The Toronto artist-space non-profit Artscape told tenants Thursday that it had received funding to extend operations through September after revealing earlier this week that it would enter receivership.
In an afternoon letter, Toronto Artscape Inc. chief operating officer Kelly Rintoul told tenants the organization had secured funding to “ensure the staff on the ground will remain employed and our buildings operational over the next few weeks. These funds will also provide some much-needed runway for Artscape to sort out transition plans where required.”
The letter did not describe the source of the funding, and said that the receivership process was still continuing. Artscape declined to provide clarity about the funding’s source when asked by The Globe and Mail.
Many of Artscape’s nearly 400 studio and housing tenants have expressed concerns this week that the receivership news left them mired in uncertainty about their living and working arrangements.
Artscape is one of Toronto’s most well-known studio and live-work space providers for artists, and has operated for more than three decades. Earlier this week, it revealed that it had in recent years amassed so much debt amid its expansion that it had become insolvent and needed to enter receivership. The organization also cited that reduced event revenues during the pandemic had exacerbated its financial struggles.
The City of Toronto has said that it would work with Artscape and its yet-to-be-named receiver to maintain its operations and minimize the impact on the artists it serves. The Globe obtained internal communications from the city that showed numerous city departments, including legal services and the housing secretariat, held an emergency meeting Wednesday at noon to discuss ways to reckon with Artscape’s insolvency.
One matter that was discussed was offering the organization an emergency grant to temporarily fund operations. In an e-mail to The Globe Thursday morning, prior to Artscape’s e-mail to tenants, a City of Toronto spokesperson said that no decisions had yet been made about how it could give Artspace financial assistance.
The company had tried to resolve its financial woes earlier this year by attempting to sell its flagship Artscape Daniels Launchpad facility on the Toronto waterfront, but no buyer had emerged in time. It was listed for $22.5-million, though Artscape has said in the past that it cost $34-million to develop.
Artscape then sought a $1.5-million extension to a $5-million line of credit from Toronto-Dominion Bank, which City Council said it would guarantee. But a city spokesperson said Thursday that TD sought additional conditions on the extension that were beyond the scope of what the council had approved, and thus the guarantee was not provided.
Rent is due on Friday, Sept. 1, for many of Artscape’s tenants. “Now that we have confirmation of operations for the month of September, we can proceed with processing rent payments,” Ms. Rintoul said in the e-mail to tenants. “Artscape will process the payments through an alternate bank account to keep rental income separate and protected from the receivership process.” Those who pay condo fees, Ms. Rintoul said, will continue to pay those fees to their condo corporations.
Editor’s note: This article’s previous headline may have given the impression that Artscape has entered the receivership process. Artscape is not currently in receivership and the headline has been updated.