Artscape Daniels Launchpad is a collaborative workspace in downtown Toronto that helps artists nourish and grow their careers. With support from The Weeknd (a.k.a. Abel Tesfaye) and his new initiative Hxouse, these creatives can use all the resources of Launchpad, plus receive mentorship from the Hxouse team. The creative hub boasts studios for textiles and fashion, fine metals and jewellery, woodworking, digital fabrication, photography, sound production, audio and visual effects, an editing suite and more. In terms of art facilities, it’d be easier to ask what the space doesn’t provide.
Launchpad will not only allow artists and designers to use equipment they often lose access to after graduating, but will help others — ones who did not have the luxury of attending college or university for their craft — gain advantages and tools that would otherwise not be accessible to them.
Tesfaye, along with fellow Scarborough natives La Mar Taylor (Creative Director behind the Weeknd, as well as behind-the-scenes mastermind at Tesfaye’s record label, XO) and Ahmed Ismail are the brains behind Hxouse, an incubator for creative entrepreneurs. Together, the three wanted to create a space that could accelerate the careers of young artists by “providing access to learning, networking, funds, production and partnership opportunities.” In particular, Hxouse’s No More Dreams program wants to help those from under-served communities succeed at home in Canada.
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Members of Launchpad will be able to apply to the program, with the chosen 30 artists receiving their Launchpad membership for free, as well as four-months of mentorship and coaching, leveraging XO’s creative clout. This project, which has been over a year in the making, had Taylor and Ismail visiting other incubators worldwide to see what could work best locally.
“I’ve been all around the world, and I’m constantly seeing Torontonians sprinkled throughout different cities,” said Taylor in an interview with The Globe and Mail. “I talk to people: ‘Why are you here as opposed to Toronto?’ And they’re like, ‘There’s no creative industry in Toronto.’ If you have a talent and want to make it big, you have to go elsewhere to get it. So that’s been a big issue for the city: the lack of resources. We’re lacking that thing to keep our talent here.”
We took a tour of the facilities and were pretty impressed. From the latest equipment in all creative fields to impressive views of the city, Launchpad is definitely a state-of-the-art workspace. What’s more, at $125 per month and $80 per month for under 25s, full-access memberships (which include access to all equipment and spaces) are relatively affordable. Especially when you can take your project from ideation to finish, as explained to us by one of Launchpad’s textile technicians.
Another nice touch to the downtown space is the inclusion of Max’s Restaurant, a Filipino favourite. City-folk would no longer have to trek to Vaughan or Scarborough (a journey to the suburbs) for their famous fried chicken. Some might argue that in itself is worth the membership price alone. Could Abel be a secret fan of Filipino cuisine? Perhaps…but we digress.
Whether you want to start your own fashion label, jewellery line, create music or edit a cinematic masterpiece, Launchpad and Hxouse want to help. When Canada fosters its own creative talents, we all win.