About the Network

History of the network

The National Meanwhile Space Network (NMSN) is a collective of organisations that are working on finding more affordable spaces models for artists, social organisations, and startups with a focus on meanwhile-use strategies.

NMSN was formed under the initiative of Why Not Theatre and the Canadian Urban Institute during a research project on meanwhile-use as an affordable space model for artists and arts organizations. By bringing together organizations across the country, all of whom were working on affordable space solutions, NMSN became a place to address common barriers and share knowledge, information, and solutions. 

The founding members are: Why Not Theatre (Toronto, ON), Entremise (Montréal, QC) , ArtsBuild Ontario (Kitchener, ON), The Arts, Culture & Creative Industry Development Agency (Brampton, ON),Arts Habitat (Edmonton, AB), GRIP Artists Kingston  (Kingston, ON), Calgary Arts Development Authority (Calgary, AB) and Canadian Urban Institute (Toronto, ON)


The mission of The National Meanwhile Space Network is to create affordable space solutions for artists, start-ups and social-purpose organizations by fostering connections to property owners with spaces in temporarily vacant or underused buildings that can be adapted for meanwhile-use.


  • Pooling the collective knowledge and resources of the Network and sharing these assets nationally to encourage access to affordable real estate via a meanwhile-use space strategy
  • Advocating for policy changes with government agencies and funding bodies to make space more affordable for the country’s most vulnerable artists, as well as startups and social organisations.
  • Conducting and sharing research as it pertains to the implementation of meanwhile use space strategies, including the convening of real estate experts and policy makers from across Canada.
  • Expanding the Network, via open membership, to accurately reflect space concerns of stakeholders in each province and territory.