Facing evictions from four studios across two locations, Akin relocates group of 100 artists to new downtown studios at King and Spadina.
After nine years at 444 Dufferin Street and six years on the first floor of 87 Wade Avenue, Akin artists will relocate their studios to our new location at 511, 525 and 527 King Street West, thanks to a unique collaboration with Allied Properties REIT who are leasing us space as the site awaits development. Thanks to our friends at Small who have facilitated this arrangement, we are able to keep our artistic community intact, and simply shift it into a new space. For more information on Allied’s site development plans, please see here.
How can Akin move to King & Spadina?
By working together. As Toronto rents become impossibly high and artists look to Hamilton and beyond, Akin continues to find new space and maintain studio affordability by negotiating short to medium-term rentals in properties that are actively in transition, as is the case with the new Akin King location.
As artists we recognize that we may only have the same space for years (or even months) rather than decades, but, by relocating in this way, Akin can keep entire artist communities intact along with the friendships and collaborations that make them so important. Instead of facing eviction alone, artists can shift with us as a unit- maintaining a practice in an affordable space as part of an active, vibrant and supportive artistic community in downtown Toronto. Property owners and developers, in this case Allied Properties REIT, are able to lease properties that would otherwise sit empty and unused during the period before demolition and development begin, enabling Akin to create social and economic value from buildings that would otherwise remain vacant. In other cities, notably in London and across the UK, ‘meanwhile’ leasing of dormant space like this has effectively supported artists for years. Similarly to this new location, at our other recently opened studios, Akin St Clair (a local meat shop that sat empty pending development) and Akin River(underused storage and office space that will become a 38 storey tower) we provide studio space for nearly 50 artists in the interim.
As the Toronto Star ’s Murray Whyte puts it, “in a place that has embraced the popular notion of “creative city” economics espoused by Richard Florida...skyrocketing commercial rents have had an unintended irony, having all but purged such workers from the core.” Akin is offering a solution to this challenge by rethinking how unused and underused properties can become usable studio space for artists- finding useful life for buildings that have been abandoned by commerce during years of development planning, construction design and securing of permits.
Akin strives to ensure that there is always studio space for artists and creatives of all kinds and at all levels across our city while engaging, connecting and educating communities through art. As with all of our locations, Akin’s month-to month rentals include 24/7 access to the studios, taxes, insurance, utilities, wifi, access to communal working areas as well as storage, kitchen, and bathroom. 'Akin King' is easily accessible by subway, streetcar, bus, bike, or car.