IMAA has observed that one point of struggle for many media arts organizations in Canada is finding a suitable site, with appropriate facilities and amenities that allows them to do the unique artistic and production work of the sector. After gathering more comprehensive data through a survey of members and closely allied artist-run spaces, IMAA highlighted some of the most common challenges in securing suitable and affordable spaces.

The Space and Facilities Toolkit consists of two portions: the study, and the toolkit. First, the study displays the results of the consultations, highlighting the needs of organizations within the sector regarding increased security of tenure, support to take on major renovations, relocation, or building purchases. Second, the Toolkit is a compilation of documents gathered from the previously mentioned members/artist-run spaces that could be used as templates or examples for future use.

The Media Arts Facility Study: 

The Space & Facilities Toolkit:

The Resource Toolkit is organized into ten categories, each representing an information need identified in the study. While some documents are dated, they often continue to provide a useful example of the nature of that type of document/agreement, providing a roadmap to navigate document formatting, word choice, or clauses that are often used.

1. Project Planning & Process Guides

This section contains documents that are helpful for the first steps in planning a real estate project, including long-term project outlines, sample feasibility assessments, and examples from La Meduse Arts Centre, PAVED Arts/AKA, and TMAC.

2. Business Planning Tools

This section contains documents that help describe an organization’s business plan, which is often used to illustrate an organization’s goals and strategies to funders and lenders.

3. Finance and Capital Planning

This is the largest section of the toolkit, as a response to the identified needs of arts organizations in the study. The section includes guides on financing and capital planning, budget templates, bank loan templates, sample construction quotes, and more. It also provides information on the Community Bond as a financing mechanism, as well as information on Community Infrastructure, according to the City of Vancouver, Province of BC, and the City of Toronto.

4. Property Management/Budgeting 

This section includes resources for maintaining and managing a real estate operation, including a summary of expenses within a condominium, a sample renovation quote, and a simple 5-year operating budget template.

5. Space Planning

This section contains information related to planning, designing, and assessing the unique needs of an arts organization to run its operations in a physical space. Included are sample interior space plans, images from user design workshops, and space needs assessments.

6. Governance/Ownership Agreements

This section provides resources and guides for managing NPO Financial Policies, as well as clear expectations for real estate committees. Overall, these resources will help an organization by increasing financial literacy, and ensuring that their NPO is well-managed financially.

7. Co-Location and Shared Space

In order to secure a location, many artist-run organizations choose to partner with one or more organizations to utilize a joint space. To determine whether this decision is advantageous, some of the resources in this section may be helpful. This section contains many different sample co-location feasibility studies, as well as a Non-Profit Shared Space Toolkit prepared by the City of Edmonton.

8. Organizational Structure/Partnership Agreements

Once the decision to partner with one or more organizations is set in place, organizations may have difficulty establishing an official, secure agreement. This section contains many templates for confidentiality agreements, inter-agency partnership agreements,  and joint venture agreements, as well as an example agreement between PAVED Arts and AKA Gallery in Saskatoon.

9. Facilities Leasing & Purchase

Overall, this section contains helpful documents for arts organizations to acquire rented, or purchased spaces. Included are: sample Offer to Lease documents between arts organizations and potential landlords, commercial lease agreements, license of occupation contracts, purchase and sale agreements, and land use agreements, as well as a description of each document to determine which is the most appropriate to any situation.

10. External Expertise

In some cases, arts organizations will choose to hire an expert or a consultant outside of the organization in order to secure a space. This section contains a guide on choosing the right consultant, as well as templates for a non-disclosure agreement and a standard consulting contract.