Rendering of the Artist StudiosThese shared spaces will encourage and facilitate creation, collaboration and development.  The studios will offer competitive rates for artists and makers to create visual arts.  It will be high-quality space conducive to artists' needs in terms of ceiling heights, lighting, ventilation, freight elevator, finishing areas, some tools, fume hood, washing station and disposal area. 

Artists will have 24 hour/7 days a week access to these spaces to provide the flexibility that is required.  All spaces will have power accessible to the artists and wifi set up on the site. 


What are the Studios @ the eXchange

Located in the Historic Main & Ferry area of Niagara Falls, the Exchange is a 21,000 sq foot facility that encompasses light-filled studio rental space, a café, woodworking shop and large market hall usable for performance, entertainment and special events.

The Studios are spaces where artists can create in a safe, bright, modern and collective environment. To support the local artistic community, the open studios spaces are accessible to artists at below fair market value. Artists involved with the Studios at the Exchange will participate in a Value Exchange Program (see program details), to encourage community engagement. The intent is to create a positive, supportive, inclusive and collaborative artistic community.

General eligibility

To qualify for Studio membership, a portfolio review is not required. Applicants should meet basic criteria of a professional artist as defined by the Canada Council as well as provide an outline for a Value Exchange proposal. The Applicant:

· has specialized training in the artistic field (not necessarily in academic institutions)

· is recognized as a professional by his or her peers (artists working in the same artistic tradition)

· is committed to devoting time to artistic activity, and if possible financially

· has a history of public presentation or publication

· or been in an artist collective active for at least two years

the studios

Studio spaces are at least 15.7m square (approximately 4m x 4m) per rental. Collectives (2-5 Artists maximum) must take out two spaces. The Studios are open concept spaces, and artists are responsible for their own materials and security of items onsite.

Studio rental includes*

- 24 hour studio access

- Open rental studio space

- Natural LED flood light, north facing peripheral windows and skylights

- Some spaces have a wall or a window. Artists are allowed to provide own easels or non-obstructive partitions

- Casual seating area, communal work table and kitchenette

- Priority acceptance for use of Gallery

- Freight elevator

- Rental storage locker in basement

- Communal wash station

- Daytime access to woodworking space [safety training required]

- Free 24 hour access to the safe spray/fume room

- Artist profile page on the Exchange website

- Free Museum Theatre rental to provide workshops or lectures, max 5 hours per year, some restrictions apply

- Reduced Museum Theatre and Market Hall rentals

- Free Wi-Fi

- Hotdesk rental space includes access to all facilities above except open rental studio space. Hotdesk Artists may make use of the communal work table

* 3+ month memberships. Short term availability is on a first come first served basis, limited by availability, and will require a standard application.

the gallery

· No fee for Exchange Studio Artists, other than a security deposit

· No fee for artwork sold in Gallery shows

· Non-Member Niagara Artists may apply to rent Gallery for $250 for 1 month

· Bi-annual application reviews for gallery allocation

· Shows are 4 weeks long – includes hang and take down

· Artists hang and strike their own work

· Opening events are expected, run by the displaying Artist(s)

· Access begins and ends on Mondays at 1pm

· Hanging system supplied, no nails or marks allowed on the walls

· The Gallery is open to members of the public for exhibition purposes during regular opening hours, art openings and Exchange events

· Video screen available for promotional info in Gallery hallway

· The Gallery will be locked after hours

· City staff is on premises however the Gallery space is not staffed

· Security equipment is located throughout the Exchange

· The Exchange is not responsible for theft on the property

· Located in the Studio Building, 2nd storey

· Gallery Size 44 linear feet ( 17’ x 11’)

· Artists is responsible for own insurance

value exchange program

The rental fees for the Studios are provided below market value by the City. In doing so, the City wishes to create an environment that is conducive to membership-led events and opportunities for artists to share resources and develop new skills. The Value Exchange Program is a key component of our efforts to contribute to our artists’ success.

Value Exchange, sometimes referred to as an Energy Exchange, is generally defined as time spent contributing to the community in exchange for value, such as with membership to a cooperative. Various models of value exchange have been successful across North America. In each case, exchange of value is only part of the program’s overall success; by relying on community service, these initiatives contribute to developing stronger communities and provide opportunities for participants to improve valuable skills and network with others.

Specifically, the program is designed to:

· Create a positive, supportive and collaborative artistic community

· Enhance engagement amongst artists, the City and staff

· Animate and create connections between City spaces and the community

· Encourage an effective mix of artistic programs, services and tools

· Meet the needs of a range of artists

How the Program works

The Value Exchange Program requires Artists to contribute a minimum 3-5 hours a month to the community.

New applicants to the program are asked to identify how they plan to contribute to the community and outline any relevant past experience in their application. Please provide 250 words or less with images if required in the application.

