Artists and creatives in British Columbia have a new tool in the battle against soaring space costs across the province: SpaceFinder BC.
The new creative space directory, described as an “online matchmaking tool for creative space and creative people” was designed by NYC nonprofit Fractured Atlas to remove barriers to creative production.
The B.C. version is administered by the BC Alliance for Arts + Culture, the organization behind such arts-advocacy initiatives as ArtsVoteBC and the BC Artists Registry.
One of the latest initiatives to capitalize on the BC Creative Economy Strategy, SpaceFinder’s purpose is to help creatives solve issues of access in competitive urban markets, and while on tour.
The most recent Canadian National Labour Force Survey found over 136,600 artists in Canada who spent more time at their art than at any other occupation, with British Columbia holding the largest percentage of its labour force in arts and cultural occupations.
The increases in creative workers over the past two decades have outstripped the growth of the general labour force overall. Meanwhile, the B.C. continues to hold the highest cost of living in the country.
The gap between creativity and affordable creative space is what SpaceFinder BC aims to bridge. Users of the site choose their desired rate, location and permitted use and find matching available spaces via the www.spacefinderbc.org main page.
Searches can be further refined by discipline-specific amenities, such as lighting, sound equipment or even floor type. Any venue can qualify to appear on the directory, including coffee shop stages, libraries, yoga studios, theatres, community halls and everything in between. Registration is free, approval is immediate, and the exposure to space-hungry creatives is priceless.
The no-fee model of SpaceFinder is unique in the crowd of existing space-finding websites because of its entirely not-for-profit model.
Costs are taken on by partnering non-profit arts organizations for each arm of the platform, with the administrative support provided by ArtsBuild Ontario in Canada. As BC Outreach Coordinator Rhiannon Herbert notes, “SpaceFinder is not a competitor in the [space] market, it is an ally for those currently navigating it.”
SpaceFinder’s utility is catching the interest of professional organizations, business owners and cities across the province. Recent events include a presentation at the City of Kelowna’s Creative Space Summit, and a panel talk at this year’s Heritage BC conference in Victoria.
Herbert ads: “SpaceFinder BC has tremendous potential as a tool for improved resilience in the BC creative community. If people run with this — musicians, freelancers, performers, venue owners — they can actively shape the directory to reflect their needs.”
To learn more about SpaceFinder BC or to inquire about upcoming events, email firstname.lastname@example.org. More information can also be found on the BC Alliance for Arts + Culture website and on www.spacefinderbc.org