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Creative Spaces Update

As many of you know, Guelph has long explored the idea of a multi-purpose arts facility. This concept has taken many different forms. With each iteration, those spearheading the project have tried to address different needs that have been expressed by the many artists and arts organizations in our community. In each of these scenarios, one of the major challenges has been to coordinate logistics while strategically raising the funds needed to tackle such a massive undertaking. Key to this struggle is creating a safe, accessible, and affordable space for artists and community members.

MAKING [creative] SPACE: Studio 404


It is 3pm on a sunny winter day in January, when I pull up to Studio 404 in my boss’ little blue car. 

I’m meeting Ross Davidson-Pilon to chat about his photo studio and its recent conversion into a shared space for artists. 

I pull up to the side of the building at 404 York Road and the parking signage stops me in my tracks. The signs are graphic and yellow and remind me of scuba diving flags, not parking signs. “The Really Big Boss” space is taken so I slip my borrowed car into the spot reserved for “The Big Boss” with a little smirk.

Until May 2013, Studio 404 occupied the entire 5000 square foot building, but after 34+ years in the commercial photography business it’s time for Ross to ease into semi-retirement.  “Growing is much easier than shrinking,” he tells me, which on reflection, seems to be full of universal truths.  The studio is still shooting lots of commercial assignments and the picture frame shop and digital lab are fully functional but Ross himself hopes to be fully retired by 2016 to focus on his personal art projects , teaching , and gallery shows . 


Photo credit: all images © Ross Davidson-Pilon

2015 Needs Assessment Survey


As we continue to design and refine the Creative Spaces project model, we want to make sure that you remain part of the conversation and that your voice is being heard. The main goal if the Creative Spaces initiative is to build a space that the community is calling for.

With this project, we will begin to address each of your concerns, but there are limits to what this particular building can offer, which is why we need you to fill out the survey below. Please take a few minutes to update us on your current and projected creative space needs and let your voice be heard.

Even if you have filled out a questionaire in the past on this subject, it is vital that we move into this new phase with a crystal clear picture of what the community needs at this point in time.  To build the most sustainable model we very much need your participation.

Below is a link to an online survey that will take about 10 minutes to complete. We will leave the survey up for two weeks. The results of this survey will help us to align our project plan as closely as possible with the current needs of the community, while working towards building an accessible space for everyone.

Please take a few minutes to fill out this form. Help us help you!

Click here for the 2015 Creative Spaces Needs Assessment Survey

Thank you for helping us as we work together to make Guelph one of Canada's great creative cities!

Feel free to contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or (519) 836-3280 with any additional questions.

Exciting times for the Creative Spaces initiative!

We've been working hard this fall and got some exciting news that we want to share with the community!

Last night Guelph Arts Council took another step forward in securing 5500 sq feet of space in downtown Guelph to be re-developed as a multi-use arts space where artists, arts programmers and patrons can converge to celebrate the vibrant arts scene here in Guelph.

Read more ...

Paper trails . . .

Thank you for your continued interest in the Creative Spaces initiative!

Since we last upated you, the Guelph Arts Council Property Committee has been in a sea of meetings and paperwork to determine how to get a successful variance on the property that would allow us to use it for our intended purposes. Our plan is to submit an application for a variance on the property to the City of Guelph by the mid-September deadline, so please stay tuned for details about the public hearing date as it nears, as it would be wonderful to see a show of support from members of the Guelph Arts Council and the community at the hearing its self.  

Read more ...

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