On Thursday, The ARTS Project unveiled a new brand image and a new identity, and officially became the TAP Centre for Creativity. More than just an aesthetic refresher, the branding change creates a much better representation of the organization’s role in the local art scene – which is to foster emerging theatre and performing artists, as well as visual artists.
TAP hosted a launch party on Thursday night where they opened up their entire beautiful downtown space for everyone to see. While many Londoners may have seen the lovely gallery that is front and centre, and may have also been to the black box theatre, most have never been anywhere but the first floor. They are oblivious to the multi-use workshop spaces, and the ten resident artist studios that are on the second and third floors. Thursday provided an opportunity for a packed house to check out those spaces.
“It was very common hearing people who engage in our gallery say they did not realize we had a theatre space. On the other hand, we have avid theatre attendees who did not know we have resident artists working in studios upstairs,” said Sandra De Salvo, TAP’s Executive Director. “Even though we collaborate with all different types of artists and creators, many people thought we only focus on visual art because of our name.”
Resident artists like photographer Rob Nelson, and set design and scenic artist Craig Guthrie were actually in their studios. Nelson’s space was an office type studio with a great collection of well-organized books overstuffing a white bookshelf, and great natural light that would obviously help a photographer that is pouring over his photos. Guthrie’s space was crisp and clean, with a bookshelf housing what were obviously various things that he was passionate about, including a bicycle hung from the ceiling. Two vastly different spaces that were obviously individualistic to the person, but shared one thing in common, that both artists were clearly very comfortable in their space. Nelson said that artists are provided the means to access their studios 24 hours a day. Artists and groups can affordably rent space at TAP to develop or present their work.
Andy Verboom and Couplets Poetry were putting on Collaborative Speed Dating in one of the multi-use workshop spaces on the second floor at TAP. Open to all, wordsmiths and London poets could participate in rapid fire 5-minute poetry collaborations, with zany and fun icebreakers like, “Write a pitch for a CSI series set in Wortley Village.”
Print London were also at the launch, putting on a cool workshop where you could print your own decorative image, by painting a plate, and then running it through an old-fashioned style press machine.
There was something going on in every corner of the building – the entire space was active. That’s much more indicative of the variety of facilities and programs available to artists. The organization has grown significantly in terms of its educational programs and creative initiatives for the community to engage in, like the Emerging Artists Studio Program, Arts on Tap workshops, Unscripted speaker series, LDN Convergence, and the annual Ting Comic and Graphic Arts Festival.
“When we started developing this new brand, a focus group was held where a participant told us how they have always known us as TAP – not only because it was the acronym for The ARTS Project, but because they know they can come here to tap into the local arts scene and engage hands-on in a variety of creative forms,” said De Salvo. “That’s when it clicked and the team realized this brand was sitting in front of us all along.”
The launch also featured a few short speeches from Executive Director De Salvo, current President of the Board, Sid Wilson, and former President Robin Honey.
DeSalvo acknowledged Honey as, “having left an indelible mark on this building.”
Honey was a major driving force in the entire brand change thrust, as the Ivey School of Business graduate is the Chief Creative Officer for Arcane, a Canadian digital marketing agency that specializes in brand storytelling. Her strategic branding boutique, HONEY Design, has won more than 100 awards locally, nationally and internationally for its strategic branding and design work.
A frequent speaker on branding and the business of design, Robin brought her award-winning team, and more than 30 years of proven creative strategy, branding and design experience, and turned a mere branding change into a full paradigm shift.
“With changing our name to TAP, we are able to tell our full story and truly be an open, lively space where the community and all kinds of artists can connect, experiment in their work without risk, and tap into creativity,” said De Salvo.
Along with their re-brand, TAP is launching a new initiative called LAB203 where artists can apply to present new installations in TAP’s front studio that looks out onto Dundas Street. This provides them the opportunity to test their ideas, push boundaries, and create new work.
Through quality facilities and innovative programming, TAP is at the centre of creativity in London. TAP’s doors are open to artists as well as the public, to overlap, participate, and experience how creativity can transform and enrich our community.
So The ARTS Project is no more, but it hasn’t gone anywhere. It’s been transformed and re-invented, as the TAP Centre For Creativity.
TAP into it.