Blank Page Studio – supporting creatives in Calgary
Collaborative spaces like Blank Page Studio are providing new models of support for creatives in Calgary. Through unique shared work environments delivering affordable and flexible space, the culture of coworking is showing benefits across all sectors – including the arts.
“Coworking” is what it sounds like – workers (typically freelancers, entrepreneurs, small businesses, former home office and coffee shop inhabitors) come together to share a space and build community. In this non-traditional environment, eclectic work practices come together supported through an amenity-rich space. This trend of sharing resources (and ideas) is a growing phenomenon globally and in Calgary. While several coworking spaces such as Assembly, Accelerator YYC and The Commons have popped up in town, Blank Page Studios joins cSPACE’s Arts Co-lab as coworking space catering to artistic and creative communities.
A Blank Page for the Arts
Blank Page came into existence when daniel j kirk – artist, muralist, and University of Calgary fine arts graduate – seized an opportunity for subsidized space from Truman Developments in the trendy neighbourhood of Kensington. Daniel followed precedents from Calgary art-space innovators, including the Seafood Market, Pith, Haight, and Untitled Art Galleries. These diverse locations have risen up in Calgary to transform temporary spaces with below market rent for artists, made possible through unique partnerships. Working with University of Calgary fine arts and Architecture graduates, Ivan Ostapenko, and Studio North’s Mark Erickson and Matthew Kennedy, a place to support the arts, entrepreneurship and community building was conceived. Blank Page Studio was born.
The 1,660 sq. ft. space features:
- three retractable offices
- an artist studio
- short term drop-in ‘hot desks’ (desks rented by the hour)
- a common area that plays host to a variety of community events
With a gentle push, walls that previously defined offices retract inwards on a wheel and rail system to transform workspaces into an ideal event space. Over just a short year in existence, this flexibility has established Blank Page as a key location in the creative community. The space has hosted everything from improv nights, literary studies, and clown training to live concerts and design lectures with partners such as d.Talks.
Blank Page is also a daily home to established businesses, freelance artists and designers. Studio North is an architecture firm with enthusiasm for social good, the arts and sustainability. Calgary’s hugely successful Market Collective also calls Blank Page home. Founders Angel Guerra and Angela Dione serve Calgary’s arts community by curating dynamic events that provide local arts entrepreneurs the opportunity to sell and promote their work. Urban sustainability firm Intelligent Futures, web developer Justin Brown, graphic designer Mark Rimmer add to the art and design vibe that daniel j. kirk and Ivan Ostapenko bring (read more about Ivan and his work with cSPACE).
Coworking Works for the Arts
Affordable space, integral to successful artistic practice, is a constant struggle in an expensive and ever-changing city. Blank Pager Ivan’s musings on Calgary’s art scene confirm a potent need: “Calgary is lacking facilities and this is a big obstacle in getting local talent to the next level”. The highly adaptable space at Blank Page Studio is responding to this gap, but the future for the space unknown. As early as next year, the space may meet a fate akin to predecessors like the temporary Seafood Market Studios in the East Village. Daniel is ready to rise to this challenge – running the Studio has created a strong blueprint for future opportunities to leverage partnerships and utilize vacant spaces. We can’t wait to see what comes next!