Artists will sign a social contract with the City when they execute their rental, outlining their understanding of the terms and involvement in the Value Exchange Program. This social contract is not a tenant agreement.

The Value Exchange Program can include time spent in a number of ways, including but not limited to:

· Facilitating a program that engages other artists and/or the broader community

· Coordinating exhibitions in common spaces and or gallery

· Hosting or presenting artist talks

· Offering workshops (upcycling, screen printing, manga drawing, embroidery, etc…)

· Organization of an event on the property or in neighbourhood

o Hosting artistic events (art battle, art film nights, etc…)

o Hosting cultural events (storytelling/spoken word events, swing dance nights, choir nation, etc…)

· Sharing resources or skills with other Artists

· Participating on a Studio committee (open houses, membership selection, etc…)

· Creating content for blog posts, website, social media or events

· Volunteering with a community organization with arts related assistance

· Updating cultural events notifications


Artists will be actively involved in the process of monitoring and evaluating the quality of their participation. Participating Artists will submit a summary of their activity, including the nature of the service and time commitment, on a semi-annual basis.


Studio Memberships can be renewed on an annual basis. Priority may be given to new applicants.

The process is subject to a review of the following criteria:

· Evaluation of Value Exchange

· Studio comportment and conduct [see Appendix]

Ending Tenancy

To better serve waiting artists, should you wish to leave at the completion of your Studio rental term, the City requests a minimum of two month’s notice.

studio rates and other fees

*all fees include HST

Single spaces measure minimum 15 square meters

Collective/double spaces measure minimum 30 square meters

Hotdesk is located at communal table/workstation

Monthly single $125

Monthly single with storage $175

6 Month single $650

6 Month single with storage $900

Annual single $1000

Annual single with Storage $1500

Annual double $2000

3 Month Hotdesk $200

Annual Hotdesk $600

Annual Hotdesk with storage $1100

Cost to replace lost access key $50


Tenants may pay by credit card or cash/Interac.

Cash or Interac payments must be made in person at the Niagara Falls History Museum for the full duration of the rental term.

Credit card payments can be made at the Exchange or at the Niagara Falls History Museum for the full duration of the term. Credit card installment payments are also available.

woodworking studio fee

Tool Certification

Users must complete the safety training before given full access to the woodworking studio. All Studio Artists must sign off on the Liability Waiver and read the Woodworking Safety Manual.

One-time Fee $35.40

insurance requirements

Artists will be required to purchase general liability insurance through the City. Typically this will cost around $20. What is not included is artwork/personal items, and this may be included in Artists’ standard tenant or household insurance.

What short term rentals/visiting artists

Short term, one month, workspaces are available on a first come first served basis, limited by availability at the time requested. Artists wishing to either rent a short-term studio or hotdesk must submit their request at least a month in advance.

Artists looking for one month rental must complete the standard studio application forms.

application & selection

Artists, cooperatives and craftspeople who rent studio space are addressed here as “Artists”. A Membership Selection Committee will be comprised of current Artists. All applications are assessed by the City and its Membership Selection Committee, which is composed of Studio Artists and other potential stakeholders.

Note: When the applicant is an individual artist, the committee does not take into account the applicant’s artwork as part of the selection process. To apply, the following information will be requested:

· General info (name, contact, website, social media, etc.) (PDF named-ArtistNameGeneralInformation.pdf)

· Artist CV (PDF named– ArtistNameCV.pdf)

· Statement of Interest (should include: why you are interested in the opportunity, how the space will enhance your artistic/professional development how you propose to use the space (PDF named– ArtistNameSofI.pdf)

· Short Term applicants may simply include a project that they hope to achieve at their time at the Exchange (PDF named– ArtistNameSTSofI.pdf)

· A proposal for the Value Exchange Program which encourages community engagement. (PDF named– ArtistNameVXP.pdf)

The selection process involves determining which applicants:

· Are best suited to the space

· Will make the strongest Value Exchange contributions

· Priority given to artists with a Niagara Falls connection

assessment process

The City of Niagara Falls recognizes the annual tax-based contribution provided by its residents toward the development, capital maintenance costs and operation of the Exchange buildings and grounds.

Once the committee and the City have reviewed applications, selected applicants may be interviewed. Some shortlisted applicants may also be interviewed. The City will work with committees to advise on

selection. The Membership Selection Committee will assess eligibility based on the Professional Artist Criteria.

· Dedication to personal artistic practice

· How will the applicant seek to animate and participate in the building community and the wider

· Arts community based on their the Value Exchange Program commitment

· What duration of membership are they committing to (with 1 year commitment receiving the highest marks and lower scores for 6 month, 3 month)

· What is the applicant’s history of service to local communities, artistic communities, etc.?

