918 Bathurst, a space that was once used by Buddhist monks before being bought by art dealers five years ago, is a new centre that supports culture, arts, media and education by allowing people and organizations to rent the space for their programming. True to its Buddhist origins, 918 Bathurst has high-rise ceilings that project a monastic ambiance.
I spoke to Sean Lehane, the Executive Director, who has managed 918 Bathurst since June 2010. Typically, Sean works between 6:30 a.m. until 7 p.m., and the majority of his day is spent handling with arts- and-education-related rental requests.
On the main level, 918 Bathurst contains the Great Hall, the Sun Room and the Star Room. The Great Hall has a stage and is an ideal space for performances. The Sun Room and the Star Room is typically used for meetings and as a gallery. The lower level consists of workshop spaces that are regularly rented by tenants.
Some of the current programming that occurs at 918 Bathurst is the Spirit of Math Schools, an after-school math program that meets on Mondays for 1.5 hours, the Annex Chess Club that conducts regular tournaments, and the Annex Book Club that meets on the first Tuesday of every month. There is a Rhythmic Foundations drumming program for beginner and intermediate levels, and jazz musician, Bill King, leads the weekly ‘The Singer and the Song’ workshop. 918 Bathurst has its own ARTrepreneurship program that teaches business skills to artists, which was originated from an idea by 918 Bathurst volunteer, Catalina Melo.
Upcoming events at 918 Bathurst will be the 8th annual Love Show on November 12- 14, an art auction of work donated by Toronto artists in support of NAN member Workman Arts, and the 2010 Holiday Art Market on December 4 and 5, where vendors can sell their arts and crafts.
For more information about 918 Bathurst, visit http://918bathurst.com/. 918 Bathurst also offers volunteer opportunities for students.
Aasana Sri is the Fall 2010 Communications Intern at the Toronto Arts Foundation.