April 18, 2016
Winnipeg, Vancouver, Toronto and many other leaders in many other communities throughout North America have undertaken affordable housing initiatives for creative workers because they understand that economic diversification is an important initiative for any community.

Artsjunction is an affordable housing initiative sponsored by the Sudbury Arts Council. It is a valuable piece of infrastructure to assist with economic diversification. Artsjunction is not just for professional artists, it is designed to attract and retain creative workers. Workers who work in the film industry, graphics and design industries, computer game developers and so on.

Sudbury’s City Council has an opportunity to support an initiave that no other northern Ontario community has commited to with the Artsjunction project. Richard Florida an expert in the creative economy at the University of Toronto has demonsrated with his research that revitalizing neighbourhoods and the downtown within communities, is directly linked to the number of creatve workers that choose to live, work and play in those neighbourhoods. Guy Dixon of the Globe and Mail wrote an extensive article on how enocuraging artists and creative workers in development projects leads to a winning mix, see Arts and real estate – a winning mix Artscape is exporting to B.C. published May 25, 2015. May Warren of the Toronto Star (see article published on December 8th, 2015) wrote an article on how Toronto is creating affordable housing options for artists so as to keep them in Toronto.

Looking at this issue through the lens of “its money for artist but not for seniors” I would suggest is a distored lens. If Sudbury is to grow and diversify we need to do what the mining companies did in Sudbury years ago and address the housing needs for a new type of worker that we want to attract and retain in the community.

When a community invests in the cultural backbone it is rewarded. Tourism increases, people want to vist and return to interesting communities that offer festivals and cultural events. I would suggest we will have more of these events because of a downtown hub presence of creative workers. Locals benefit by richer opportunties to experience perfoming artists and so on.

Supporting a project like Artsjunction takes foreward thinking and bold leadership. The payoffs are many. Just look at the success of Artscape in Toronto! We need to do both things, support a diversified economy and support our seniors… it is not one or the other. It should also be noted that therer are a number of seniors that are professional creative workers as well and they would be eligible and welcome to live and participate in the Artsjunction residence.

Paddy O’Sullivan
Volunteer Project Coordinator
Sudbury Arts Council

Facebook: Artsjunction Downtown
Twitter: @ArtsjunctionDT

Leave a Reply