Creative Leaders in Toronto, Canada: Liz Kohn with Artscape

On an extraordinarily rainy afternoon, Liz Kohn, the Director of Communications at Artscape, and I sat down for an animatedly passionate conversation about using creativity to transform communities into socially-responsible and sustainable urban developments.

The sheer amount of programs running through Artscape are astounding and stands as a resounding example of how dedicated persistence can culminate into momentous change.  Artscape’s flourishing growth proves that eventually our creative efforts will gain such momentum that visionary projects will simply tack themselves onto our snowball.

Since being founded in 1986, Artscape has transformed a portfolio of underutilized buildings across Toronto into dynamic community assets. These projects have been catalysts for growth and revitalization, and have helped stimulate several of Toronto’s vibrant and creative neighborhoods.

Artscape Distillery Studios

There has been an explosion of interest in the creative community’s role in driving growth, change, transformation and the new economy. Many communities struggle with the challenge of translating the new interest in creative cities and economies into beneficial strategies. Both an arts practitioner and a learning organization, Artscape has married street-level awareness with groundbreaking research and international connections – the result is a unique knowledge of creative urban development.

Check out the Artscape website to learn more about the wide range of their programs, including 11 building developments with studios and live/work spaces, mentorship activities, and educational guides. 

Mentorship activities at Artscape

The program that most piqued my interest was the Creative Placemaking Lab which shares Artscape’s expert knowledge with artists and organizations across Canada — and now, by chatting with the 13/13/13 Sketchbook Project, around the globe — and spearheads their future research and development.  Creative communities around the world (including Durham, NC and Johannesburg, South Africa which were recently profiled on this site) are increasingly interested in developing sustainable strategies to foster collaboration and create socially-responsible change.

On their dedicated website,, are hundreds of resources, including case studies, research reports, tip sheets, templates and many more educational and practical resources for artistic communities seeking advice.  Visit now and find out more about:

  • Insight into the practice and theories of Creative Placemaking
  • Detailed case studies
  • Essential tools and resources
  • Templates, guides and tip sheets

Martket at Artscape Wychwood Barns

I am so thrilled to have connected with such an experienced organization and am eagerly combing through all the guides provided on the Artscape DIY Resources page in order to incorporate that information into the holistic platform of this project.


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