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WALNUT STUDIOS 83 Walnut, 647-919-7336, walnutstudios.com
Toronto's downtown core, once a hub for creatives, has out-priced the artists and designers who made the neighbourhoods such covetable places to live and work.
For a lucky group of makers, this is where Walnut Studios comes in. Walnut is a collection of four bright, spacious art studios within a nondescript industrial building near Liberty Village, across from Stanley Park.
Walnut's mission is to "create, connect and inspire Toronto." Founded in 2007, it has grown to accommodate over 45 artists within its walls, including painters, sculptors, photographers and graphic, furniture and fashion designers.
Space for artists runs from $199 per month for shared spaces to $349 for larger solo spaces. Walnut provides wireless internet, a spray booth for toxic materials, storage spaces, 24-hour access and an open-concept floor plan that allows residents to interact and collaborate.
Not just for the pros, Walnut offers arts workshops for teens from priority neighbourhoods and runs a partnership with OCAD University that sees students placed at the studio.
It's places like Walnut that keep the city's creative spirit from being buried by big-box stores and condo developments.
Walnut Studios picks Original jewellery by Ali Clarke and Chakman Chow, art toys by Laird Henderson's Big Trubble, furniture by Bread&Butter Designs and Nopaulagies specialty wine gift bags. Find artists and their individual contact info at walnutstudios.com.
Look for Adult art classes such as drawing, landscape painting and portrait painting ($200 for six classes; full schedule online). Keep an eye open for Walnut's Open House events, which occur throughout the year, to see the artists at work.