On April 1, some Artscape tenants didn’t pay their rent because of the COVID pandemic, according to CTV.
A group of artist tenants at apartment building and cultural hub in the city’s Weston neighbourhood say that they plan to jointly withhold rent this week amid a COVID-19 pandemic that has impacted their livelihood.
In a news release issued early Monday morning, the tenants said that they have reached out to their landlord about their situation and have been told that they can defer half of their April rent on request and then pay the balance owing off over a six-month period starting May 1.
The CEO of Artscape was interviewed by NOW Toronto. He said,
“Like our tenants, we’ve also been affected by the crisis,” Artscape CEO Tim Jones tells NOW. “We’ve laid off 54 staff members. We are doing everything we can to provide as much support as we can to them and to tenants. We’re reaching out to all of our lenders, talking to suppliers and organizing advocacy efforts with the federal government…. If there’s a suggestion that we’re not trying to be helpful, it’s just not the case. Unfortunately, as a nonprofit there are constraints.”
Artscape has been hit hard by the COVID-19 crisis. As of March 16th they closed all community hubs for three weeks including Weston and according to nowtoronto.com laid off 54 staff members. On top of that, artists at the 34 John Street Weston Hub live / work spaces are feeling the pinch of cancelled gigs and will not be paying rent when it comes due tomorrow. Non-profit Artscape told tenants that they could defer paying half of their April rent but artists have issued a press release stating that they won’t pay anything at all.
Since the closure is likely to continue far beyond April 6, and with revenues dwindling, Artscape may soon be scrambling for its own existence.
Do you dream of taking the stage?
Have you always wanted to create, perform or design for a theatre play?
Are you over the age of 55?
Now’s your chance!
Shakespeare in Action with the support of the New Horizons For Seniors Program is proud to produce King Lear in Weston, a community-engaged theatre project that is created by and for seniors living in northwest Toronto.
SHAKESPEARE FOR KIDS SUMMER CAMP
has a NEW HOME for 2020!Now in conjunction with SHAKESPEARE IN THE SHELL, The Groundlings (ages 7-11) and King’s Company (ages 12 – 15) will design, rehearse, and perform a play on the by the Artscape Weston Common, Shakespeare in Action’s new home!
Last week, I made a case that we should have a commercial relationship with all the new builders in Weston. They want to break the planning guidelines. I think they should pay to do so.
I also asked how you thought the (as-yet-imaginary) money should be spent. 59 people responded. Thank you! Here are the results. (They don’t add up to 59 because people could vote for more than one option.)
Many people noted that the new-new Farmers’ Market isn’t looking good and asked for a new-new-new one. That wasn’t the most popular option though: the most people voted for a YMCA-style space. I too think that would be just fantastic. Tied for third were a recreation space for young people and a scholarship fund. Damned fine ideas, if I do say so myself.
Peering into the data, I think we could safely say that a YMCA-style space would be just super, because it could provide all of the top options, as well as a few of the less popular ones:
Programming for youth
A stuff-bank for tools, food, clothing, and computers
Another, closer, and perhaps less popular gym
Perhaps even a community daycare, which we have been missing for six years
Tonight’s the last night to see A Christmas Carol by Shakespeare in Action with the Weston Silver Band. Robin Breon, a theatre reviewer, gives it a rave review:
I’ve seen quite a number of Carols over the years and this one (to paraphrase Dickens) was as good A Christmas Carol as any good old city knew, or any other good old city, village, borough or town in the good old world!