Industry Leading Arts Incubators

Industry Leading Arts Incubators

The concept for cSPACE Marda Loop — a community arts hub focused on the integration of entrepreneurship, innovation and creativity — may seem novel, or uncharted. And, in some ways, here in Calgary it is. In the past Calgary has been a challenging place for for emerging artists and early-stage entrepreneurs and innovators seeking affordable, high-quality space and community. When cSPACE Marda Loop opens in 2017, not only will the walls, halls and spaces  become canvases for artists and tenants to inhabit and shape visually, but the historic school will also become home to theatre troops and productions, school programs, and entrepreneurs of all kinds, working together to bridge the gap between arts, creative industry, technology, and business innovation. It will also serve to connect creators and community members, welcoming Calgarians and visitors to the city to drop in and experience the city’s arts incubator.

With tenants and artists beginning to move in in January 2017, we’re looking forward to seeing how the cSPACE Marda Loop creative community will build and shape the culture of the project and its presence in the Calgary community in the years to come.

As we get ready to open the doors to this bold new social enterprise in 2017, we look to similar creativity and innovation hubs around the globe and celebrate them for their unique traits and mission to support and encourage vibrant community building and place-making in their own cities.

Here are a few of our favourites from across the planet!


Artscape Youngplace (Toronto)

Much like cSPACE Marda Loop, Youngplace is a converted vintage school which opened in 2013. Located in the West Queen West neighbourhood, Artscape Youngplace nurtures creation, learning and collaboration through innovative programs, experiences and events.


Artscape Wychwood Barns (Toronto) 

A precursor to Youngplace, Wychwood Barns is also operated by Artscape, having opened in 2008. Housed in renovated streetcar repair barns, this creative space has room for 26 artists to live and work, and various not-for-profit organizations to operate, as well as a 7,680 square-foot event venue.


AS220 (Rhode Island)

Built on a commitment to providing an uncensored forum for the arts, this artist-run organization is untamed and true. According to AS220’s website, their vision for a local “unjuried” forum for the arts was “launched in a one-room rental above the Providence Performing Arts Center in 1985 with a budget of just $800. Today, the non-profit owns – and enlivens – three mixed-use buildings, totalling over 100,000 square feet, in the heart of Providence’s downtown and represents a $25 million investment in downtown Providence.”Facilities include everything from rotating galleries to black-box theatres, print shops, media arts labs, youth programming (for youth under state care and in the juvenile detention system) live and work spaces for artists as well as a bar and restaurant. The space is open to any artist who needs exhibit and performance space.


The Steel Yard (Rhode Island)

This award-winning industrial arts centre is a manufacturer of custom and functional public art, a craft school and shared studio. Programming includes everything from arts education programming to workforce training programs to serve the under-employed. Artist residencies and events are also part of the social enterprise.


The Custard Factory (Birmingham)

It’s one of, if not ‘the’, first art and innovation community hubs. The Custard Factory launched in 1993, it’s built on 15 acres of renovated riverside in the Bird’s Custard building in the heart of Birmingham. The Custard Factory boasts a collection of over 500 businesses, including digital and independent retailers. With its sister project, Fazeley Studios, they form Birmingham’s creative and digital district.


The Cable Factory (Helsinki)

The Cable Factory encompasses five hectares of culture! Covering a total area of 56,000 square metres, the Cable Factory is the biggest and most diverse cultural centre in Finland. The Cable It used to produce industrial cable, now Finland’s largest cultural centre is responsible for providing cultural ties. The Cable Factory is home to 3 museums, 12 galleries, dance theatres, art schools and a host of artists, bands and companies active in the creative industries, six different event spaces and 3 meeting rooms for rent on a short-term basis. The space is used for fairs, festivals, concerts and exhibitions all year round.


Abbotsford Convent (Australia)

This beautiful grouping of 11 historic buildings and gardens is in Australian’s former Convent of the Good Shepherd, an ex-monastic site that is now the Abbotsford Convent. The Convent houses more than 100 studios, several galleries, cafes, a radio station and even a school! Arts projects, rehearsals, workshops, exhibitions, markets and festivals are always on the go.