This Thursday I found myself surrounded by wary TTC travelers as 4 of us caught the subway westbound to Spadina, shoulder to shoulder with the local colour. After a quick streetcar ride down and a death defying jay-walk, we found ourselves standing in front of 401 Richmond. The building loomed high and I could feel the warmth, radiating off the red brick.
We made our way into the café; The Remarkable Bean. We were there for a panel discussion on “Artist Run Centre Management”. Featuring; Indu Vashist, from South Asian Visual Arts Centre (SAVAC), Shannon Cochrance from FADO performance arts and Jennifer Bhogal from Open Studio.
Drinks and snacks littered the table, as we took our seats and started introductions. We told them a bit about ourselves and then talked about the management and organization of their centres as well as the differences between them.
It was an interesting learning experience, hearing directly from people who work in the rich 401 Richmond Ecosystem. Within the building there are many other artist run centres working together, inspiring and learning from one another. All three of the representatives we talked to spoke about the importance of partnerships, networking and perseverance. Each speaker had their own unique story, and perspective, but they could all agree on one thing; collaboration is key.
Each representative we spoke to has a different demographic, medium, audience and goal. But they all understood the value of each other’s work; they all understood that diversity in the arts is the best strategy. 401 Richmond brings creators together; it gives home to all these unique niche organizations and creates an arts hub that drives Toronto art forward.