The committees may provide a higher score for an individual applicant over a collective. Applications will be held for one year.

appeals process

It is important to recognize that during assessment you may disagree with the Review Committee’s decision regarding the application you submit. If this situation occurs, you must follow the procedure below. Candidates will have the right of appeal against the decision if:

• You are dissatisfied with the way the assessment was carried out

• You disagree with the assessment decision set against the performance criteria

• You feel you have experienced discrimination in the assessment process


If you think any of the above apply, you should firstly discuss this with Cultural Staff. They will make a record that the decision was appealed against. You will be given a clear explanation regarding the decision and issues relating to your application.

Should you remain dissatisfied, then you must formally submit an appeal in writing within 10 days of this discussion with Cultural Staff. The appeal must be submitted in writing. This should be sent to the:

Manager of Culture & Museums 5810 Ferry Street Niagara Falls, ON L2G 1S9 [email protected]

If, in the opinion of the Manager of Culture & Museums, there are sufficient grounds to doubt the validity of the candidate’s application, an independent review will occur.

Possible outcomes of the appeals procedure: • The Candidate is re-evaluated

• Evidence is re-appraised • Request for additional material

appendix 1

Studio Responsibilities & Expectations of Artists


The R-zone Policy, R-2008-21 approved by City Council May 2008, promotes a positive, safe, enjoyable and supportive environment for all users and staff in City programs and facilities. The R stands for Respect and Responsibility, respect for yourself and others and responsibility for your actions. The policy outlines the measures and enforcement steps to be taken by staff, volunteers and users in order to address inappropriate behaviour or violence in Recreation, & Culture programs, City owned or leased facilities and properties.

The City of Niagara Falls is committed to ensuring the safety of users and staff in its programs, facilities or properties, fostering an environment where there is Respect for others, and Responsibility for all actions. The City will exercise no tolerance to any form of violence, vandalism or inappropriate behaviour in its programs, facilities or properties. For more information please refer to the City’s website,

Loss of pass

Should a member lose their pass, there will be a cost associated with a replacement pass. Lost passes must be reported immediately as there are security issues with passes going missing.


· If you are the last person to leave, you must make sure the door is securely locked. Also, if you are alone at the studio it is always advised to have the door closed and locked to ensure your safety

· Turn off the Lights-if you are the last to leave, make sure the lights are off

· Keep the community space clean

· Respect your fellow members and their privacy (including photography and videotaping)

· Users of the space are subject to the City of Niagara Falls Anti-Harassment Policies


· No pets

· No alcoholic beverages in the Studios

· No smoking and vaping on City property

· No turpentine, epoxies, aerosols or other hazardous materials in areas other than the designated spray/fume room. Odorless turpentine is allowed in the studio spaces.

· All hazardous materials must be stored in either a personal secure container or one in the common spaces.

· No dumping of hazardous materials down the drain. Use the appropriate disposal methods for all items.

· Be safe users. All Artists are expected to follow safe work practices, to comply with legislative safety requirements and take an active role in protecting the health and safety of others. Artists

must familiarize themselves with safe studio usage including reading WHMIS information relating to chemicals they use in the Studio

· All Artists who use the woodshop must follow all rules associated with the use of the woodshop

· Have fun

conflict resolution

What happens if there is a conflict at the Exchange studios?

What are the steps to resolve an issue? Anyone asked to stop unacceptable behavior is expected to comply immediately. We are committed to a robust conflict resolution process in order to foster safe spaces for our Artists:

DIY: If comfortable to do so, we strongly encourage the parties involved to speak to one another directly - where safe and appropriate - as we have found that issues can often be resolved this way. If this approach is not possible, any issues or concerns can be escalated in the following ways:

A formal complaint: Outlined in the anti-harassment policy and other city policies, a formal complaint is investigated and engages both the complainant and complainee directly. A formal complaint is a matter of record and often engages external consultants, and mediators.

Mediation: This facilitated type of conflict resolution involves an objective third party. If mediation is deemed to be the appropriate process, a discussion occurs with someone from our staff in conjunction with the affected parties to select an appropriate mediator. Mediation may take the form of a healing circle, a transformative justice process, reconciliatory meeting(s), a facilitated conversation etc. Mediation may result in: removal from the space, permanent ban or further actions at the discretion of the Mediator.

role of city employees

The City team will work with you to communicate events happening on site, assist with studio events, answer questions on membership and agreements. There will be City staff onsite and at the Museum to assist you. There will also be designated staff who will be working with the Membership Selection Committee and other roles that can make this a safe, inclusive and exciting place to be.

compliance with city of niagara falls policy

All users are subject to City of Niagara Falls policies in regards to Anti-Harassment, accessibility and other relevant policies.

Photograph of artwork and signage for the exchange