital project opportunities in Vancouver and has started to discuss the potential of creative placemaking with communities in the Greater Vancouver area. The organization will focus its development activities on projects of scale (30,000 square feet or more) while also supporting smaller, independently-led initiatives through a mentoring and coaching program. Priority will be given to projects that provide affordable space for creativity and will play a strong role in community transformation.


The mentorship and coaching application process will be launched in January 2015 at www.bcartscape.caand will allow selected participants to work closely with Artscape’s senior specialist staff in a program that will develop their capacity across project vision development, business planning, market testing and feasibility analysis, operational development and management.


For BC Artscape
Bonnie Allan, Bridge Communications
Tel 604-739-3120, Cell 604-218-9525

For the City of Vancouver
Corporate Communications
Tel: 604-871-6336

For The J.W. McConnell Family Foundation
Brigid Shea, Director of Strategic Communications
Tel: 514-228-2133

For Vancity Community Foundation
Derek Gent, Executive Director
Tel: 604-877-7553



Toronto-based Artscape is a not-for-profit urban development organization that makes space for creativity and transforms communities. Its work involves clustering creative people together in real estate projects that serve the needs of the arts and cultural community and advance multiple public policy objectives, private development interests, community and neighbourhood aspirations and philanthropic missions.

Artscape has had an eight-year history of involvement in the Vancouver area. The organization was hired as a consultant by the City of Vancouver in 2007 to assist with the development of its Cultural Facilities Priorities Plan and has shared its expertise locally through workshops on creative space and placemaking. As a result, Artscape is familiar with the people, issues, challenges and opportunities in British Columbia’s multi-dimensional arts and cultural community.

Since its beginning in 1986, Artscape has become recognized as an international leader in creative placemaking, a practice that leverages the power of art, culture and creativity to catalyze change, growth and transformation in communities. The organization achieves its mission through developing and managing unique cultural facilities—including community cultural hubs, multi-purpose creative spaces and artist live/work projects—and delivering programs and services that promote creativity and cultural space development. www.artscape.ca


The City of Vancouver is home to the highest concentration of artists in Canada. In the fields of performing, literary, visual, media and community and interdisciplinary arts, Vancouver’s artists and cultural organizations receive world-wide recognition. On a per-capita basis, the City of Vancouver provides the most local grant funding for arts organizations of any major city in Canada. The City is proud to be a leader in the support of arts and culture, and values the contribution of this sector to our social, environmental and economic well-being. www.vancouver.ca


The J.W. McConnell Family Foundation is a private philanthropic organization based in Montreal that supports Canadians in building a more innovative, inclusive, sustainable and resilient society. For more information, please visit: www.mcconnellfoundation.ca


Vancity Community Foundation is an arm’s-length public charity associated with the members of Vancity Credit Union in BC. Over the past 25 years, the Foundation has grown to more than $50 million, including 120+ Donor Advised Funds and a core endowment, modelling a progressive approach to investing the assets, making grants and directly delivering collaborative programs with a focus on sustainable development rather than aid. Building on the values, tradition and capacity of the relationship to a $20 billion, 500,000 member financial cooperative that is focused on Good MoneyTM, the Foundation has pioneered a number of innovations in Canadian philanthropy and impact investing, with a particular strength in supporting social enterprises and community owned real estate initiatives in our region. www.vancitycommunityfoundation.ca