In her article “How an old school building is bringing artists back to Queen West,” which ran in the Globe and Mail’s Toronto section this past weekend, writer Zosia Bielski highlights many of the unique characteristics of Artscape Youngplace: its history as a school, its situation within the broader context of the neighbourhood and the unique model underpinning its operations. It’s the perfect piece for anyone looking for a primer on what makes Artscape Youngplace unique.
Marta Legrady is the last principal to have worked at 180 Shaw Street when it was a school. She says, ‘“Given the history here, given the community, this is absolutely the right thing to do with this building” … “If this had become some fake-chic, condo type-place that would bother me a lot. We’ve got more than enough of those.”’
It took a tremendous, concerted effort by a number of parties to create Artscape Youngplace, and this article tells the story of how it went from vacant building to a bright, secure new facility totally up to building code. Bielski notes the many advantages Artscape Youngplace holds for artists and members of the community, but perhaps most touching are the notes from former students and teachers, among them Beatrice Morris.
‘Ms. Morris’s blue eyes shone as she took in the celebration. “For the years the school was closed, I thought what a waste. It was such a nice building, it’s terrible to leave it sitting here. Then Artscape said they were coming in and I thought, I don’t even know what an Artscape is. I think it’s beautiful.”’