On Friday, Feb. 3, Fractured Atlas, in partnership with the Arts and Cultural Industries Association of Manitoba (ACI Manitoba will launch SpaceFinder Manitoba, an online platform for artists and venues in Winnipeg. The launch, which will take place as a part of the Exchange District’s monthly First Fridays events, and will run from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. on the 4th floor of 245 McDermot Avenue.
SpaceFinder is a free online tool for venues to advertise their spaces for artists, and for artists to find studios, gallery spaces, creative and performance spaces. The online platform is accessible to all via a website – manitoba.spacefinder.org – and provides free matchmaking tools so artists can search for creative workspaces based on location, price, amenities, and availability. Winnipeg’s arts and culture staples like the Winnipeg Cinematheque and the Winnipeg Arts Gallery rooftop will be listed on SpaceFinder, as well as lesser-known and unconventional venues.
“[SpaceFinder] really is the Airbnb for artists and creative folk. It makes searching for and seeking out those creative spaces so simple you can do it from the comfort of your couch or a coffee shop,” said Arlea Ashcroft, facility manager at ACI Manitoba.
“It’s also pretty fantastic to see the overall picture and variety of spaces that Winnipeg has. It really is a city that is art- and creation-heavy.”
Fractured Atlas created and launched SpaceFinder in New York City. Fractured Atlas began as a production company in 1998, then was reinvented as an arts service organization in 2002. Today, this non-profit art service organization reaches over 250,000 artists and organizations through a variety of programs and services. The service is also available in Ontario, British Columbia, Alberta, and in 15 American cities.
SpaceFinder originally made its way to Canada through a collaboration with the ArtsBuild Ontario (ABO), the Toronto Alliance for the Performing Arts, and WorkInCulture. The funding for its initial launch was provided by the Metcalf Foundation. Lindsay Golds, the executive director of ABO, contacted various arts and cultural leaders across Canada, including ACI Manitoba, and was put in touch with Ashcroft. This led to what is now a partnership between ACI, ABO, and Fractured Atlas.
“I’m hoping that SpaceFinder Manitoba becomes as big as any other online booking tool and that people see the intrinsic value of it,” said Ashcroft.
Ashcroft hopes SpaceFinder will eventually be available throughout Manitoba, from Brandon to Churchill. She believes it will provide a streamlined rental and venue-finding process that reduces the time artists spend figuring out the logistics of their projects and exhibitions, thus allowing more room for creativity.
“I don’t think there has ever been a resource offered which puts all the potential creative spaces in one area so that you can peruse and find the space that’s right for you.”
Created by artists, for artists, SpaceFinder will make venue rental more accessible, and allow the artistic community to explore the many unique venues Winnipeg has to offer.
“SpaceFinder Manitoba empowers artists and community to work together as a cultural hub,” said Ashcroft.
“It’s breathing life into underused spaces and creating value for our city.”